SzewczykKłos, Part 3
The mission statement provides general information for both the library staff and the users about the purpose of the library, the importance of library services, and the role played by the library in its social context . Presentation of the mission of a library on the Internet is increasingly common, especially of libraries at private universities and colleges. This is seldom done by the libraries of staterun universities. One of the few libraries of this type that do present their mission on their Internet page is the academic library in Wrocław: http://www.bu.uni.wroc.pl/obuwr/misja.html. A mission statement has to be accompanied by the description of the vision; i.e., by the presentation of how the vision, development, and social role of the library are envisaged. What follows next is the development of a strategic plan and the setting of primary and secondary goals.
The plan for developing the library should be in agreement with the general development plan for the university. Therefore, it should be approved by the university management. Without approval specific goals of modernizing and developing the library may be doomed to failure. A document prepared in this way may serve as the basis for the task schedule, which should specify tasks, their deadlines, financing sources and names of supervisors. The last stage includes control of task execution and assessment of performance. Its essential element is the users opinion on the functioning of the library. The main advantage of applying strategic planning is that the needs for continuous collection and processing of data that are indispensable for taking decisions and planning in any type of management are indicated and justified .
To summarize, what results from the principles of strategic management is that emphasis is on managerial skills, which should include the ability to take decisions, to plan, as well as to execute tasks and control them. One of the goals of this method is to disseminate information on the new developments among the staff and the users.
A slightly different strategy results from the principles of benchmarking, a method in which the experience of the managers in the given area is used to develop further the management systems and the quality of services. Most authors define benchmarking as a constant and systematic process, or method, of comparison, measurement, confrontation, searching and identification . Benchmarking consists not in copying ready–made models but in searching for the ways of achieving the best possible solutions. It can be the entire organization, in this case a library, that is compared, and models for it are searched, or it can be one of its organizational structures, such as sections, or yet some specific ways of providing services, for example, providing information. M. Huczek deals with the issue of benchmarking technology in his paper Benchmarking as a method of improving the efficiency of managing a library. The same issue is discussed by E. Głowacka in her dissertation A study of total quality management (TQM) ... (Głowacka, 2000).
Model searching may consist in exchange of experience among libraries and in implementing original organizational solutions, research programmes, scientific conferences and publications.
The methods discussed thus far differ in the ways they suggest management quality improvement but share some of the goals:
- fulfillment of the users expectations as to the services;
- systematic control over the quality of the services;
- faultless execution of tasks;
- elimination of superfluous activities;
- involvement of the entire staff in improving the quality of the services;
- systematic improvement of the qualifications of the staff;
- encouragement of the managing staff to take the responsibility for improving the products and services.
The methods outlined here, i.e., TQM, ISO 9001 quality management, strategic management and benchmarking, are the most commonly used ones in libraries, as shown in several studies carried out at various Polish libraries in 20032004 (Wojciechowska, 2005). Other methods used and advocated include the Delphi method (Feret and Marcinek, 2000; Feret and Marcinek, 2005), marketing management (Sójka, 1993), and lean management (Nowak, 2005); however, their efficiency in Polish libraries has not been studied yet.
Organizational Structures in Academic Libraries
In the late 1990s the virtual library was conceived in Poland in the following way:
In modernization of library management one has also to take into account changes in its organizational structures, that is all of the elements in an organization that are interconnected and that contribute to the organization so that the goals are achieved and each element participates fully in the process (...) .  A proper organizational structure determines the success or failure of an organization. It should be adjusted to the character of the organization and to the type of services it provides.
Every organization may have formal and informal structures. Formal structures are explicitly specified, informal structures are not. They include occasional contacts and relations between the staff members. Both types of structure should be complementary and designed to maximize the capacity for change and development. Lack of changes and inflexibility within the organizational structures inhibits growth.
The Law of Higher Education says that a university has its own library and information system, with the library as its centre. The organization and functioning of this system, including its availability to nonacademic users, are defined by the internal university regulations .
The statutory tasks of any academic library include collecting, compiling, and making available its resources, in agreement with the character of the university and the needs of researchers. Libraries are also expected to carry out teaching and research.
Organizational structures of academic libraries have been determined by their primary functions, such as maintaining collections and providing services to the users. The 1961 ministerial regulation defined a functional structure of academic libraries, and this structure is still very much in use, which is understandable, as the nature of university collections, as well as traditions, make it quite natural .
The issue of introducing changes in library organization was, however, brought up by W. Dziadkiewicz during the Cracow conference in 2001 . She compared and analyzed the structure of the most important academic libraries though not the entire library and information systems including specialist libraries, describing the changes that had been introduced; she stressed that they appeared not to be revolutionary. Precisely, most libraries established computer sections and some set up the positions of the system librarian.
In studies dealing with the organizational structure less attention is paid to specialist libraries, and in fact their structural relations with the main library are extremely varied. The autonomy of the main structural units in the university, i.e., the faculties, has an impact on the status of specialist (faculty or departmental) libraries. In most cases, such libraries have their own financial resources and personnel, and they expect the main library to provide professional advice and training for them. However, at smaller universities, with centralized financial management, specialist libraries have strong organizational, financial, and personnel relations with the main library.
In recent years, there has been a marked tendency for small specialist libraries to be merged into larger ones that can be managed more efficiently. In his paper on potential organizational changes in academic libraries, J. Wojciechowski discusses the need for merging small departmental libraries and setting up larger faculty libraries, or even a single megalibrary that would serve the entire school .
The implementation of uptodate organizational structures and the attention to new efficient management systems for libraries and academic information units that can be witnessed at present no doubt is a result of the changes of the function of libraries and of worsening financial conditions. It becomes necessary to look critically into work organization, personnel selection, and efficiency in satisfying the users needs.