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Presently there are approximately 10,000 libraries of different sizes in Malaysia. These libraries are: the National library of Malaysia, 14 university libraries (11 public and 3 private), 112 academic libraries, 330 special libraries attached to Ministries, government departments, private corporations, associations, 14 state public libraries with 89 branch/district libraries, 12 regional libraries, 274 village libraries and 97 mobile libraries, and about than 8,620 school libraries. Whilst the National Library, university libraries, academic libraries, state public libraries, and some special libraries are managed by professional librarians, school libraries/resource centres are mended by teacher librarians or student librarians. There are 4 library schools in Malaysia. They are at the MARA Institute of Technology, the University of Malaya, the International Islamic University, and at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. All library schools are giving emphasis on the study of IT and management of IT resources.
Funding for the National Library of Malaysia, government sponsored university libraries and school libraries/resource centres are from the Federal Government. Special libraries received their funding either from the government or from their parent organisations. State libraries receive their funding both from State Governments as well as from the Federal Government. The Federal government allocates development and part of the operational budgets to state libraries through the National Library of Malaysia. These funding are for building of new library buildings for state and branch libraries or for renovations of library buildings, purchasing of library furniture, equipment, mobile libraries, computer systems and buying library materials which include IT products as well as for organising reading campaign programs.
Since the end of 1980s, libraries in Malaysia, especially the National Library and university libraries have build up major bibliographic databases under the MALMARC project. In the early 1990s, some major libraries have installed their own computer systems and developed their own databases. In 1994, JARING ILMU (knowledge network) was introduced using Internet as a platform for linking libraries. Under the JARING ILMU project, the National Library installed computers with Internet facilities to 14 state libraries and 35 special libraries in the Ministries and Federal Government department libraries. Libraries that subscribe to Internet through Mimos Bhd, which acts as Internet service centre in Malaysia, will automatically become part of the JARING ILMU. Presently, there are about 150 libraries that have access to Internet. JARING ILMU is the beginning of library network that allows libraries within Malaysia to have accessed the Worldwide Webs. Internet provides opportunities for libraries to leapfrog into a new era of information technologies. Present, there are pockets of databases developed by different institutions, some of which can be accessible through Internet.
Since late 1980, many libraries in Malaysia have created Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). Through most libraries have their OPAC accessible at their own premises, some have them accessible through the Internet. The National Library of Malaysia has its OPAC accessible through Internet and its databases on Malaysian resources such as indexes to Malaysian journals, conference proceedings and selected articles available in CD-ROM. The National Library of Malaysia also maintains a collection of off-air recordings on various local TV programs related to business and IT, such as the Business Trends, Cyberwaves, important speeches by Malaysia leaders, and a number of educational programs, for researchers to refer at their convenient times. There are also specialized databases developed by research institutions such as the SIRIMLINIK, PALMOILIS, MASTICLINK, SITTDEC, and CIVIL SERVICE LINK accessible either through Internet and some through private networks. Some major local newspapers are available through the Internet through NSTP Online can only be accessible through subscription to private network. Local software houses are beginning to develop local software in CD-ROM though there are still small in number.
A number of libraries have subscribed to Information sources in CD-ROM. Union list of CD-ROM in Malaysian libraries can be obtained from the National Library of Malaysia's homepage.
Under the JARINGAN ILMU (KNOWLEDGE NETWORK), the National Library of Malaysia, encourages libraries to create and develop databases on sources of information pertaining to their core competencies and make these databases and sources of local information available through their homepages. Developing homepages are another means of promoting library services using IT.
A number of public libraries in Malaysia are developing Hypermedia Children Centers where children can view and interact with computers for group storytelling sessions, creative graphics and compose their /own stories using computer or learn science with its varieties CD-ROM collections.
