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Small Branch Management in Academic Libraries

Library Staffing for the Future

ISBN: 978-1-78560-499-7, eISBN: 978-1-78560-498-0

ISSN: 0732-0671

Publication date: 24 November 2015


Small branch libraries are found in many academic institutions. The purpose of this study was to look at specific aspects of management of these branches and in particular the librarians in these branches from an organizational perspective. The organizational structure and support for branches and librarians was looked at in two institutions, Lund University in Sweden, and Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa. An analysis was made through observation, documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews with affected staff at both institutions, and the input compared to determine commonalities as well as differences. The small branch academic librarian is a vital part of the organizational landscape. Although needing strong support from the central organization in terms of mentoring and staff development, they provide a unique contribution to the profession as a whole as they fill the role of specialist generalist – a breed of librarian capable of working with the specialist in their own field, but at the same time covering all the specialized fields that users would expect in an academic library. Although a lot has been written about centralization and decentralization and the subsequent place of small branch libraries, the actual role of the librarians as a unique one within academic institutions has not been highlighted in the literature. This study aims to highlight this and assist libraries in assessing and improving the working relationship between the central organization and the small branch librarians.



Moll, M.E. and Coreejes-Brink, A.P. (2015), "Small Branch Management in Academic Libraries", Library Staffing for the Future (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 34), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 127-152.



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