Study of Library Policies in Universities.
The university libraries as an academic organization have specific policies for planning and managing the affairs. Libraries have for long played a central role in the lives of universities, in supporting learning, teaching, and research. (Nicholas, 2010, 6).
The libraries as an organization should focus on their objectives and make the policy based on their functions. This policy provides a framework for the underlying principles and guidelines in the selection, acquisition, evaluation, and maintenance of library resources. It also helps to communicate the library policies concerning goals and methods to faculty, students, staff and users (Alfaisal University Library, 2012, 1). Policy concisely is as a 'projected program of goals, values and practices' (Lasswell and Kaplan, 1950). A policy establishes the framework for what will or will not be done in an organization (Henson, 2003, 2). The policy is a mandatory statement of the principles guiding the university's operations and decision making (Policy framework, Sydney University).
The vital importance of policies in all libraries especially in university libraries is an indicator to display the level of the development in the library. Henson's study stated that strategies and rules are the documents of every institute, whether an electrical or a library. The policies indicate the professionalism, originality, function and basic principles of libraries. The policies indicate the professionalism, originality, function and basic rules of libraries. Creating a program of written rules and policies is a challenge which requires time and effort on the section of managers and staff similarly. (Henson, 2003, 1).
In the context of a library, patrons should be aware of the expectations, values, and standards in the library. Therefore, almost all of the libraries have special policies to manage the library and enhance its quality whether it is mentioned on the website or not. The policies in the library should be reviewed regularly and amended if needed. The policy of the library should be clear to library users, being easy to access for library staff and users. It should also be updated, identified and disseminated effectively.
This article examines the policies of some university libraries in the United States seeking to integrate knowledge in this regard examine the possibility to rank data and provide analysis. In the same vein, this study aimed at studying the classification and ranking of the policies of twenty library websites in universities in the United States.
In this view, the primary purpose of this study is the identification of policies of libraries in some universities in the United States with a focus on extraction of the elements of policies and classification of policies into main components. Furthermore, ranking of universities based on the frequency of used policies and ranking of elements based on most used policies. Therefore, the questions of the study are as follows:
1. What types of policies have been used by the university libraries?
2. How many components are available for classifying the library policies?
3. Which one of the policies has been used the most?
4. What are the leader universities in using the library policies?
Magi in his study used the content analysis technique to determine the degree to which the privacy policies of 27 major vendors meet standards articulated by the library profession and information technology industry. While most vendors have privacy policies, the policy provisions fall short on many library profession standards and show little support for the library Code of Ethics (Magi, 2010, 254). Bakers' study is a qualitative analysis of the content of 30 academic library privacy policies. These policies were analyzed to identify how libraries approach patron privacy through published policies (Baker, 2013, 1).
Types of Library Policies
The libraries have defined the policies according to their types and objectives. The policies can be included in the general policies and written in details as users' need. The policies may be classified into several key components and defined each category separately. DeBacher (2011) examined, the policies of the library can be categorized into different types and he defined components of library policy. They are as follows:
* Policy Statement: a brief statement explaining why the library does something.
* Regulation: specific written instructions are defining the policy and creating WHAT must be done.
* Procedure: it is established by the staff and accepted by department directors and library manager. Step-by-step HOW staff will carry out the policy and its instructions.
* Guidelines: it is a description of best practices proposing plans on circumstances and often improved by staff and permitted by the manager.
Policies of the library must be beneficial. Likewise, it must be clear for all the users and staff. The policies of the library can be classified into different types. Some of the libraries have categorized library policies into different types such as libraries in Indiana, and Yale Universities. Details of the library policies at the mentioned universities are as follow: Indiana University has divided library policies into the following items:
* Computer use policy
* Food & drink policy
* Group study rooms policy
* Library code of conduct
* Library camping/sleeping policy
* Noise policy
* Emergency Evacuation
* IUPUI adverse weather policy
* Library closing policy
* Responding to an active shooter
* Bicycles and similar vehicles
* Donation collection containers policy & request form
* Gift book policy
* Individuals with disabilities, library service policy
* Information for high school groups
* Interlibrary loan policies and FAQ
* lost and found
* Meeting room and classroom policies
* patron services
* Photographer videographer guidelines
* Posters and event signage
* Request educational access for non-IUPUI patrons
* Who may use the library
Yale University library has classified library policies to the following elements:
1. Access to collections and borrowing
* Borrower responsibilities
* Fines and blocked accounts
* Access to E-resources
2. Use of library spaces
* Building access
* Cell phones in the library
* Children and young adults in the library
* Food and drink
* Photographing or filming in library buildings
* Security of collections and appropriate conduct
3. Confidentiality of patron records
4. Use of materials
5. Publisher take-down notices
Methods and Materials
A sample of study is twenty library websites of selected universities in the United States. This selection has been objectively made while the library has a policy section on the website. Finally, all the sections of policy have been studied. Universities which have been selected in this study are shown in Table 1.
