Australia public library analysis

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Analysis challenges Australia Public Library facing and recommending changes

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Australia public library analysis

  1. 1. Charlie Chen | Student ID: 00004301 | April 15, 2014 Australia Public Library Challenge Analysis and Strategy Recommendation MANAGERIAL MARKETING 24800
  2. 2. PAGE 1 Contents Part One ................................................................................................................... 2 BACKGROUND OF AUSTRALIA PUBLIC LIBRARY............................................. 2 THE ENVIRONMENTAL/SEGMENTATION ANALYSIS......................................... 3 ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS OF THE SECTOR ................................................ 4 GEOGRAPHIC AND DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS................................................. 4 ECONOMIC (INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL) FACTOR........................................... 5 REGULATION/LEGISLATIVE ENVIRONMENT..................................................... 5 TECHNOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT ..................................................................... 5 SOCIAL/CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT................................................................... 6 MARKET ANALYSIS & SEGMENTATION............................................................. 6 Generation X, Y and Z ........................................................................................ 6 Generation X....................................................................................................... 6 Generation Y, Echo Boomers or Millenniums...................................................... 7 Generation Z....................................................................................................... 7 Aging/Disabled members of society .................................................................... 7 COMPETITOR IDENTIFICATION AND STRENGTH ANALYSIS........................... 8 SWOT ANALYSIS OF THE SECTOR.................................................................... 9 STRENGTHS...................................................................................................... 9 WEAKNESSES................................................................................................... 9 OPPORTUNITIES............................................................................................. 10 THREATS......................................................................................................... 10 OUTLOOK FOR THE SECTOR........................................................................... 10 Part Two ................................................................................................................. 12 Identify possible alternative value proposition ...................................................... 12 Analysis of Alternative competitive positions ........................................................ 13 recommended compatitive positions .................................................................... 14 suggested action plan .......................................................................................... 15 Conclusion........................................................................................................... 16 References: ............................................................................................................ 17
  3. 3. PAGE 2 Part One In this section, the author focuses on the background data, sector history and situation analysis of the public library sector. The author will do his best to let the audience to be well aware of the challenges the public library sector is facing, therefore, appropriate changes have to be undertaking. BACKGROUND OF AUSTRALIA PUBLIC LIBRARY Public libraries in Australia were established by the nineteenth century Australian colonial (state) governments as part of a wider set of liberal institutions advancing human capital and social progress. Public library services are delivered by a variety of administrative arrangements. These ware varied both between and within each State and Territory, ranging from services wholly delivered by the State/Territory through to services wholly delivered by Local Government (Waller & Mcshane 2008). In a broad aspect, the public library is for everybody. It is a resource for each individual and group in the society. It is a multi- purpose service, meeting different needs in different ways. We believe the public library should be a resource to be used by people, one that is built on three pillars of equal importance: • It is a resource for Information and Learning for the community • It is a resource for Culture and Imagination • It is a knowledge resource for Children, Young people and Elders. The author believes that  There is a public need for open and democratic access to the world of information, whether in written, spoken or electronic formats.  There is a need for a community-based service to support literacy and reading, particularly amongst young people.  The library service should equally meet the needs of all users, whether they are researching particular subjects, casually browsing through the available resources or simply using the library as a quiet place to read or study.
