Political Science Library, Chulalongkorn University

The Problem

The Political Science Library at Chulalongkorn University was founded in 1948 and was the first social sciences library in Thailand. In the following year, Professor Dr. Rufus Daniel Smith from New York University took the initiative to seek donations of books and journals related to the social sciences by contacting organizations, foundations, and universities in the United States. This was the first step in laying the foundation of the library’s management system and made it a major source of research in this field. In keeping with this tradition, the Library continues to develop its services to the general public.
The Political Science Library is a small 1,065 square meters library. There are only 4 professional librarians and 9 supporting staff with an annual budget of US$130,000. As of December 21, 2011, it has 64,522 books, 34,798 in Thai and 29,724 in English and also contains other resources. It is opened daily from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Library has been providing services to more than 500 users each day or over 150,000 users each year since its inception. Its users include not only Chulalongkorn University students and faculty members but also students from other educational institutions around the country, government officers and the general public.
As with other libraries in developing countries, the Political Science Library faced problems that affected the users which were
1. Resources and services are provided on-site at the Library only. There were no “online” library services available. Consequently, potential users who could not commute to the library, had no access to the Library’s resources and services. Moreover, for those who were in reach of the library, limited operating hours at the Library lessened their access to resources and services.
2. The Library’s management and services were “defensive” in nature due to budget and staff constraints including routine work. Services can only be provided as per user’ requests at the Library. Therefore, the Library couldn’t extend its services to off campus users. With regards to the scope of library services, they are not different from other libraries in Thailand such as circulation services, unpublished papers, audiovisual materials, reference services, electronic media, and photocopying services.
3. Limited staff size and lack of flexibility in library management made library service quality rather slow.
4. With rapid growth and advancement of information and communication technology, information was easy-to-retrieve and access especially through search engines and e-resources. In addition, there appeared the gradually emergence of information commons or open access concepts derived from the idea that information, facts or data are public resources users can access and share freely. These waves of challenges called for the library to rethink and redesign new processes and services to fully utilize such positive opportunities.
The above-mentioned challenges drove the Political Science Library and other libraries in developing countries around the world to strive to provide better services with more variety of choices to a wider group of users with more satisfaction.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The Library’s management pursued different sets of solutions to overcome these challenges. New services were designed and provided to ensure that a wider group of users could more easily access the library’s resources. Among those was a project called “Library no boundary”. The goal was to provide users with quick, convenient and easy accessible services.
“Library no boundary” was a new initiative designed and developed by the Political Science Library at Chulalongkorn University. The concept was derived from the emerging fact that information in any form is a free resource (or information commons) that all users can access and share freely. The Library’s services should not be limited only to location and specific users. This “anywhere, anytime & for everyone” policy emphasizes a proactive service strategy to increase user satisfaction. The objectives are outlined below.
1. Facilitate the “anywhere and anytime” access policy to various library resources and services not only to users at the Faculty of Political Science at Chulalongkorn University but also to others, including the general public.
2. Encourage sharing information resources and cooperating with other libraries across the country.
3. Improve staff performance by reducing operating times and procedures.
4. Improve library management, particularly with regards to budget concerns to reach the most optimum economy of scale to create the highest user benefit.
5. To be a model for other libraries around the world, especially in developing countries. This model can be expanded, altered, updated to match other library environments.
“Library no boundary” consists of 14 core services which reflect the innovative ideas in quality services and provides the best practice guidelines for other libraries into four categories:

1) Creation of new services differ from regular libraries such as:
a.LibraryAnywhere: users can return books outside the Library.
b.Mobile Library: publications services to students outside the campus.
c.Hot Titles: new book arrivals can be browsed and held on Library web page.
d.Green Library in the “back yard” which provides library publications for the general public.
2)Creation of new operation methods for staff such as:
a.Chat Reference Service and Skype as virtual reference service.
b.Hot News: users can access hot issues on Library web page.
3)Integration of new technologies with the current library services such as:
a.Library Beep!!: short message service reminder (SMS) sent to users one day before due date.
b.Library facebook: users’ feedback through online social network.
c.E-Resources: online electronic resource services.
d.PolSci-iLibrary: Political Science Library application on iPhone.
4)Addition of new features to the original library service loan policy such as:
a.e-Delivery: online inter-library request resources among 21 libraries in the University.
b.Book@once: quick book service so that users can get new titles in one day.
c.Citation Clinic: in-house services and reference guides.
d.Pol Sci Citation Database: Political Science faculty can check citations of their publications.