Libraries should market its IT products and services so that the investment made by the government or their parent organizations will benefit the society at large, and that IT resources are fully utilized by library users. A marketing programs for IT products and services must be introduced. Marketing IT products and services will enhance the library image as a knowledge resource center. Peter Drucker once stated that "the purpose of a business is to create and keep its customers". Libraries should adopt marketing approach in the provision of library services. The focus of the marketing programs must ensure that library users (customers) are satisfied with IT products and services being offered. Customer satisfaction is important for libraries as it provide the following advantages. Firstly, libraries will continue to receive financial support from the government and public contributions. Secondly, libraries will be able to continuously add new IT products and services that will entice library users to come. Thirdly, by introducing IT products and services, it will create new images for libraries as infomedia, infotainment and edutainment centers, hence creating learning environment that are enjoyable and entertaining for library users.
In Malaysia, there are major government policies and programs that require libraries in Malaysia to change their paradigm, to reposition their roles, to change the library's image as a "knowledge reservoir" instead of acting as a storehouse of printed materials.
Some of the Malaysian government policies and programs that have major influences to information needs of the Malaysian societies are:
(a) Vision 2020, which envisioned Malaysia to achieve the status of a fully developed nation by the year 2020. The thrust of the Vision 2020 is to develop Malaysia as an information-rich society and knowledge economy that nurture on science and technology culture;
(b) The Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) which is aimed to transform Malaysia into a digital nation. The MSC, located in an area of 15km by 50km, stretching from the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the new capital city of Malaysia at Puterajaya, will be the seat of the future electronic government. MSC will be the test-bed for R & D companies to develop multimedia contents. Multinational IT companies is given tax incentives to set up their R & D centers in MSC. The 7 MSC flagships include: R & D cluster; electronic government, worldwide manufacturing web, borderless marketing center; telemedicine, smart schools and multi-purpose card. The development of MSC has prompted other states in Malaysia to set up their own IT or cybercity centers with multimedia information facilities as an avenue for providing useful information to the general public at state levels.
(a) The National Information Technology Council has launched the National Information Technology Agenda (NITA), aims to ensure that: (i) all Malaysians will have access to information and learning through infostructure for personal, organizational and national advancement, (ii) information and knowledge applications will provide the basis to further enhance must quality of work and quality of life;
(d) The Ministry of Education of Malaysia has developed strategies to introduce IT as an integral part of the education system. Some of the IT educational programs include the setting up of smart schools, which will start will 14 selected schools in each state and then developed in phases to other areas. By the year 2010 all schools in Malaysia will be smart schools. The Computer-in-Education laboratory was set up to undertake R&D in developing software for teaching. Through the JARING PENDIDIKAN (Education Network) project about 50 selected schools will be linked to Internet. The Multimedia University was established to provide courses in various aspects of multimedia developments and IT. By the year 2020, it is expected that everyone who goes through the school systems will be computer literate and be prepared for technologically inclined job market;
(e) The policy of paper-less administration and electronic government which encourages the entire public sectors to introduce computer systems for daily operations;
(f) The Malaysian Incorporated Policy, which encourages the public and the private sectors to work together as partners in order to facilitate the economic development of the country, which in turn will benefit each other.
Advancement of technologies such as dramatic increase of digital storage media, the convergence of telecommunication and broadcasting, the availability of wealth of resources accessible through internet and reducing cost of computers with multimedia and Internet capabilities will certainly have major influenced in information needs of library users. There are also an exponential growth rate of electronic publications either online or in CD-ROMs. The emergence of Internet and its worldwide Webs expose libraries to the wealth of global information resources available in major libraries and institutions worldwide. Libraries in advanced countries are beginning to undertake digitalization projects to convert their national in-prints into digital formats, some make them available through the Internet.
In such an environment, libraries in Malaysia cannot remain as a storehouse/museum of printed materials but must change its function as a "reservoir of knowledge" which continuously source our and deliver information in variety of forms, including in electronic forms, to its users.
As Malaysians improve their standard of living and are exposed to global information sources through various electronic media, their information behavior seeking will also change. They begin to demand for quality services in all aspects, including library and information services. Libraries have no choice but to introduce innovative IT products and services that cater to the changing information needs of Malaysian society. Libraries as "reservoir of knowledge" must market its IT products and services to its users in order to reach out to its potential users.