  4. 4. PAGE 3 Our familiarity with libraries is partly due to their availability. In Australia, they are to be found in every major suburb. Public libraries are a part of the community. We believe the role of libraries should continue to evolve. The public library service should act as knowledge and educational resource, run programs of outreach and participates in partnerships with other social groups. THE ENVIRONMENTAL/SEGMENTATION ANALYSIS In the new global economy, where knowledge is the key resource, the quality of the nation’s human resources is critical to ensure its workforce competitiveness. The key to prosperity in the knowledge economy is for people of workforce to make intelligent use of information. Learning must span all over their working lives. Figure 1: library as one among the many information sources (Source: First Monday, Volume 13, December 2008) Humans being have never experienced such high degree of relying on information as we have now. Almost every element of our daily activities is relying on the information we have obtained. However, most people have experienced a certain degree of difficulties in accessing the vast amount of available information (online, offline), not only due to cost but also due to a lack of awareness of the possibilities offered by the information society and due to a lack of information-handling skill. Public libraries, locally organized and locally accessible, are very well placed to provide the support that people will need in a knowledge Society. With its tradition and ethos of universal access to its collections, the thrust of public libraries input to
  5. 5. PAGE 4 this new society will ensure the knowledge will be fairly distributed to public and to ensure we do not have people who can be classed as information rich and others who can be classed as information poor because of their social status. Public libraries need to be ready, however, to adapt themselves to the opportunities and requirements of this new society. Public libraries are concerned with the uses of information, with access and with democratic participation and countering social exclusion. ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS OF THE SECTOR Although there are those who argue whether a sustainable and bright future exists for public libraries in the face of technological changes. For most of us library is a meeting place, place to gain, reflect and share knowledge from early years of our lives. We also believe public libraries may also very well become essential collaborative spots for civic engagement and adaptive community learning. GEOGRAPHIC AND DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2003-04 report, at the end of June 2004 there were 532 local government library organizations operating from 1,716 library locations throughout Australia. There are few different operating models of Australia public libraries: Centralized: The acquisition, cataloguing and processing of all library stock were generally the responsibility of the state library or a single government department, while individual library locations were responsible for service delivery. (South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory operated under this model); Coordinated: Each library location was responsible for the total provision of library services, receiving support from state and local governments in the form of subsidies, grants and materials. (New South Wales and Victoria operated under this model); Centralized/Coordinated: A combination of the above two models was utilized. (Queensland and the Northern Territory operated under this model). The study also suggested that SA for example had the largest number of library visits and loans per person combined with the fact that SA has the largest internet station exposure. That could be potentially due to the fact that people access largely information online and they use their local library as the hub for online access. Already, libraries are evolving into decentralized civic service centers, staffed with capable knowledge workers who help users to deal with various information related challenges. The ability of libraries to survive and thrive in the future will depend on the ability of professional librarians to adapt, innovate, and lead their noble institutions beyond traditional models into a new world of civic service delivery.
  6. 6. PAGE 5 ECONOMIC (INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL) FACTOR Economic impact on the public sector in general is quite significant given that it largely depends on government policies and budgets. We could probably note that during the economic downturn the use of public libraries could increase due to the various reasons such as free internet access, increase in number of people undertaking training to up-skill or enter a new job market. At the same time with continuous growth and development of digital forms of media, online services and online collaboration public libraries are facing enormous challenges in those battle grounds. The development of digital economy drove the marginal cost for many forms of information to zero, which were the foundations of the argument for ongoing funding for public libraries. On the other hand, growing cost for other digital data services such as primary online databases is so high that partnerships with private players are considered the only viable option to provide on-demand database access. REGULATION/LEGISLATIVE ENVIRONMENT There is very little impact of the public libraries from legislative and regulation perspective even though public sector generally is very heavily regulated. The only critical part would be from a public funding perspective and new policies associated with budget distribution within public education sector. the author suggests that these factors are rather economic than pure legislation driven due to the fact that economic environment both locally and globally shapes government funding policies and budget distribution. TECHNOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT A number of studies have been conducted to establish the impact of the technology and associated change on public libraries sector. An Australian study undertaken for the Libraries Working Group (Mercer, 1995) found that 53% of non-library users and 90% of users would automatically use the library as the first point of reference if they wanted to find something out. On the contrary some other studies suggest that people would rather use internet then consult their local library. We can see the noticeable trend of increasing using popular internet sources rather than relying on traditional library resources. There is an increased pressure to reinvent themselves (public libraries) online with use of social media to reach younger generation. Some public libraries actively use blogs and web-based information seminars and podcasts to appeal to the target market and web audience. At the same time while new forms of technologies open up new ways of engagement between libraries and users they reshape traditional library service offerings and question resource-intensive activities such as cataloguing and referencing.