After this new library service concept was launched and fully implemented, it received very positive feedback from users. The satisfaction level from these services provided by the Library continues to grow from 3.81 (5 point scale) in 2002 to 4.22 in 2010.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The Head Librarian and staff of Political Science Library worked closely together to “brainstorm” new ideas for the library services and were supported by faculty management and other departments within Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University.
The Head Librarian, Mrs.Narumon Kijpaisalratana, is responsible for the creating and designing of displays that inform users of new library services which used technology to improve the library systems. These services include e-Delivery, Hot News, Hot Titles, Book@once, e-Resources, Citation Clinic, Chat Reference Service and Skype, Library Beep!!, public relations on facebook and PolSci-iLibrary (an application on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad). The system analyst at The Center of Academic Resources, Chulalongkorn University, also offered support in a library system design and program development.
Another Head Librarian project, that involved 3rd party contractors, included “LibraryAnywhere”, which involved the re-design of a used car to provide off campus library services. Other notable projects included “Book Drop”, “Mobile Library”, and reading seats for children, and “Green Library”.
In truth, all Library personnel participated in the creation, development and implementation of these new services. These responsibilities were allocated to each staff based on their skills for example,
“LibraryAnywhere” Mr. Somchai Chaikasen, a librarian, manages the off Library book return service. Mrs. Wimon Muangprasit drives the bus. Mrs. Ratnavadi Chankaew is responsible for collecting and returning books to Chulalongkorn University Central Library. Her duties included the filing of books in the faculty.
“Mobile Library” Mrs. Amnuaiphon Kongped, a librarian, manages this project. She also acquires and selects children books. Mrs. Wimon is a driver. Mr. Somchai and Mrs. Ratnavadi are loaning and returning agents and also prepare children activities.
“Library Beep!!” is managed by Mrs. Suphatra Phunbunprook, a circulation librarian. Mr. Somchai and Mrs. Chalini Klamklomchit file the electronic book’s barcode into the library computer system and the Head Librarian checks the accuracy of the Library’s filing system and user data before sending each SMS notification.
“e-Delivery” service is an inter-library loan policy between other faculty libraries in Chulalongkorn University and was first operated by the Political Science Library in 2003. This policy was fully integrated with other Chulalongkorn University libraries by 2005. In the initial stages, there were only 9 libraries in the inter-library loan network. Currently, there are 21 libraries in this network. The Chulalongkorn University Central Library is a focal point in this network system. The Political Science Library is credited with creating the current online request services which have the ability to forward user requests to other libraries.
The Political Science Library collaborates with other school executives and librarians to provide off campus services, such as the mobile library services expand to 4 elementary schools around the University. The Library serves as a focal point in providing the knowledge and services.
In an effort to expand the Library’s network, the Library has created a cooperative network to lend publications between other social science libraries throughout Thailand. At the regional level, the Library has cooperated with the National University of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The Political Science Library is small and has a limited staff and budget. However its role noting as an essential component for the status of a university so to maximize the benefits offered, the Library aims to create better library services based on the innovative integration of sufficiency economy concepts and marketing strategies.
1. The sufficiency economy concept was developed 25 years ago by HM the King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the current King of Thailand. This concept emphasizes economic moderation for Thai people. It was gradually developed based on principles of temperance and new technology. It carefully combined knowledge with expertise to create reasonable planning models for Thai society. The King stressed to achieve sustainable development by reminding that Thai people must be aware and conscious of changes in the economy, environment and technology. This concept is suited for limited budget organizations. Amongst the nature of teaching and learning have to be different, experiential and collaborative, Political Science Library applied this concept in library management by creating 14 core services mentioned before to deliver to the users.