This study has been organized in three stage including classification and identification, ranking, and usage of the policies of university library websites. In the first stage, a data set for the analysis has been selected by collecting the policies of 20 university libraries in the United States. Then, the identification of policies, extract of the elements and classification of policies into main components have been made based on web analytics, and in the second stage, ranking of universities in using of elements of policies has been done.
In the next step, the components of library policy have been considered based on the mostused policies and ranked the policies. Then, the universities have been ranked by the frequency of used policies and ranked the universities.
Result and discussion
1. Classification of Elements
The study indicates that there are several elements of the policies in university libraries. Out of twenty university libraries, 70 elements are identified which can be categorized into 12 different components. The following are the main components of library policies which extract through web analytics in this study: (See Table 2).
2. Ranking of Using Elements of Policies
University libraries have mentioned several policies for their libraries. In this section, comparative analysis and ranking of the library policies have been applied. Then, comparing the universities by the frequency of used policies. Comparative analysis indicates that out of twenty university libraries, over half of them have mentioned element 1-6 out of 70 elements.
One of the most used policy is 'study space and equipment' which has been used 15 times among 20 libraries. So, this policy has been used by 75 percent of the libraries. 'collection access' has been applied to 13 libraries out of 20 libraries. Both of 'computer use' and ' food and beverages' which have been used 12 times among libraries. Both of 'code of conduct' and 'borrow and renew' which have been used ten times among libraries. Out of 70 elements of policies, 33 elements of policies have been used only in one of the university libraries. (See Table 3)
3. Ranking of the Universities based on the Elements of Policies usage
Indiana University has got the first rank which has used 24 elements of policies, University of Illinois second rank with 20 elements and Oregon State University third rank with 16 elements. Out of 20 libraries, Indiana University has pointed out the most number of policies for its library with 24 policies (33.3%) of extracted policies. The second library which has used the most policies after Indiana is the University of Illinois with 20 library policy (27.8%) of the policies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has mentioned only three policies for the library which is the least one with 22.2 percent. (See Table 4, Figure 1)
4. Usage of the main components of policies by university library websites
The classification of the main components of library policies is done by an average of each component. The following list is the ranking of the main components: Access to collections/ Borrowing, Use of library spaces, Collection development, Using the library, Conduct, Library fees, Services to the community, Other special policies, User responsibility, Library users, and Emergency. (see Table 5, Figure 2).
The first rank of the main components belongs to 'access to collection' and 'borrowing' with 35 percent. It shows that these policies are important for libraries. Also, it means that these components are fundamental which all the libraries should point out these policies. In 'access to the collection,' the most used policy is 'collection access' with 65 percent and 'supporting non-library databases' has got 45 percent. 'Confidentiality of library records' is used by five libraries with 25 percent.
The Columbia University Libraries supports and complies with New York State Law (New York State Civil Practice Law & Rules 4508, Chapter 112, Laws of 1988) concerning the confidentiality of library records. All library records relating to an individual patron's use of the library and its resources are confidential. (Columbia University Libraries).
'Retention of challenged material' is the policy which is used only by North-western University Library with 5 percent. As North-western University Library highlighted "It is the policy of the Northwestern University Library that books, journal articles, or other channels of scholarly communication acquired as part of the Library's collections will not subsequently be withdrawn based on allegations of false, misleading, pejorative, defamatory, or potentially harmful information.
Based on the definition of challenged materials, this policy is very important for all the library to declare the policy of the library about challenged materials in the library. However, among twenty university libraries, only one of them states the policy of challenged materials. As a result, it seems this policy is not new, but the importance of it is not clear to the libraries.
'Use of library spaces' is the component which has got 27 percent of usage in libraries. It includes 'study spaces and equipment' which is used by 15 libraries out of 20. Another policy which is used by 12 libraries, is 'food and beverages.' It shows these policies are basic policies that most of the libraries have applied them to their library. 'Building access' is used by six libraries which are less, because all the users may not be familiar with the library building. 'Cell phones' and 'photography' is used by five libraries which should be mentioned in most of the libraries because it is a policy that new generation of libraries should bring it up to the library.
'Collection development' is the component which is used by five libraries. According to North-western University Library, "the collection development includes general library collection development policies such as electronic monographs policy, cooperative collection development, and policies on the ledger structure: academic programs." This policy is one of the main policies which all the library managers should select materials that support the teaching and research mission of their library.
'Contracts and licenses for information resources' are used just by three libraries. 'Library time' is mentioned only in 2 libraries which should be cited in all the libraries, because all of the universities may change the timing of the library in the exam period. So, the user should be aware of library timing. Sometimes even libraries should be open for 24 hours.