  7. 7. PAGE 6 SOCIAL/CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT We have found that the social environment is largely connected with technological development and e-demands both of government and members of the public. We can see the shift in ways government to interact with community members and general public. The clear shift is in favor of so called “e-government” which consists of a range of online based interactive services that replace agency branches and physical involvement to provide a particular service. At present public libraries serve as the main social institution that ensures access and provides assistance with using e-government services. The main challenge remains in the “digital divide” space between those who use internet and those who don’t know how. Given aging population and a number of barriers such as poverty, education, luck of internet access at home, disability or location the educating role of public libraries have significantly increased. Jaeger(2012) in his research have found that if public libraries had no free access to the interned as well as educational facilities, e- government services would not be available to most members of general public. That allows us to come to a conclusion that it is critical to public libraries to have free internet facilities and qualified stuff to assist the growth and development of online based government services. MARKET ANALYSIS & SEGMENTATION Form public libraries user perspective in a global scale, we could identify a number of market segments: Generation X, Y and Z William J. Schroer provides a primer on the identification and description of the population cohorts in this planet agreed upon by demographers and market researchers. Generation X Born: 1966-1976; Coming of Age: 1988-1994; Age in 2004: 28 to 38; Current Population: 41 million Sometimes referred to as the “lost” generation, this was the first generation of “latchkey” kids, exposed to lots of daycare and divorce. Known as the generation with the lowest voting participation rate of any generation, Gen Xers were quoted by Newsweek as “the generation that dropped out without ever turning on the news or tuning in to the social issues around them.” Gen Xers are arguably the best educated generation with 29% obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher (6% higher than the previous cohort). And, with that education and a growing maturity they are starting to form families with a higher level of caution and pragmatism than their parents demonstrated. Concerns run high over avoiding broken homes, kids growing up without a parent around and financial planning.
  8. 8. PAGE 7 Generation Y, Echo Boomers or Millenniums Born: 1977-1994; Coming of Age: 1998-2006; Age in 2004: 10 to 22; Current Population: 71 million The largest cohort since the Baby Boomers, their high numbers reflect their births as that of their parent generation. the last of the Boomer Is and most of the Boomer II s. Gen Y kids are known as incredibly sophisticated, technology wise, immune to most traditional marketing and sales pitches...as they not only grew up with it all, they’ve seen it all and been exposed to it all since early childhood. Gen Y members are much more racially and ethnically diverse and they are much more segmented as an audience aided by the rapid expansion in Cable TV channels, satellite radio, the Internet, e-zines, etc. Gen Y are less brand loyal and the speed of the Internet has led the cohort to be similarly flexible and changing in its fashion, style consciousness and where and how it is communicated with. Generation Z Born: 1995-2012; Coming of Age: 2013-2020; Age in 2004: 0-9; Current Population: 23 million and growing rapidly While we don’t know much about Gen Z yet...we know a lot about the environment they are growing up in. This highly diverse environment will make the grade schools of the next generation the most diverse ever. Higher levels of technology will make significant inroads in academics allowing for customized instruction, data mining of student histories to enable pinpoint diagnostics and remediation or accelerated achievement opportunities. Gen Z kids grow up with a highly sophisticated media and computer environment and more Internet savvy and expert than their Gen Y forerunners Aging/Disabled members of society Such segment would require significant investment in resources to accommodate their needs. Public libraries would have to focus on educating and training staff members to provide both online training and user support to elderly and disabled members of society. From customer focus perspective, public libraries should consider strategies in attracting the entire “family” unit and welcome both teenagers and kids despite the social perceptions of them being “difficult and have attitude problems” (B. Hull, 1999, 2003). Educating from early age on the benefits of books and the role of libraries in general will assist not just in securing the next generation of visitors and users but to promote right image of public library as social, cultural, technological and both personal and professional development hub that is affordable and supportive.
