Managing a Boutique Library: Taking Liaison to the Next Level
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As academic libraries face growing challenges from the declining economy, deteriorating administrative support, increasing patron demands and fiscal accountability, as well as the expanding competition from both technology and retail industries, there is an opportunity to be more responsive to academic library customers and more strategic in the services provided to them. A boutique service model, generally, employed in high-end retail industries, may be adapted for academic libraries to provide a proactive, specialized approach to serving faculty and students. In the context of libraries, this model is focused on service that is personalized, user-driven, and technology-enhanced. It can be employed with the efforts of subject librarians and library personnel with minimal additional cost and would have a profound impact on the customer service experience. This chapter describes how the Policy Sciences & Economics Library at Texas A&M University (TAMU) has successfully implemented a boutique services model. It discusses the emphasis on a customer-intimacy strategy, focusing on relationship building of the Library and liaison librarians with its customers, the faculty, and students of the Departments of Political Science and Economics and the Bush School of Government and Public Service. A number of collaborative projects and services have been borne out of this effort and the result has been a measure of embeddedness that permeates the curriculum and research activities of those serves and increases the effectiveness and impact of the services provided by the library. The various efforts and innovations are easily transferable and scalable to other types of libraries. © 2013 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
author list (cited authors)
Kaspar, W. A., & Macmillan, G. A.