An Approach To Marketing In Special And Academic Libraries
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An approach to marketing in special and academic libraries of
Sri Lanka: a survey with emphasis on services provided to the
By Jagath Jinadas Garusing Arachchige,
Asst. Librarian, University of Ruhuna, Sri
The concept of marketing covers not only the buying and selling for financial gain, but also the
achievement of organizational objectives successfully. Thus the term marketing has a wider and deeper
sense, which proliferates the organizations successive achievements. Modern marketing is applied not only
to the profit making organizations, but also to the non-profit sector and social service organizations like
libraries. Marketing in the library service sector intends the performances of planning, organizing,
dissemination and controlling of information services on a proactive and user oriented way that ensures
the user satisfaction while achieving the objectives of the parent organization. Information services system
of Sri Lanka incorporates mainly the various library systems like academic libraries, special libraries,
public libraries, school libraries and other information centers. Parent organizations of the libraries spend
a large amount of money for their library activities. However, due to many reasons, most of these libraries
seem to be under-utilized and have failed to satisfy the information needs of their users. One reason for this
is considered to be the lack of marketing in their activities. Having no proper planning, the majority of
libraries and information centers seem to be conventional, supply-led, and isolated in their service
provision. Library personnel have not properly understood potential opportunities of their library business.
They are less aware of their challenges and are not prepared to win the competitive advantages in the
market. This study attempted to understand the present attitude to marketing in special libraries and
academic libraries of Sri Lanka. Here the basic marketing performances of above libraries were examined.
Focus was given on the investigation of the understanding of markets/potential markets, planning targeted
services to accurate market segments, identification of competitive advantages, the application of
marketing mixes (4Ps) etc. to libraries. It is also aimed at identifying the problems encountered in
marketing of library and information services. Two tentative hypotheses were tested in the investigation.
The sample survey technique, which involved an exploratory analysis of primary data related to the
problem, was utilized as the methodology for the study. Structured written questionnaires were the main
instruments used for the gathering of data from samples. 33 out of 50 special libraries and 20 out of 22
academic libraries responded to the questionnaire.
Data analysis was completed with quantitative means such as percentage analysis, arithmetic mean
analysis and qualitative descriptions using graphical presentation wherever needed.
Hypotheses were proved with findings. Special libraries and academic libraries of Sri Lanka have a
sufficient amount of resources acquired and market opportunities available. Yet, they practice poor
marketing. In comparison, marketing performances are more available in special libraries than in
academic libraries. Special libraries and academic libraries of Sri Lanka have cost recovery capabilities
and even profit potentials from their services if they undertake proper marketing. Library personnel had
very little knowledge of marketing principles. Lack of trained staff; poor library investments (allocations),
insufficient technology and know-how etc. are identified as problems that hinder the practice of marketing.
More research studies should be implemented in the field.
Marketing principles and strategies are used not only in the profit making business
sector, but also in the non-profit/services such as hospitals, libraries, and postal
services with some adjustments to suit for the non-profit sector. For a fact, in the
library sector, the aim of the service should be the fulfillment of objectives rather than
earning a financial profit. Librarys main concern would be the user satisfaction while
financial profit also can be obtained by charging membership fees, fines for overdue
books, photocopying services, online searching and other fee-based services.
Therefore, the concept of marketing is not strange for the library organization.
Marketing in its rapid development has widened its meaning and scope to cover a larger
sense with a wider course of activity. On the other hand as the transition of the economy
from industry based socio-economy to information-based economy (that is the
information age) the importance of information has been highly increased; and the term
marketing has been dramatically expanded to the library & information sector. Now it is

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Academic Libraries And Sri Lanka. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from