  9. 9. PAGE 8 COMPETITOR IDENTIFICATION AND STRENGTH ANALYSIS Figure 2. Competitor identification (Source: Larry N. W., 2009, ’Competition for Library Service) There is no doubt competitors of public library are far more superior and hundred time better (if not thousands) from information storing and retrieving perspective. There are more and more information resources born with digital format. The traditional library has lost its ground in terms of store and retrieve information. However, there are five strengths which public library service have: 1. It acts as a resource for information and learning, as a resource for culture and the imagination 2. Public libraries as a resource for information and learning for disadvantaged community. 3. The public library bridges information gaps by providing accurate and up-to-date information for every- day living and problem solving and by providing a continually updated collection of reference works, in print and electronic form. It assists the development of its local community by providing information for business, and for community development, linking up, where relevant, with national and international information providers. 4. The public library can focused on providing information of local government’s activities and initiatives as well as updated information of local community. 5. The library supports adult learners and education generally. In particular it supports action for adult literacy, supports adult independent learning, and supports persons undertaking distance education in practical ways by providing information, course materials and study space. It also assists people to develop the skills they need in a fast changing world, enhancing reading skills, ICT literacy, and general self-directed learning.
  10. 10. PAGE 9 SWOT ANALYSIS OF THE SECTOR Figure 3. Public library SWOT analysis STRENGTHS Location and condition of the buildings which enable them to be hubs of the community Ability to provide an inclusive services such as book club, wine club, public discussion forums popular and well attended event program (i.e. cooking classes, etc. kids book excursions) and distance education support Support of local council in particular projects and initiatives Able to provide face to face customer service Strong community engagement and strong partnerships with internal services and external organizations leverage the buildings WEAKNESSES Unable to generate sufficient income to support itself Book and magazine collection obsoleted very quickly in digital age and high cost of keeping them Lack of well training staff to meet customer demands
  11. 11. PAGE 10 OPPORTUNITIES Should able to subscribe high quality and expensive online data bases to leverage the new technologies to attract new customers and expand the reach in the broader community Promote public library as public gathering space and provide venue service to co- locate council services as part of council’s extended customer services strategy, as well as hosting book club, public discussion forums popular and well attended event program (i.e. cooking classes, etc. kids book excursions) and distance education support It may be feasible to be an early adopter of new technologies and introduce these into the community with courses like “learn to tweet “or the equivalent. Being an early adopter of the capability to print purchased eBooks is another example. Early adopter of the next technology or bandwagon may lead to an extension of services such as new technology “latest smart phone or e-reader promotion and the like”. There is the opportunity to select and training staff based on their entertainment value – where “cheery” staff add value to the overall experience of using a library, something akin to the Virgin or Southwest airlines experience. The opportunities for marketing campaigns are rewarding, customer expectations of libraries are very basic and as libraries add new services these exceed customer expectation and would receive a positive response. THREATS Requirements to make budget savings in an increasingly difficult economic climate Maintaining the relevance of libraries to the local community Libraries support eServices will potentially cannibalize our own policy for Bodies through the door. Dependence on eServices will open opportunities for new entrants to easily surpass and undercut the libraries eServices with substitute products. Withdraw or reduction of public funding and the move to a coasted model will undermine the free and community services. Potentially purely web based competitors can undercut the cost of eServices. Already existing rivals such as bookstores, other libraries, eServices, Internet café’s. Library ownership is with the local council who are cash poor. It is a proposition for the local council to sell the library buildings and offer the library as an eService. We believe public libraries offering eService are simply not enough, there must be significant added value beyond provision of eServices. OUTLOOK FOR THE SECTOR The Australian public library has a belonging to a few industries, but mainly a mix of education and public services industries. The outlook of each of these industries on their own is not was has been analyzed here, rather the firms or Australia’s public
  12. 12. PAGE 11 libraries themselves. Australian public libraries have been changing over many years and this does not look to slow in the future. Utilizing an external analysis tool, the PEST analysis, we can take a view on the outlook of Australian public libraries. Figure 4. Public Library PEST Analysis Political, legal and economic trends have highlighted the at risk implication of financial pressure and uncertainty. With government spending being cut on some public services, taking a view on public library spend is important. Overlaying the Australian economic cycle and understanding the government’s role in funding will be a key determinant to the end strategy taken and in turn the outlook of the firms. Social and demographic changes will play a stronger influence on the outlook of Australian public libraries. Identified through a PEST analysis we see a real need for public libraries to be able to adapt to customer needs. This adaption process must have foresight and be agile to accommodate very fast changing needs of its customers. The trends identified can allude to both positive and negative implications for library usage itself, however the main out-take from this analysis is the need for adaptability to change. With the demographic make-up of the country changing, social media becomes part of everyday life, and lifestyle changes meaning an older, learning society the interaction with todays and tomorrows public libraries will change. Technology changes are highlighting an increase in indirect competition to Australian libraries. Search engines are becoming stronger and provide a replacement to some of the libraries capabilities. Research, journals and other academic records are now readily available in electronic form and reduce again the need to enter the library in its current form. Being known as a place to interact and work with others is also having its implications with the technological advances in online communication tools such as