2. The Library management’s marketing strategy emphasizes the continual improvement of the quality services.
2.1 Application of Philip Kotler’s marketing strategies with the Library’s management by
• Focusing: coordinating the library objectives to meet user satisfaction.
• Positioning: setting the Library’s goal to be the leading social science library in Thailand.
• Differentiation: creating a distinctive services and flexible activities such as Library Beep!!, PolSci-iLibrary, LibraryAnywhere, Hot Titles, Green Library and Mobile Library.
• Product planning: acquiring and providing circulation of the latest resources such as publications (Printed version) and electronic media and adequate volumes both in titles and copies.
• Services: providing for quick and flexible access to the Library resources. Improving the presentation of the Library’s resources to users. Promoting the use of the Library’s resources by organizing sales, exchanges, distributions and donation strategies. Expanding the current Library’s resources and media. Organizing book fairs and games periodically.
• Personnel: focusing on teamwork to create organization strength and promoting good attitudes and service mind in the work place.
• Place: emphasizing the “anywhere & anytime” policy which allows users better access to the Library resources, providing clean and tidy spaces in the library for reading convenience and also clean toilets with light music.
• Price: “Library no boundary” project reduces expenses and time of users in many ways. They can more easily access library resources without going to the Library such as e-Resources, e-Delivery, LibraryAnywhere, Hot Titles and Book@once and SMS notification (Library Beep!!) to users before due date to remind them to return the publications in time and not to pay for fines.

2.2 The Library consistently reviews surveys and user satisfaction feedback to improve the Library’s services. In general, the surveys conclude that level of customer satisfaction has been above average. The average score out of a possible 5 was 3.81 in 2002, 3.94 in 2004, 3.91 in 2008 and 4.22 in 2010.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
Over the past 8 years, the Library has striven to improve the quality of the library, resources and services to satisfy user requirements and expectations. The Library has conducted periodic surveys to monitor and improve these Library’s services.
The evaluation of the service quality in the Political Science Library was first conducted in 2002. The study focused on four major aspects comprising sufficiency of library resources, competence and demeanor of library staff, progressive services and physical appearance of library facilities. It was based on the SERVQUAL model, developed by Parasuraman, Berry and Zeithaml. The study concluded that overall high user satisfaction in 2002 was rated at 3.81 out of 5.00. In moving forward, the Library has found that this service satisfaction gradually increases at 3.94 (in 2004), 3.91 (in 2008) and 4.22 at the present time.
In 2007, the Library continued to monitor user satisfaction by using the Balanced Scorecard method as means of measurement to the Library’s operating policies. This technique included strategic analysis, internal and external environmental evaluation to define the Library’s vision, mission, objectives and strategic planning. Goals and strategic objectives were divided into four categories. In order to define present and future goals, the Library evaluated the service quality and staff performance. This study concluded that the Political Science Library’s defines its vision as a non-profit organization with ambitions of becoming the leader in providing political science and related subjects resources in Thailand. In this spirit, the Library seeks to empower its staff with education, guidance and training to improve their performance and to encourage their responsibilities to the Thai society.
In 2009, the Library initiated “The Image of the Library in a New Era: Implementing of Marketing Strategy for Quality Management in the Political Science Library at Chulalongkorn University” study. The Kano Model was used as a guideline to create and improve several types of library services in the Library’s pursuit to fulfill user satisfaction and expectation. It divided product or service attributes into three categories: basic needs (or must-be needs), one-dimensional needs (or performance needs) and attractive needs (or excitement needs). The study indicated that most users were highly satisfied with the Library staff, services, location and environment, resources and technology respectively. It was concluded that the application of marketing strategies, based on the Kano Model, to the Library management system was a powerful planning tool and was critical to raising the standards of the Library to international levels. This application was the first for Thai libraries to apply the Kano Model to library services.
The Library has used all these research results in policy decision-making and implementation in the library services and activities. To create many services and develop appropriate and effective strategies to meet user satisfaction and expectations was come first and then to promote strategies for research use ‘From theory to practice’ in the Thai library system. Although the application of user satisfaction and expectation ideas to library management and systems research generated interesting contributions, a long process of theoretical thinking lies ahead.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
There were two main problems that occurred during the implementation of the “Library no boundary”. These problems were related to management issues within the Library and external issues. There were three internal management problems within the Library.
The first were minor technical problems, such as developing the software for the “Library Beep!!” The Library seeks to improve the service quality, ease of operation, accuracy and efficiency of “Library Beep!!” Once this service is fully developed and stable, the Library will promote it to other libraries and organizations in Thailand.
The second internal obstacle was facing the limitation of budget. The Library tried to operate the budget by initiate a “Spend Less at Work” policy. With this policy, the Library is able to develop activities and services by utilizing a limited budget, such as having skilled staff employees develop computer software or by utilizing Freeware Technology. The concept of sufficiency economy is applied to each library service to create the most benefit to all users. This adaptation is based on customer relationship management which is one of the Library’s marketing strategies. By applying this concept to the library management, the Library can periodically create new services for users without budget issues.
The third internal obstacle that had to be addressed was manpower. For most organizations, human resources are potentially a source of major management problems. Library management could be carried out with the participation of libraries and support staff. Fortunately, the Library had received active cooperation from all staff. This was attributed to teamwork and the encouragement of all of them to participate in brain storming sessions to solve problems decisively and continuous training of employees to keep up with the changing needs of users. In addition, the Library received generous support from the executives of the Faculty of Political Science at Chulalongkorn University. These executives gave responsibility and authority and motivated the library staff with the freedom to think and create innovative ideas which were executed professionally.
The external problem that the Library encountered was the changing role in today’s society as a result of rapid development of the economy and technology. Many libraries including the Political Science Library at Chulalongkorn University must compete with rapid growth of the internet and search engines like Google which is cost-free and provides easy access to information through an interface users prefer. The other major obstacle to access is the cost of the equipments and interfaces that provide equity of access to that information. The Library tries to put effort to adjust to the change in many ways and conclude that, it is a professional ethical principle that good librarians should offer the best information solution to the users. Libraries and Google should go together and librarians utilize Google as an information tool must use then teach or recommend Google to the users.
Despite the obstacles and problems noted above, the Library was very successful in maintaining the service quality of its current programs and developing new library services which adapted new technologies to exceed user expectations and impression

