APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES IN THE OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT OF ACADEMIC LIBRARIES
Medgar Evers College/ CUNY (UNITED STATES)
Academic libraries, while successful in managing information, are often less successful in managing their own operations. As a result, this situation often negatively influences the management of information. The current case study originated from an attempt to create a business plan for a proposed fictitious consulting company in the field of academic librarianship, that will use the Knowledge Management (KM) method to improve library operations.
Townley (2001) posited that libraries seldom utilize their operational information and pay attention to their organizational knowledge. Librarians fail to manage their organizations the way they manage their resources. Library faculty and staff often claim that they are so committed to providing services and are so busy with transmission of scholarly information that it is impossible to shift focus to organizational effectiveness. The efficient way for this process would be utilizing the KM paradigm to create models for improving operational knowledge in academic libraries. In some libraries it could be integrating the library services in one cohesive structure, like it was at the Oxford university library (White 2004), in others would be improving the operations of the separate units, utilizing and improving the knowledge of their staff. In some other situation the channels of communication of the knowledge between the management and library practitioners and para-professionals needs to be restructured. Some libraries might need improvement of the technological component. (For instance, utilizing SharePoint applications for channeling the organizational knowledge).
Some charts containing statistical data related to operations of the library of Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York were used in the present research. They show various library transactions. A market research survey was also conducted using convenience sampling procedure with the sample of 20 participants. The participants were MEC/CUNY library faculty and staff.
According to the data collected, analyzed, and discussed, the proposed social entrepreneurship company would be a successful enterprise. While the competitors are not very numerous and they base their consulting service on their intuition and experience, this company would offer in addition to these two factors the expertise in the management science and information technology. In particular, it would use Knowledge Management methods and theory as the corner stone of the philosophy and methodology for the improvement of the operations of academic libraries.