  13. 13. PAGE 12 interactive workspaces and video conferences. All of these are examples of indirect competition of public library capabilities. Part Two In this section the author evaluated the alternative value proposition of public library in information era and provide strategic recommendation based on previous (part one) analysis. IDENTIFY POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE VALUE PROPOSITION Figure 5. Public Library demand analysis Despite huge shift of accessing information online, there are still large demand of public library service from community perspective. Above diagram illustrated the value positions which public library has which digital format information society are lack of. Many public library start transforming themselves from traditional bookshelf business model to value add on public service business model. In UK, Some of the public libraries leveraged their rich in local culture and physical close to local community to provide unique service. One of very good example is
  14. 14. PAGE 13 Cork City Library. It organized adult book club for people with love of reading and a member of library staff acted as a facilitator. It was a very successful initiative. It has attracted more and more local people from different ages and social background back to library and built strong relationship with local community. ANALYSIS OF ALTERNATIVE COMPETITIVE POSITIONS Public library’s core capabilities competitive advantage Enable to deliver specific service in the marketplace Free community space Physical space, facilities, located in the center of the local area Face to face meeting, reading group Social gathering and author promotion, etc. Trained and motivated staffs Local time zone and direct services Expert advice and other tailored services Public Learning space for disadvantaged people Multiple culture awareness and tolerant Close the gap of social injustices Early child education Learning and playing space School children book excursion Able to collaborate with local Schools and universities Ability to obtain funding from local/federal government Subscribe high quality online data base for student and researchers Table 1. Strategic Position Analysis Public library is the ideal place for people from different social status to interact each other without consider their difference from culture and economic status perspective. Public library is the perfect space to host group activities. Public library should
  15. 15. PAGE 14 partner with best seller book authors, cooking show producers, public health professionals to have multiple focus groups and encourage people from different ethnic background and social status come together and interact each other. Such group activities will improve local community’s social inclusion, ethnic cohesion and even personal emotional health of individuals. With digital information explosion every few years, it often cause a big gap for general public to catch up with the new technologies. Well trained staffs of public library and local council’s IT professionals are valuable resource in order to help general public to close this gap. With sufficient funding, local libraries able to update their IT equipment which will enable them to provide hands on learning environment for general public. Local public library is the excellent institution to provide rich information resource (books. Magazines, audio/video Medias, online access, etc.) for nearby primary and secondary schools. The author has found that local public libraries become very popular as self-learning and social gathering places for teenagers in recent years. In 2010, UK Culture and Leisure survey found 73% of people ether agreed or strongly agreed that libraries were “an important part of the community” 58% thought they gave young people places to go and thing to do, 21% said that their visit on that day of library had helped them to develop or to learn a new skill (Library Strategy, 2012-15). RECOMMENDED COMPATITIVE POSITIONS Figure 6. Public Library Fit/Attractiveness Analysis Public libraries are holding its unique position in the society. It is a guarantor of information hub accessed by general public without discrimination of culture, ethnic, finance status. It has rich legacy contents in the past. In the information explosion
  16. 16. PAGE 15 era, it should gradually evolving itself to become gateway and hub of new digital format of information. The public libraries should position itself as a center of collaboration between local government, local community, local business and local education institutes form knowledge sharing and information exchange perspective. The public libraries should become a community based service to support literacy and reading/writing for young people (there is increasing young people only read and write on face book or twitter). The public libraries should be the source specific services for disadvantaged people from information collaboration and exchange perspective. The public libraries should act as information and educational resource and run regular programs (book readings, cooking class, etc.) to attract people to collaborate each other The public libraries should be the popular space for young people to share information learn from each other. This will encourage them to leverage public libraries as a hub for their lifelong learning in the information age. SUGGESTED ACTION PLAN Figure 7. Public Library Value proposition matrix The public Libraries should leverage its core competitive advantages to transform and reposition themselves in this new information collaboration orientated society.  Digitized 85% paper based legacy books, recording documents, old papers and magazines for easy keyword search.
