Marketing of library and information services and products in university libraries: a case study of Goa University Library.

Author:Madhusudhan, M.


Librarians and information specialists have debated the idea of marketing for the information sector. Several things have compelled us to learn about marketing and begin doing it. Librarianship is experiencing rapid change. Information technology has created a new gateway for information services. Information products and services in a multiplicity of formats have made libraries and information centres more competitive and alert. Libraries are being subjected to significant pressures from the information revolution. The challenges of budget cuts, increased user base, the rapid growth of material, rising costs, networking demands, competition by database vendors, and complexity in information requirements are forcing the professionals to adopt marketing to improve the management of library and information centres.

Marketing aims to identify the client base, and to determine and fill its needs, wants, and demands by designing and delivering appropriate products and services. The main focus of the concept is the client, and the goal is client satisfaction. Rowley (2001) calls marketing, the management process which identifies, anticipates, and supplies customer requirements efficiently and profitably. Kotler (1999) says, that marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of goods, services and ideas to create exchanges with target groups that satisfy customers and organizational objectives. Under the umbrella term marketing, we study concepts like building customer relationships, branding and corporate identity, marketing communications, price and pricing policy, collecting marketing data and marketing strategy and planning. For the purpose of this paper I will restrict the scope of the subject to pricing information products and services.

Importance of information

Information is an indispensable factor for promoting the development of society. Kemp (1976:101) observes, that information has been called, the fifth need of man, ranking after air, water, food, and shelter. Luck, et al., add that information is the life blood of planning, directing, and controlling any enterprise (Luck et al, 1981:20). It makes the satisfaction of the demands of the population possible in an efficient way.

The present age is rightly characterized as the age of information, where it success in any activity is based on the amount and accuracy of information available. The fact that information is a key resource for the progress and development of a nation (Raina, 1998:3) is nothing but the socio-economic, cultural, and political development of its citizenry. Information is a commodity or economic good of worldwide significance, which contributes to the national economy. Information has become a commodity that people buy. The criteria that determine power have shifted from industry ownership to the information ownership, as the global economy has shifted from industry-based to information-based. The quality and quantity of the information resources of the country are two of the parameters for development. Countries with adequate information infrastructure and information technology can create artificial demand for superfluous products and use it as a weapon against the economy of other countries. Information is an indispensable input for technological and economic development. It is a negotiable product that moves about in international markets. In today's international developing economies, a country that is incapable of providing information to its citizens will lose autonomy and be at the mercy of developed countries for information.

Information Marketing in University Libraries

Libraries and other non-profit organizations have only recently become aware of the need to market their products and services. Library and information products and services are now being recognized as commodities that can be sold, exchanged, lent, and transmitted. University libraries rely on their host organizations for operational costs. To gain some self-sufficiency, university libraries think seriously about not only recovering the costs incurred but also making a profit through their services. Narayana (1991:187) points out that the, "survival of a library depends among other things on its image in the minds of the users and the fund allocators. This image should be the outcome of the quality and effectiveness of the services, the ability to anticipate the desires and requirements of actual and potential users and their fulfillment. Marketing is the instrument through which these library objectives can be fulfilled. Vishwa Mohan, Srinivas, and Shakuntala...

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