Sunday, January 18, 2009

Library Resources Optimization

Library Resources Optimization- By Anil Mishra

The main objective of every library is to make effective use of the resources available to it but most of the resources are weeded out without a single usage. I have given a 3 phrase model for selecting, deploying and monitoring of the resources, so that they can reach to their user and can be optimized by accomplishing the 2 and 3 law of LIS – Every user his or her document and Every document its user.

Library resources optimization is the art of providing effective services and resources to users. One of the key issue with this article is that the LIS field is changing rapidly and thus an advice or suggestion can become superannuated before the ink is dry. The most successful techniques evolve over time and the tools available to the LIS professionals are improved deleted, or replaced by others. Nearly 60% of the resources in a library are never used; just think about this for a moment. So, LRO essentially involves making it easy for our Library resources to find their users.
There are essentially 3 phrases to improve our library resources:
ü Planning and Preparation (which includes user identification and resource allocation),
ü The LRO Campaign
ü Ongoing Monitoring of the resources.

The Chinese general Sun Tzu said, “Opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself”. He also advised generals to “pick the right battlefield”. So it is with LRO that you need to pick the right materials for your library. It should be according to the core areas of your parent organization. You need to find the interest of your users, means you need to satisfy the need of your users by knowing about their field and area of interest. For instance if you choose the wrong materials for your library, you are likely to expend a good deal of precious time, energy and money on activities that will bring scant return. Before we go into the method in detail, I’d like to give you a brief overview of each of the steps so that you can orient yourself.

Phase I -:
Planning and development – It includes
1. Proposition Development
2. Resource Discovery
3. Resource Attractiveness
4. Resource Deployment

Phase II-:
The Library Resource Optimization Campaign – It includes
Ø Creating Awareness
Ø Resource Display and Exhibition
Ø User Orientation
Ø Reference Service

Phase III-:
Ongoing Monitoring of Resources – It includes
Ø Patron Feedback
Ø User Statistics

Phase I-
Library is a store house of resources. Documents and materials are its constituents. Discovering resource is all about finding good stuff for your patron, then deploying them for best effect.
Proposition Development:-
It is about working out who your customers or users are; what you can provide them to visit your library again and again; how they will find your resources; and what will convince them to use your resources.
a) Resource Discovery:-
It is first of 3 steps in my D-A-D resource analysis technique. In discovery, you have to find out the keywords from the core areas of your parent organization and then select documents based on those keywords.
b) Resource Attractiveness:-
It is the second D-A-D step and involves balancing resource popularity and resource competitiveness to determine the overall opportunity, or attractiveness attached to each resource. You have to procure almost all the latest and popular documents related to your core areas, so that they can attract your patron towards your library.
c) Resource Deployment:-
The ability of the patrons, to make effective use of library resources is the one of the main objectives of every library. So, the users should be aware of the position of each and every type of resources deployed in the library.The positioning of each and every type of resources should be certain. For this a good Classification scheme should be adopted and proper tagging of the resources or devices should be done; then only the user can make effective use of library resources available to him.

Phase II:-
The LRO Campaign:-

User Orientation:-
There are various techniques for providing user education programs like lectures, guided tours etc. Orientation programs can include imparting education or instruction to the users in –
a) Introduction to library
b) Introduction to library techniques
c) Introduction to information sources and services.
d) Literature search techniques

a) Introduction to the library
i) About the Library: a brief introduction about the library.
ii) Library timings: opening and closing hours on week days and holidays, closed days, timing for issue and return of books.
iii) Layout of library building, floors, areas, collection, etc. location of varioussections, services.
iv) Library rules: number of books to be issued according to category of borrowers; types of books, loan period for reference books, periodicals, general books and other categories of books, overdue charges, reservation of books.
v) Staff: Introduction to the in-charge of each section.
vi) Procedures: Membership and registration, borrowing procedures.
vii) Others: some special features related to the library can be included.
b) Introduction to library techniquei) Scheme of classification: its features, class numbers representing broad subjects, arrangement of subjects.
ii) Catalogue: inner form, author, title, subject, etc. catalogue, how to use catalogue, how to find book with the use of catalogue.
iii) Facilities, security, etc.

c) Introduction to information sources and services
i) Types of reference books and information contained in these, e.g. directories, encyclopedias, bibliographical directories, gazetteers, subject encyclopedias, subject bibliographies, abstracts, indexes, serial publication, demographic sources, year books, patents, standards, primary and secondary information sources, use of non-traditional sources.

ii) Types of services provided by the library to its users, like reference service, circulation service, CAS, etc; should be mentioned.

d) Literature search techniques
i) Use of indexing and abstracting periodicals, thesaurus, citation indexes, style manuals, how to use citation, prepare bibliographies etc.

Resource Display and Exhibition:- Good and newly arrived documents are put on the display shelf of the library at the entrance gate, so that users can know about the latest addition in the library.A library should also organize exhibition of its resources for creating awareness among the masses.

a) Libray Recommends:-In this section, the documents dealing with the core areas of the parent organization should display. It will reflect the ongoing research in the organization
b) New Arrivals:-
This section contains the latest additions in the library.
c) Faculty or Staff Publication:-
In this section, the documents published by the inhouse faculty or staff of the organization should reveal, Reference Service:-While attending reference queries for the users from the databases or Journals, it is quiet appreciating to provide list of documents available at the library on the particular topic.

Phase III:-
Ongoing Monitoring of Resources:-
Patron Feedback:-
It is necessary to take annual feedback from the patron about the services and resources of the library. It reveals the quality of resources and services which the library is providing to its patron throughout the year and it also provide the solution to any discrepancy.

User Statistics:-It is good to judge the area of interest of the users. It will help in building the resources of the library, it provide a great help for the procurement of materials for the coming years.

A patron can be grouped into 4 areas of using library.
Suspects:- they are those who may have a (passive) need for your resources and services.
Prospect:- a suspect become a prospect once they have expressed an active interest in your resources or services.
Lead:- a lead is a prospect who meets the criteria of someone who is “ready to use”.
User:- the lead becomes a customer or user when he take documents from you.

Conclusion:- To derive more effective and efficient use of resources across the library, the Resource Optimization model should be based on the objective, decision variables and constraints. Changing conditions will warrant corresponding changes in your resource optimization models. Periodically cycling through this 3 Phase Model will help libraries to improve their resources as they update their models to generate insights that continue to be relevant and valuable. A commitment to resource optimization will help to ensure that your library remains focused and productive in an ever-changing competitive environment.

Author- Anil Kumar Mishra

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