  17. 17. PAGE 16  Create national library database for sharing digital formatted library contents across the country.  Partner with e-book and other digital publishers and subscribe best seller e- books, digitized new papers, magazines.  Partner with educational institutes, research groups and commercial companies to provide high quality online database subscription for researchers and high school/university students and teachers.  Provide meeting facilities for local government policies’ forum discussion, debates, and other community meetings  Hosting book clubs, cooking club, wine club and other specific interesting subject group activities  Encourage local primary and secondary schools to leverage library facilities, (i.e. books, multiple media information resource, free wifi, meeting room with projector and sound system)  Provide meeting space for local government town hall meetings  Partner with radio stations and TV station to broadcast group activities  Leverage internet and IT resource of libraries to stream group activities to YouTube and broadcast them globally.  Partner with university to have virtual since expeditions. CONCLUSION The public library need to make sure it services the public well. The stakeholders of public library should have sound understanding of how the ecology and economy of society has been changing. In this report the author has brief described some of those changes and challenges they brought to the traditional business model of public library. The author has noticed there are many studies on how general public is interacting with digitized information access technologies, there is still lacking of research on their impacts on value proposition of public library for the communities. This report has articulated the unique and distinctive value proposition of public library for the general public and recommended its stakeholders re-evaluate its institution goals and to develop service orientated strategy in order to meet the societies’ rapidly changing environment.
  18. 18. PAGE 17 References: http://www.alia.org.au http://www.pla.org.au http://www.fola.org.au/index.html http://www.nsla.org.au/news/latest-australian-public-libraries-statistics http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2011/10/ats_20111019_1810.mp3 Vivienne W., Ian M., ’Analyzing the challenges for large public libraries in the Twenty-first century: A case study of the State Library in Australia’, First Monday, Volume 13, Number 12 -1 December 2008. PP.5-7. The “Big Shift” Advisors and Program Team, ‘The Big Shift: Public Library Strategies for Access to Information in Any Format’ The British Library Strategy 2011-1015 Larry N. W., 2009, ’Competition for Library Service,’pp.19. Biddy C., ‘The challenges facing public libraries in the Big Society: focusing on the role of volunteers, and the issues that surround their use’. Jaeger, P.T., Greene, N.N., Bertot, J.C., Perkins, N. & Wahl, E.E., 'The co-evolution of e-government and public libraries: Technologies, access, education, and partnerships', Library & Information Science Research, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 271-281. Buchanan, S. & Cousins, F., 'Evaluating the strategic plans of public libraries: An inspection-based approach', Library & Information Science Research, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 125-130. Bhatt, R., 'The impact of public library use on reading, television, and academic outcomes', Journal of Urban Economics, vol. 68, no. 2, pp. 148-166. Ball, M.A. 2009, 'Aggregating broadband demand: Surveying the benefits and challenges for public libraries', Government Information Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 551-558. Bertot, J.C., McClure, C.R. & Jaeger, P.T. 2008, 'Public libraries and the Internet 2007: Issues, implications, and expectations', Library & Information Science Research, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 175-184. Hull, B. 2003, 'ICT and social exclusion: the role of libraries', Telematics and Informatics, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 131-142. William J. Schroer, ‘Generations X,Y, Z and the Others’, http://www.socialmarketing.org/newsletter/features/generation3.htm

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