SWOT Analysis: The Christian Liberal Arts College Library
February 23, 2019
Libraries are not monolithic. Matarazzo and Pearlstein (2015) observed that support for corporate libraries has declined in the face of market pressures much more readily than it has for academic libraries, which benefit from insulating factors such as tradition and accreditation. However, they warned that academic libraries should learn from the experience of their corporate counterparts, taking steps to ensure that they're aligned with institutional priorities.
In this context, it is fitting for libraries of all types to weigh the variables that will influence their future viability and, ideally, develop a strategy to deliver and communicate value to their stakeholders. Liberal arts college libraries are no exception. The outlook for many liberal arts colleges--particularly those that are neither elite nor well-endowed--is challenging due to demographic realities and financial conditions. Many faith-based institutions are vulnerable. Libraries at (Christian) liberal arts colleges would do well to take a deep look at themselves and their environment. A SWOT analysis is a vehicle for doing just that, providing insights for the formulation of a strategy that will guide future action (Helms, 2013; "SWOT Analysis," 2012).
In 2017 I took the time to build out a basic SWOT worksheet outlining my perception of the prospects for Christian liberal arts college libraries. However, I haven't posted it until now. The results are pictured and available for download below.
Helms, M. M. (2013). SWOT analysis framework. In E. H. Kessler (Ed.), Encyclopedia of management theory (Vol. 2, pp. 812–815). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Matarazzo, J. M., & Pearlstein, T. (2015). Academic libraries: A soft analysis, a warning and the road ahead. IFLA Journal, 41(1), 5–12. doi:10.1177/0340035215571356
SWOT analysis. (2012). In S. D. Hill (Ed.), Encyclopedia of management (7th ed., pp. 977–980). Detroit: Gale.