In 1996, the government of Malaysia has commissioned a research firm to conduct a survey on reading habit of Malaysians. The survey gave valuable information on the literacy rate, IT literacy, and to a certain extent, provided an overview of information needs of the Malaysian society. The results of the survey showed the following data: (i) the literacy rate of Malaysia is 93% (compared to 85% as indicated in the 1981 survey). (ii) Only 87% of Malaysians are practicing reading with an average of 2 books a year. (iii) About 12% of urban Malaysians have accessed to personal computers, and out of this, 49% use computers for playing computer games, 19% use with graphics, 15% play educational games, 31% use computers for general knowledge, and 18% use computer for reading stored materials. The survey shows that computer literacy is 12% among the 10-14 age group, 16% among the 25-34 age group, 10% in the 35-44 age group, 6% among the 45-54 age group, 1% for the age group of 55 an above; (iv) Only about 29% of Malaysian use library services.
The survey indicates that computer literacy among Malaysian is still low though is increasing, and that the use of library among Malaysians is still low. To encourage more Malaysians to buy computers for their family, the government is giving tax rebate for family that buys computers. There is no import tax for computer facilities. With the changing education system toward IT-based, it is expected that by the year 2020, everyone who goes through the school system will be computer literate. Introducing IT products and services as an integral part of library services, accompanied by good advertisement as well as introducing systematic user education programs will encourage library users to come to library.
Strategic marketing requires library to maintain an information system that collect data pertaining to library users for planning future library services throughout the country. Information and data pertaining to changing information needs of library users compiled from regular surveys, trends relating to subject/ topics that are frequently referred to by library user, frequently asked reference inquiries, that reference librarians received, statistic on usage of library resources, profile of library users registered for special services, profile of expert groups who can be tapped for specialized information sources, directory of libraries and the strength of their special collections and services rendered, directory of library IT vendors and IT publishers, and their performance indicators, etc must be maintained. It is essential that libraries constantly scan the external environment in term of economic, cultural, educational, technological and political developments that will have major impact to library services.
Quality marketing requires an integration of 3 marketing strategies, namely: forward marketing that focuses on customers, internal/inward marketing that focuses on staff development, and reverse marketing whereby libraries form strategic alliances/ partnership with IT suppliers. The integration of these 3 marketing strategies is vital for total quality marketing of IT products and services. Libraries should develop long-term strategies to make their visions to become part of the nation-wide digital libraries a reality. In Malaysian, plans for developing nation-wide digital library are being undertaken by special committee at the National Library of Malaysia. The committee comprises of representatives of librarians from different library sectors. The digital library will include the following components: (a) integration of all libraries and knowledge-based institutions in the country through networking. (b) Library acts a repository of multimedia digital knowledge and information resources. (c) Library is actively involved in the creation of local information/knowledge digital contents. (d) Library makes its databases accessible by anyone, from any locations and at any time. (e) Library makes available Internet facilities for the public to access WWW. (f) Library acts as one stop knowledge and information center for the community. (g) Library develops as infotainment, edutainment and infomedia centers. (h) Library provides distant learning, education-on-demand and video conferencing facilities. (i) Library can provide incubator services that allows small entrepreneurs to use library's computer systems to create databases and web pages until such time when they are able to have their own computer systems. (j) Library provides remote services through Interactive Online Services for reference inquiries, request for document delivery services, and reservation. (k) Library is actively participating in relevant listserves, online forums and video-conferencing. (l) Library acts as center for acculturation of IT. (m) Library acts as clearinghouse for intellectual property rights, and (n) use of smart cards among libraries.
Forward marketing refers to the marketing approach that librarians undertake to meet information needs of their customers. Hence, librarians provide values to their customers by providing IT products and services that fulfil their information needs. In developing a customer value strategy, libraries need to understand how the customers can be segmented. Customers can be groups according to such criteria as professional, education levels, etc. For example, a businessman who is involved in the export and import of goods has different information needs compared to other professionals such as those in the legal professions or university students.
Forward marketing of IT products and services are essential in order to attract more Malaysian to use library facilities. IT services offer by libraries must be inviting, user friendly and delighted to the users. Libraries need to identify their present and potential customers (users) and their changing information needs. Identifying customers needs and wants is not an easy task as most libraries have many customers, each with their own set of information needs.