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
The Library continues to utilize all available resources in the creation of new library services. These resources include human resources, economic resources and technical management strategies.
Human resources: The Library strongly believes that human resources are the most important factor in developing and implementing ideas. With the energetic cooperation from the Library’s colleagues, new services can be executed with ease and efficiency. Therefore, the first step in maintaining library operations is to encourage teamwork to build a strong organization, emphasize positive attitudes towards the workplace, motivate and compensate the staff, and to promote “Service Minded” qualities. All staff are encouraged to participate in the design and development of the library services, to improve their skills by adapting to new technologies and to train for the purpose of improving performance. The Library’s staff conducts weekly brainstorming sessions and monitors, follow-ups and evaluates each project. In addition, the Library empowers its staff and promotes the creation of new ideas and professional work ethics. The success and positive user feedback of the Political Science Library at Chulalongkorn University is attributed to human resources. However, the Library has ensured that the Library staff actually did the job and should always be alert and prepared for the unexpected which occurred during the implementation process.

Economic resources: Faced with yearly budget constraints, the Library chose to use the sufficiency economic model “Moderated concept” as part of its management strategy and applied this to its operations. The Library does not believe that the budget is the most important factor to the management of the Library. It is through economic moderation that the Library is creative and manages its services and staff. The Library is successful in maintaining user satisfaction by utilizing existing resources to create new activities and by adapting these limited resources to match with the Library environment.

Technical management: Library no boundary is a systematically evaluated, assessed, and communicated project to users or stakeholders. The Library developed the “Library 2.0” management concept, which used principles of information and data exchange based on the Web 2.0 applications. This online collaboration and sharing of resources enabled users from all parts of Thailand to have access to the Library’s resources anytime and anywhere via the Library’s website. Furthermore, users could interface via iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad applications. The Library promotes the use of online social networks “facebook” for public relations, notifications of all library activities, user participation in the exchange of ideas and development of library services. In near future, the Library will launch a new service designed for use by the blind or visually impaired users. This project is called “Book for the Blind”. It applies assistive and adaptive technology freeware software or open source software to design free screenreader talking and user friendly computer program.