Another component which has got 16 percent is 'conduct' that consists of 'computer use' with 60 percent and 'code of conduct' 50 percent. However, other policies like 'library noise,' 'wireless internet,' 'sleeping policy' and 'disruptive behaviors' has got only 5-10 percent of the policies. It means the libraries do not consider the policies in detail and only very basic policies have been mentioned on their websites.
'Library fees' has got almost 12 percent between the main components. Therefore, it shows fees in libraries have less importance which only two libraries talked about the fee policy and four libraries mentioned 'printing fee.' So, out of 20 university library websites, only four libraries declared library fees which means they may not receive any fee from the user.
'Services to the community' is another main component with 11.1 percent which includes 'references and information services,' "services to the community,' "meeting and conferences facilities' with each 15 percent. Among these policies, there is a policy named 'course reserves checkout' with 15 percent which is a new policy that other libraries also should think about this policy. Florida International University states that: 'course reserves is a service available to FIU faculty that will house materials required for use in class. Course reserves provide a location for these materials assigned to students enrolled in classes on a semester-by-semester basis." 'Membership policy' is the policy only used by one library. It shows the membership policy is not clear on the website of other libraries.
'Other special policies' includes the policies which are not classified in another main component. It has got 10.42 percent of usage in the library websites. In this part, 'copyright policy' has used by seven libraries. 'Gift policy and donation' is used by 5 and three libraries. It means other libraries also should declare these policies on their websites. Only two libraries mentioned their policies about the 'bicycles and similar vehicles.' Some policies like 'intellectual freedom' and 'marketing' is used only by one of the libraries that shows the libraries should focus on this kind of policies which are important.
'User responsibility' is the main component which has got about 8 percent usage. Within these policies, 'lost and found' has used by four universities. However, other policies such as 'locker policies,' 'personal belonging,' 'damage of library property' and 'rights and permission' is pointed out only by one library. It shows most of the policies is not stated in 20 university library website. Hence, the library users are not aware of every policy in the library that can issue the problems for the libraries.
'Library users' that has got the low percentage with 7 percent is the component which includes 'staff, faculty and students,' 'individuals with disabilities' and 'library patron' with each 10% usage as library policy. Another policy such as 'guest and alumni access' and 'visitors' access' has been used only in one library out of 20 libraries.
'Emergency' is the main component that has got the lowest score with 6.7 percent of the libraries. It includes 'adverse weather policy' that is used only in 2 libraries. Also 'emergency evacuation' and 'response to an active shooter' are the policies which are used only in one library. It shows these new concepts are not common in the libraries and there is a need to be considered by the managers who would like to make efforts to make a library for the new generation.
Policies are fundamental principles for planning and managing the libraries. These policies include policy statement, regulation, procedure, and guidelines. Results of this study indicate that libraries in some universities in the United States have different policies for managing their libraries. Some of the libraries have introduced their policies comprehensively and in detail such as Indiana, Yale, New York, Illinois, and Oregon State Universities. While out of 70 policies in this study, six elements have been used by 10-15 universities. It shows that university libraries in the United States have less attentive to the most of the detailed elements. This study collects and introduces the different policies of the university libraries. It recognizes these policies for planning for the university libraries.
This paper seeks to alert senior managers of the libraries in the sector, as well as librarians. It will help to develop the libraries based on the requirements of the new generation in the universities. Also, it will assist the library managers to make the policies based on the functions and capacity of their library. A good policy is evidence of the strong knowledge of the managers of the library. Hence, the study of the library policies will help for better planning for the libraries.
This study is limited to consider only twenty university libraries in the United States. Also, it is limited to study those libraries which have mentioned the policies on their websites. So, remaining libraries in other countries can be studied as further studies. This paper contributes to research library policies in university libraries by selecting twenty library websites and ranking the university websites. Therefore, it is suggested to all of the libraries specially university libraries to declare the policies in their website to make the rules and regulations of the library clear for all of the users. Further study could be the study of other universities which is not studied in this research.
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(2.) Baker, V. D., "A content analysis of library privacy policies" A Master's Paper to the faculty of the School of Information and Library Science of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Library Science, (2013): 1.
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(4.) DeBacher, J., "Library policy documents for effective library operations." The Winn fox Library System. (2011): 25.
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Research Scholar, Department of studies in Library and Information Science, University of Mysore, Mysore, India. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor, Department of studies in Library and Information Science, University of Mysore, Mysore, India. E-mail: email@example.com
Assistant Professor Department of Comparative and Innovative Studies in Higher Education, Institute for Research and Planning in Higher Education, Tehran, Iran. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) This article has been presented in "Information Unbounded: the past, the present, and the future of Information Sciences" June 18-20, 2015, Mysore (India).
Please Note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.
Caption: Figure 1: Ranking of the universities based on the elements of policies usage
Caption: Figure 2: Usage of the main components of policies by university library websites
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|Author:||Ahmadianyazdi, Fahimeh; Chandrashekara, M.; Marjaei, Seyedhadi|
|Publication:||Library Philosophy and Practice|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2019|
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