In the process of developing marketing strategies for IT products and services that create customer satisfaction, a library can build a house of quality and applied the principle of Quality Functional Deployment (QFD) technique. The QFD provides library managers a powerful tool to close the gap between design and marketing of new IT services in libraries, so that the design represents what library's customers want and need. QFD will help librarians to develop and refine measures of internal and external performances that relate directly to customer satisfaction. Five quality service attributes of IT products and services should be considered by librarians in providing quality services. They are: (a) Responsiveness i.e. willingness to help library users with prompt services according to the specific time needed by the library user. Timeliness is crucial for quality information service, as information has value to its intended user only when it is delivered at the time when information is needed for decision making. (b) Reliability i.e. that library users have confidence and trust that information delivered to them are accurate and current for them to make quality decision making. (c) Availability i.e. that IT products and services are always available when users want to use them. IT products must be arranged systematically so that it is easy to locate. Library users should be able to reach library services from any locations at any time through integrated online library systems. (d) Caring i.e. that the library staff is able to provide friendly and personalized attention to each and every library user. Library users do not feel intimidated at the moment of truth when they first encounter with library personnel. For specialized and personalized information services, the library staff should be able to search, retrieve and consolidate information, not available in library collection, from other libraries or from the WWW, and repackage the information according to the specific users. (e) Environmental friendly, that the library provides conducive learning environment for its users as well as its staff. The use of IT products and services must be made easy and user friendly so that it will not deter users from making full use of its services. Ergonomic of IT equipment used and facilities should be given prime importance. Continuous maintenance of computer systems should be given priority so those users do not encounter frequent computer failure. User education programs should be systematically planned to guide users to the wealth of resources in their subject area of their interest. Introducing IT products and services will change the image and reputation of the library as a place purely for study to prepare for examinations. Changing the public perceptions of a library as a print-based learning center to IT-based resource center is important. Innovative and creative IT products and services will attract potential users and retain the existing users.
Librarians must formulate short-term and long-term strategic plans for the provision of IT products and services in order to meet the changing needs of the society. Librarians must be sensitive to the "pulse of the nation" in term of the information needs of the society. Libraries must serve as a "thermometer that gauge the information pulse of the people". Information needs of a society change in accordance with the development that are taking place in the nation. National policies, strategies and programs that are introduced to change the nation towards a digital nation will create demands for IT products and services in libraries.
To provide equal opportunity for the urban and rural communities to have accessed to information, IT products and services will be extended to rural libraries. Libraries in districts and rural areas in Malaysia have the potential to become catalyst of change by catering to the information needs of rural communities. Most libraries in district and rural areas of Sarawak, for example, are opened at night to allow users to make full use of the library services. In most remote areas, there is no facility for entertainment such as cinemas, theaters, shopping arcades, etc. Libraries can act as one-stop community information centers by introducing services, such as audiovisual and CD-ROM workstations equipped with ready educational software. Libraries will provide a conducive learning environment for the rural communities as libraries are developing as edutainment and infotainment centers. Introducing new technologies to rural libraries will bring the rural communities to the mainstream of development and thereby making a quantum leap into a new technological era.
(b) Internal Marketing
On the others hand, the provision of quality information services is very much influenced by the efficiency use of IT products by its users. Becoming market oriented require libraries to develop their human resources, in order to better response to customers needs. In the long run, market oriented should lead to better services through the provision of superior and quality IT products and services, higher productivity among its staff and strong customer loyalty. This involves internal or inward marketing.
Human resources are the most valuable assets of any organization. It is the people in the organization, who individually or collectively, contribute to the achievement of the organization's objectives to achieve competitive edge. As an organization, a library exists to deliver value to its customers, and this is best achieved by adapting a long-term perspective to the development of its people for the achievement of quality services. With experiences and proper training in IT, staff will become the most knowledgeable asset of the library.
