How the university librarian ensures the relevance of the library to stakeholders: A constructivist grounded theory [thesis]

Fiona Harland
This thesis presents a substantive grounded theory that provides an understanding of how the University Librarian or chief executive officer (CEO) of the university library can ensure its relevance to stakeholders in the face of digital disruption caused by online open access information sources. Currently the disparate needs of the library's diverse range of stakeholders, the rapid changes in technological and information ecologies; and changes in university strategy caused by government
more » ... education policy, and an increasingly competitive higher education environment present a significant challenge to university libraries globally. A constructivist grounded theory research method enabled the researcher and 12 participants to co-construct a mid-range or substantive grounded theory that enables understanding of how the University Librarian can ensure the relevance of the library to its stakeholders. The research data derived from 11 initial semistructured interviews with 10 University Librarians or Library Directors from a range of publicly funded university types. Three more interviews that included two extra participants were conducted during the subsequent theoretical sampling phase. The theory presented in this thesis suggests that the University Librarian responds to these problems in a cyclical pattern where the following strategies interact with each other: aligning strategic vision with the university; reinventing the library; engaging with stakeholders; building an agile and engaged culture; and demonstrating value to the university. The strategy of building an agile and engaged culture is central to, and interacts with each of the other strategies. Key contributions of this work include: the important role of the University Librarian as the agent and model for library strategy and culture, and the attitudes and behaviours required of senior library leaders and staff in order to build a customer-focused, creative, learning and collaborating library culture. This research also identifies the importance of continuous realignment of the library's strategic goals in line with university strategy and constant reinvention of its services. The importance of engagement with stakeholders underlines an evidence-based approach to library management. Together, these strategies interact to sustain a library culture that is continually striving for improvement. How the university librarian ensures the relevance of the library to stakeholders: a constructivist grounded theoryiii
doi:10.5204/thesis.eprints.106745 fatcat:ka6nx2oqxvg35e4itqpwlipoma