Library management

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Library management is a sub-discipline of institutional management that focuses on specific issues faced by libraries and library management professionals. Library management encompasses normal management tasks as well as intellectual freedom, anti-censorship, and fundraising tasks. Issues faced in library management frequently overlap those faced in management of non-profit organizations.[1]

Basic functions[edit]

Basic tasks in library management include:

Common library construct[edit]

Most physical libraries that store solid media, such as books, articles, film, and other artifacts, adhere to some derivative of the Dewey Decimal System as their method for tagging, storing, and retrieving artifacts based on unique identifiers.[3] The use of such systems have caused librarians to develop and leverage common constructs that act as tools for both librarians, and users of libraries. These constructs include:

  • Master Catalogs: A Master Catalog acts as a catalog of all domain or topic specific catalogs and often directs the user to a more specific area of a library, where the user can find a more specific Domain Catalog. For example, upon entering a very large library, you may find a Master Catalog that will direct you to specific wings of the library, where each wing focuses on a specific topic area, such as law, history, fiction, etc.
  • Domain Catalogs: Domain Catalogs are usually a system of very large libraries, where the Master Catalog cannot hold all information. As a result, the Master Catalog leads the user to Domain Catalogs that contain homogeneous references to specific artifacts that fall within the category or domain assigned to that catalog. For example, a very large library may have many Domain Catalogs; one for law, one for history, one for fiction, etc. In the case of smaller libraries where the use of Domain Catalogs are not needed, The Master Catalog can contain all information.
  • Indexes: An index represents a grouping of artifacts by some relevant grouping constraint. The most common index groupings are "by title," "by subject," and "by author."
  • Unique Identifiers: Unique identifiers, often referred to as IDs, represent a means of assigning and tagging an artifact with a readable string of characters that is unique to that single artifact. Such identifiers usually include the address or location of the artifact, within the library, and a unique character set that helps to distinguish artifacts that have common traits, such as common titles. Such unique identifiers are also broken into tokens. Such unique identifiers are usually placed somewhere on the surface of the artifact being stored, such as on the binder of a book, to facilitate location by the user.
  • Unique Identifier Tokens: Unique identification strings are broken into predefined and fixed position segments or substrings. Each segment is called a token and represents a mapping to something meaningful. For example, one token may lead a user to a specific wing of a library, another might lead the user to a specific aisle within that wing, another to a specific bookcase within that ailse, etc., all ultimately leading to the artifact, itself. Such tokens are often separated by a character that is often referred to as a tokenizer (e.g. "." or ":").
  • Artifacts: Artifacts represent those original things or authorized copies of things that are being categorized, stored within, and retrieved from libraries. Examples of artifacts include books, periodicals, research documentation, film, and computer disks.

Planning and maintaining library facilities[edit]

An important aspect of library management is planning and maintaining library facilities. Planning the construction of new libraries or remodeling those that exist is integral as user needs are often changing. To supplement their operating budget, managers often secure funding through gifts and fundraising. Many facilities are also including cafes, Friends of the Library, and exhibit spaces to help generate additional revenue.[4] These venues must be taken into account when planning for building expansions. The site for new construction must be located, the building must be designed, constructed, and then evaluated. Once established, it is important that the building management keep up on regular maintenance. This can also be completed by delegating tasks to maintenance personal or hiring an outside company through bids.[5]


  • Library Leadership & Management Association

The Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), a division of the American Library Association, provides leaders with webinar, conferences, awards and grants, Library Leadership & Management (online quarterly magazine), and books. LLAMA membership includes a free subscription to great leadership Library Leadership & Management and discounts on conferences and publications.[6]


The Journal of Library Administration began in 1980 and is currently published by Routledge, 8 times per year. It is a peer-reviewed academic journal that discusses issues pertaining to library management.[7]


  1. ^ Sharma, C. K.; Singh, Kiran (2005), Library Management, ISBN 978-81-269-0452-5 
  2. ^ McClure, C. R. (1980). "LIBRARY MANAGERS: Can They Manage? Will They Lead?". Library Journal: 2391. 
  3. ^ Wellish, Hans H. "Dewey Decimal Classification, Universal Decimal Classification, and the Broad System of Ordering: The Evolution of Universal Ordering Systems". College of Library and Information Sciences, University of Maryland. CiteSeerX: 
  4. ^ Pautz, Hartwig. "Income generation in public libraries: potentials and pitfalls". Library Review 63 (8/9): 568. 
  5. ^ Moran, B.; Stueart, R.; Morner, C. (2013). Library and Information Center Management. California: Libraries Unlimited. ISBN 978-1-59884-989-9. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "The Journal of Library Administration". Retrieved 7 November 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gregory, Ruth W. and Lester L. Stoffel. Public Libraries in Coöperative Systems: Administrative Patters for Service. Chicago: American Library Association, 1971. ISBN 0-8389-0110-7
  • Lock, Reginald Northwood. Library Administration. London: C. Lockwood & Son, 1961. vi, 132, [1] p.
  • Lyle, Guy R. The Administration of the College Library, with the collaboration of Paul H. Bixler, Marjorie Hood, and Arnold H. Trotier. Third ed. New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1961. xiii, 419 p.
  • Wofford, Azile. The School Library at Work: Acquisition, Organization, Use, and Maintenance of Materials in the School Library. New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1959.

External links[edit]