The provisions of quality and efficient services depend on the knowledge, skill competencies and experiences of library staff. These require libraries to take positive measures to develop its human resources in IT. For internal marketing, the vision and mission libraries must be communicated to all levels of staff so that they understand the future direction of libraries and have a shared aspiration towards realizing the vision of library to develop as digital library. The staff must be trained in the effective use of IT products, such as navigating the net, so that, they in turn will be able to guide library users in the effective use of IT products and services. This will make the work of library staff more challenging and will create a new image for librarians as IT managers in their own rights in providing library services. Continuous training in IT is essential as IT products have shorter life cycle and new IT products always appear in the marketplace. As an institution that promotes independent learning, the library should be developing as a truly learning organization, where staff are encouraged to continuously learning and undertaking research for continuous improvement for themselves and for the organization. Staff from different departments who have specialize expertise relating to their works can be tapped for answering reference inquiries and for delivering quality IT products and services. System of rewards and recognition must be given for staff who are committed and excel in developing IT products and for those who are able to deliver quality IT products and services. Librarians who have expertise and experiences in providing IT services can be invited to give talks to librarian professional meetings or forums to share their experiences. In Malaysia, the National Library of Malaysia and the Library Association of Malaysia, jointly organized professional talks held monthly at the National Library. The aim is to develop and continuously expose librarians in the new technologies. The National Library of Malaysia has computer-training laboratory that provides hands-on training of library staff on various aspects of IT.
(b) Reverse Marketing
The quality of IT products and services depends also on the availability of IT products supplied by IT suppliers. To introduce innovative products and services, libraries should be in close contact with IT suppliers, such as publishers of IT products, software houses, computer vendors, database providers, telecommunication service providers. IT suppliers will be able to provide information on the state-of-the-art of IT as well as the latest IT products in the market. This is done through reverse marketing with suppliers. Treating IT suppliers as customers and partners will mutually benefit both libraries and IT suppliers.
For sustainable IT products and services, libraries should form strategic alliances and partnership with IT suppliers. Establishing partnership with IT suppliers will enable libraries to tap skills and expertise of IT suppliers. IT vendors can be invited to give professional talks on IT to library communities and can also be invited to give talk to seminar/talk and forum organized by libraries or Library Association of Malaysia. This will assist in upgrading the levels of IT knowledge among staff on the latest development of the IT. Libraries should also participate and attend IT exhibitions, forums and talks organized by IT suppliers. Partnership with IT supplier is encouraged under the Malaysian Incorporated Policy.
Libraries in Malaysia have benefited by working as partners with different private sectors. As government give tax exemption to private sector that contribute to the development of libraries in Malaysia, a number of private companies has come forward to contribute in the development of IT in libraries. ESSO (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., for example, have contributed in the setting up of Children Hypermedia Centers at the National Library of Malaysia, the Negri Sembilan State Library, Kuala Lumpur Memorial Library, and Trengganu School Resource Centers. ESSO has also contributed in developing children CD-ROM, such as Malaysia Children Nursery Rhyme and Malaysian folk stories, by working with the National Library of Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur Memorial Library respectively. These CD-ROM are distributed free to all public libraries. In addition, ESSO has also sponsored the National Library of Malaysia to organize series of Computer Camp children. The National Library of Malaysia has worked with the Golden Arches (McDonald Malaysia) and Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka (book publishers) to produce talking books of 10 selected award-winning titles of Malaysian books. Though the books are targeted for the visually handicapped persons, they can also be used for those with poor reading capabilities. This year, Microsoft (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. has also come forward to works with school and public libraries for the "Community Learning Connectivity" program and developing courseware for schools. The National Library of Malaysia, in collaboration with the Library Association of Malaysia, organize monthly IT talks for librarians to update their knowledge in IT by inviting computer supplier to gives talks on various aspect on IT. Such partnerships have benefited parties, librarians and IT suppliers.
