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Marketing principles and practice in public libraries in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland: a qualitative analysis of strategy development and implementation, including a comparative study of local authority leisure services

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posted on 26.11.2010, 11:04 by Jennifer MacDougall
The thesis investigated the application and implementation of marketing practices in public library services in the UK and Republic of Ireland, using local authority leisure services as a comparator. The empirical research included both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to assess marketing strategy development in public libraries, using a comparison with local authority leisure services to provide a contextual framework. The research covered the period 1991-1999, using a triangulation approach of national questionnaire surveys, case study interviews and document analysis, as well as extensive reference to the relevant literature. The research was conducted during a period of increasing economic, political and social pressure to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public sector services. The growth of consumerism in the 1980s and 90s had increased pressures on public libraries to provide an even wider range of quality services at a time of financial restraint. The hypotheses for the research were: that marketing principles, which have been modified to meet the needs of not-for-profit services, are essential for the delivery of effective public library services; the successful implementation of such relevant marketing principles and practice in public library services is dependent on a range of organizational, environmental and cultural constraints. The research found the hypotheses to be valid; there were a number of significant constraints on public library marketing, including government legislation, budget reductions, local government reorganization, and a lack of marketing awareness and customer orientation. Recommendations included the fundamental reorientation of library service delivery from a product orientated organization to a customer focused service; further research to investigate the linkages between marketing tools and the principles of total quality management; and research into the marketing training and continuing education needs of senior managers, the marketing awareness of elected members, and the in-house training of all library staff in marketing theory and techniques.



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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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