Competition for Library Services
Larry Nash White, East Carolina University
In today’s information service economy, information users and customers have choices like never before as to where they obtain their information. Information seekers can literally obtain information from any where in the global market place, so the library’s service environment is experiencing increased competition for customers like they never have before. To complicate the situation further, the service environment of libraries is becoming more competitive at a time when resources to operate libraries are becoming more difficult to obtain.
In order to strategically respond to these challenges, today’s libraries need to show evidence of understanding the global market place. In order to do that, they need to compete for customers, resources and community connections in innovative and strategic relationships with stakeholders. The library workplace has to have cultures and processes that support continuous innovation and entrepreneurial development or services and their delivery processes. Library leaders need to demonstrate visionary leadership that incorporates both “high touch” and “high tech” in allowing the library customer to shape and control their library experience to best meet their information needs.
The presentation will review the competitors and how they are competing in the information service economy and how libraries are responding to this challenge. Examples of competitors, competitive practices, and research of library response to increasing competition will be presented. Environmental scanning, survey data, and real life examples will be used to present a picture of the current competition of the library service environment and whether libraries are demonstrating evidence of understanding the global market place.
Dr. White is an Assistant Professor and Co-Interim Chair of the Department of Library Science at East Carolina University.