Presently, libraries entertain reference and referral services received through phones, mails, and those who come personally. With the availability of Internet, libraries can use their homepages to advertise their services, such as, calendar of events, new IT services, new collection of topical subject, local heritage, sales of library publications in their homepages. Public can also access library's OPAC from homes and offices. Libraries can introduce Online Reference Inquiry Form (ORIF) in their homepage. Library users will be able to key in reference inquires through the ORIF or to search libraries' databases from any locations at any time. Hence, libraries are able to provide 24-hour services. In future, such service will include online self-registration of membership, request for reservation and extension of loans, or request for literature search from reference sources. For referral services, libraries should be able to source out reference inquiries not available in the collection from other libraries in the countries or from oversea, thus making it possible that global information be accessible to the general public. Online reference inquiries will ensure better and faster means of delivery of information products and services.
(b) Online Community Information Services
Libraries can develop online community information services and have it in the net. Local youth members of the Rakan Muda (Youth Friendship Group) can be trained in the use of IT, compilation and processing of local information for the net. Public library can organized special youth computer camp to collect local information and develop community information center. This can be done by working closely with local youth associations. The Online Community Information Services can include the following information: community leaders, local community events, local sport events, directories of public utilities and youth associations, local entertainment centers, places of interest to tourists, local historical and cultural heritages, publications of interest to local communities and youth, local news and community forum. Local businesses can be invited to advertise their products and services. Advertisement in homepages can generate income for libraries.
(c) One-stop Information Center for IT Products and Services
Libraries can be developed as a one-stop community information center for IT services. By allowing library users to access variety of online databases available through the Internet, users do not have to go to different places to get information. They can navigate the WWW by themselves or with the assistance of library staff. By integrating IT products and services with other print product will make learning more interesting and enjoyable. Libraries therefore, are developing as an informedia and edutaiment center. Through effective inter-library loan and document delivery services, users will be able to obtain information or documents of their interest from other libraries. Thus, the nation's library resources can be made available to any library, thereby realizing the system of national availability of information for the benefit of the society.
(d) Packaging of Information
For personalized services, library staff should be able to response to request for literature search on specific information. Such literature search will include: compilation or bibliographies on selected topics of interest to specific user needs; compilation of addresses for contact; compilation of data, statistic and fact related business; compilation of profile on business products, country profile for potential market; developing metadata on relevant websites, creating hyperlink of relevant websites to cater for special user needs, etc. The library staff should be able to search for such information from different sources either from available reference sources or from the Internet, and repackage that specific information in according to specific individual request, thus providing value-added services. Packaging of information tailored toward specific information needs is a mean of providing personalized services to users. Such services can be charged accordingly. For continuous improvement of such services, libraries should devise a feedback mechanism to determine the levels of satisfaction of services rendered.
(c) Hyperlinks with Specialized Information Services
Libraries can introduce specialized information services to specialize user groups for nominal fees. For this service, library will maintain a database on User Profile for users that register under this program. The database will include information about their specific subject interests. Librarian will make regular scanning on relevant databases and websites as well as from latest journal publications that matches the interest of registered users. Information from various sources that match users' interests are consolidated and repackaged in a systematic way in accordance to specific user' needs. By doing so, registered members are always exposed to latest information relating to their subject interests. Current awareness services on information of users' subject interest will be delivered at regular interval. Feedback mechanism should be instituted in order to monitor the effectiveness of library services.
(d) Incubator and Secretarial Services
Incubator service is a special service given to researchers, small-scale entrepreneurs or publishers that do not have computer facilities. They can make use of computer facilities in libraries to produce their project papers or to advertise their new products in the Internet available at the library. Libraries can also provide computer spaces for small business firms to create database or homepages until such time they have their own computer systems. These services can be a form of income generating for libraries. Secretarial services can also be introduced so that user can do fast binding for their project papers.
(e) User Education programs
Systematic user education programs on the use of IT can be introduced in order to ensure that library users be able to fully utilize IT products and services available in the library. User education programs can be targeted to different market segments of library users as different groups have different information needs. By introducing such services, a library is able to retain its existing library users and to recruit new library users. The program will include basic information handling skills, use of varieties of library resources including IT products, literature search by navigating the Internet, search strategies for different information resources, use of reference sources, compilation of bibliographies and information packaging, etc. Guides to information search from the Internet should be developed and made available to library users In future, Online User Education Program can be considered and made available through library Homepage and the Library's Kiosk.