So as well other libraries around the world, there are opportunities for the Library to transform and be strong and can provide value to all users if librarians realize how important the users are.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Sustainable development represents the innovative ideas applied to the Library management. These ideas improve staff performance and foster the generation of innovative concepts based on self reliance and self sufficiency.
1. Personnel development: Focuses strongly on team building and teamworking, promotion of good work ethics and standards, motivation and compensation, consumer relations, brain storming, responsibility, and empowerment.
2. Change into proactive services by creating new activities or projects to alert the staff.
3. Concepts in sufficiency: Despite the Library’s limited budget allocation, the Library strives to offer excellent services based on the economic concepts of sufficiency and moderation. The Library takes pride in its efforts to serve the public under these budget constraints and believes that budget constraints do not limit the generation of innovative services: Hot Titles, Chat reference service and “Library facebook” public relations. These services are successful and do not require an operation budget to implement and administer.
4. Adaptation: All unused library resources are adapted to be made the best use of. For example, “LibraryAnywhere” was developed as an off Library book delivery service to deliver books to various library locations. “Green Library” or library in the garden uses the adjacent outdoor Library spaces to provide services to the general public.
5. Expansion of value added services: The Library sought to widen its range of value added services. Such programs include “LibraryAnywhere” which provide services to off the Political Science Library users. Similarly, “Mobile Library” is an expansion of “LibraryAnywhere” and provides services in four elementary schools affiliated with the Bangkok educational system. The Library is also planning to provide services to other communities in the near future. This CSR project is one of the Library’s important policies which is planned to extend library services to other communities and outside to the general public.
6. Reduction of library expenses: The Library sought to reduce Library expenses to better utilize the limited budget allocation. Prior to using the “Library Beep!!”, the Library used postcards, which cost about 3 baht each, to notify users of due dates. Now, the Library provides the same service by using SMS notifications, which costs 0.70 baht each. These savings are re-allocated to provide other library services.
7. Self-sufficiency: The Library sought to implement locally designed computer programs to the library services and avoid using expensive foreign computer technology.
8. Sharing resources: The Library allocated many services which encouraged users to share books and materials among libraries around the country such as e-Delivery, e-Resources and Mobile Library
Finally, the Library strongly believes that Library’s sustainable development policies, which emphasize moderation, self sufficiency and respect for the environment, are appropriate for the Library’s expansion goals. This development model is also appropriate for other developing countries that share similar limited budgets and this indicated that today’s libraries, under pressure for change, are adopting strategies from outside librarianship management concepts applied in libraries.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The Political Science Library is widely recognized as a very successful library, despite of the budget and other constraints. The four key elements that have lead to this success include the active engagement of the faculty executives, head librarian, fellow colleagues and users.
The Executives: The organizational success of the Political Science Library at Chulalongkorn University is credited to the leadership of the Board of Executives, who supported the Library’s activities and gave more attention as compared to the other university faculties. The Board empowered the Library to create new library service programs and provided budget support to implement these activities.
The Head Librarian: The Head Librarian played a critical role to the success and development of the Library. He has proven to be responsible, has leadership skills because rapid change demands leadership, is eager to learn and change, creative, flexible, sincere, and can withstand outside criticism. Through teamwork with the staff, he has differentiated the Library’s services from the other campus libraries. As a result of his efforts, the Library has received the highest service satisfaction rating of 4.08 out of 5.00. It is noted that the Library’s staff are more energetic, friendly, customer focused, and have better user relationships as compared to the other campus libraries. In addition, the current circulation of resources and media are more up to date at the Library.
Colleagues: The core of the success of the Library and its organization is teamwork. The staff are loyal to the organization and are encouraged to create new services. The Library’s executives have always received the best cooperation from fellow colleagues and staff. As a result, the various activities of the Library can be developed and executed more professionally and it is this positive cooperation that drives the team to work harder. This combined spirit allows the Library’s executives to promote new activities and services.
Users: The Library’s success is also depended on the satisfaction and the impression of the users. The users include other students, faculties, institutes and the general public. It is the positive feedback and expectations of these users that stimulates the Library’s executives and team to maintain their level of service quality and develop new library services.
Besides the four key elements mentioned above, the following factors: customer or user focus, improvement of operation, developing human resources, long-tern thinking and commitment to quality led the Library to be success
As a result, the Library’s future step is continue to enhance, expand and enrich our services, in order to reach our goal:- “Library from anywhere & at anytime and for everyone”.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Political Science Library, Chulalongkorn University
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Mrs.Narumon Kijpaisalratana
Title:   Head Librarian  
Telephone/ Fax:  
Institution's / Project's Website:   http://www.polsci.chula.ac.th/library
E-mail:   narumon_kij@hotmail.com  
Address:   Political Science Library, Chulalongkorn University, Henri Dunant Road, Pathumwan
Postal Code:   10330
State/Province:   Bangkok
Country:   Thailand

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