(f) Forums and Seminars on IT
By working with IT suppliers as partners, a library can organize regular forums and seminars on various IT related topics. Such forums and seminars will be opened to library users as well as staff from other libraries. By doing this, users and library professional will benefit and gain new knowledge on the latest development on IT. Publishers can also launched their newly published books on IT or IT products at the library. This form of reverse marketing will benefit both the staff of the library as well as the IT suppliers.
(i) Consultancy/ Advisory Services
A library can also provide consultancy and advisory services in the setting up or upgrading library services for IT companies and other private sectors. This is a form of reverse marketing to library suppliers as well as forward marketing to potential corporate customers. A special committee at the National Library of Malaysia is developing standards and guidelines on for the setting up of digital library that can be used as a guide for those institutions that intend to set up library services.
(a) Production of Brochures and Posters
The library should come up with attractive and innovative brochures, leaflets and posters, which advertise its IT services and resources. Leaflets on Guide to the library and its special collections, Guide to the library databases, Guide on navigating the net, Reading List on IT, etc can be made easily available to the library users. Such brochures and leaflets should be distributed to all new members, as well as to schools, universities and institutes of higher learning, corporations, business enterprises, libraries, etc. Such advertisement will inform potential users the new role of library as center for acculturation of IT. Posters by IT suppliers and their major events such as IT conferences can also be displayed at the library's Bulletin Board.
(b) Campaign to Business Corporations
Libraries in Malaysia are making efforts to campaign its services to Business Corporations by encouraging their staff to give talks on IT products and services to Business Corporations and to participate in their seminars, forums and exhibitions. This will make private corporations understand the new roles of libraries.
(c) Library Tours
Guided library tours for new registered members as well as those interested in the library services is another means of promoting library services. By doing so users will be able to ask questions and to find out more about new libraries' roles, functions, IT products and services on the libraries.
(g) Library and Information Month
Organizing Library Month is a way of promoting and advertising its products, activities and services. August has been declared as the national Reading Month for Malaysia. During the month, the library can focus a theme, which will highlight certain aspects of IT. IT suppliers can also be invited to participate in this festive month. During this period, various activities will be held at the library such as IT exhibition, special library tours (open house), launching of some IT products, Quiz on IT with attractive prizes can be introduced. Computer Camp for youth and children can be organized and prizes will be given for those who produce innovative IT products.
(h) Advertisement in Newspapers, Business Magazine, TV and Radio
The library should advertise its services in the newspaper, magazine, TV and radio. Staff should be encouraged to write articles related to new library services to be published in professional journals, popular magazines and newspapers. Librarians can appear on Radio and TV highlighting the new library roles on IT services for the community.
(i) Participate in the Trade or Business Exhibition
Exhibition is one of the ways to attraction attention publicizing services of the library. The library should organize regular exhibition, which focus on different aspects of IT with different target audience in mind. The library should open its door for IT vendors to exhibit its products and services at its Exhibition Hall. At the same time, the library staff should participate in the Book Exhibition Trade Fair and IT Exhibition.
It is also essential to monitor changes that continue to take place in the external environment and in the IT marketplaces as these changes may lead to changes being taken in the process. Introduction of IT means changing new ways of doing things, and may have profound effect upon the culture and social structures of libraries. The possibilities of library users accessing OPAC from remote places and made request for reservation, loans, and even membership registration online can alter the library's boundary with the external environment by changing its relationship with its users, book suppliers, and other libraries as well as opening its resources to the global community. All these should be closely monitored to avoid conflict among staff.
The review process involves feedback from staffs involves in the change process, feedback for the library users as well as library suppliers. Data collected as the result of monitoring and reviewing the IT services is analyzed and conclusion is drawn about the effectiveness of the marketing strategy. The information is used to shift the strategy toward a more effective direction. Non-productive services and facilities should be phased out and reexamined to determine the reasons for its failure. Efforts and resources should be redirected and focused an area where demand is greater. Complaints and failures should be addressed and problems dealt with.
Benchmarking with other libraries to measure and to compare its service performances with other libraries/ information centers is also important. Having an information system enable librarians to make quality decision making in introducing innovative IT products and services.
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