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Johnson County Library is an outstanding community resource center that is located in the northeast part of Kansas. It consists of a library with twelve branches in various parts of the country. By 2011, the library had over one million learning materials in its collection. Also, it had employed more than three hundred and fifty employees in 2011. The library has more than four hundred computers, which are used by the communities that it serves (Johnson County Library, 2013). The library aims to promote literacy by providing reading materials to the public in a cost-effective manner. This paper will analyze the library’s purpose, ethical standards, inputs, and outputs. It will also explain the procedures used by the library to measure its effectiveness and to balance stakeholder needs.
Goals, Accomplishments, and Challenges
The main objective of the library is to enable the public to access ideas, information, knowledge, and materials, which add value to their lives. In this regard, the library strives to create an environment that enables the public to learn, explore, and to connect (Johnson County Library, 2012, pp. 1-49). The library’s management has set specific goals to enable it to achieve its objectives. These include the provision of services that are valued by customers, providing library services to the underserved parts of the county, enhancing access to libraries, and reducing the variation in access to libraries between urban and suburban regions. The library also aims at improving the experiences of its users by employing advanced technologies to provide services.
By pursing the goals and objectives outlined in the preceding paragraph, the library has been able to achieve success in the following areas. The library supported the community during the 2011 economic downturn by providing free services and learning materials in various locations in the county. The number of visits to the library and the time spent on reading increased by 21% and 10%, respectively (Johnson County Library, 2013). The library was able to recruit over 900 volunteers who provided services to its clients for more than 48,000 hours. Moreover, the library supported over 400 jobseekers by training them on skills such as writing resumes. Finally, the library’s Lauffer Civic Engagement Fund received the 2012 Pinnacle Award for its outstanding performance. The fund has enabled the library to increase its collection of learning materials and to offer services to the community.
Despite these achievements, the library is facing the following challenges. To begin with, the population of Johnson County is proliferating, thereby straining the library’s facilities. The people of the county are expected to increase by 29% and 49% by 2020 and 2030, respectively. Consequently, the library will have to look for additional funding to expand its facilities. Johnson County is also “becoming more diverse in terms of ethnicity, race, and language” (Johnson County Library, 2012, pp. 1-49). This presents a planning challenge to the library because the diverse population has varying needs. For example, it may have to employ multilingual staff and to purchase materials that are written in different languages to overcome language barriers. In this regard, the operating cost of the library is likely to increase as it tries to meet the needs of all its patrons.
The Purpose of the Library
The library was created to enable residents of Johnson County to acquire knowledge and to access the information that they need to make informed decisions. Thus, the mandate of the library is to provide its patrons with materials such as books, journals, and magazines, as well as access to the internet (Johnson County Library, 2013). It is also responsible for promoting civic engagement in the county. This involves facilitating discussions in which residents articulate and find solutions to issues that affect their lives.
The library creates value for its stakeholders in the following ways. First, it prioritizes the needs of its customers by delivering high-quality services and treating each request with equal importance. Second, the library guarantees access to information (Johnson County Library, 2012, pp. 1-49). It protects the customers’ freedom of information by ensuring that all relevant materials are available and can be accessed by everyone. Thus, there is no discrimination in accessing the library’s facilities or resources. Third, the library protects its users’ right to privacy and confidentiality. People are often reluctant to use community resources for fear of losing their privacy. In response to this concern, the library improves the confidence of its users by limiting access to the details concerning their requests and the use of information. Fourth, the library provides essential services without any charge. This enables all members of the county to use the library. Sixth, the library creates value for its employees and volunteers by providing them with learning opportunities. This enables them to acquire advanced skills that will not only allow them to offer better services but also to develop their careers. Finally, the library creates value for its sponsors (the community and the government of Johnson County) through prudent management of its resources. In this regard, the management focuses on the effective and efficient utilization of the library’s resources such as funds, time, and assets. The management strives to operate within its budget by using less to provide more services to the public.
Balancing Stakeholders’ Needs
The library’s stakeholders include the government of Johnson County, the residents of the county, the management of the library, and the employees. These stakeholders have unlimited and varying needs. The library has to balance the needs of its stakeholders because it cannot meet all of them due to resource constraints. This involves making a compromise and a trade-off to meet the basic needs of all stakeholders. The strategies used by the library to balance the needs of its stakeholders include the following. First, the library’s management uses transformational leadership to meet the needs of its stakeholders. This involves aligning the leadership style to every situation to achieve the goals of the organization (Daft & Murphy, 2010, p. 96). The leaders of the library strive to influence the employees’ behavior by selling a vision to them and developing their emotional commitment. For instance, the library has established core values that guide the conduct of its employees. These include accountability, respect, integrity, and excellence. These values enable the library to balance the needs of its stakeholders by offering high-quality services, promoting staff development, and using its resources economically.
Second, the library uses its mission statement to balance stakeholder needs. Its mission statement is to “provide access to ideas, information, experiences, and materials that enrich people’s lives” (Daft & Murphy, 2010, pp. 1-49). Based on this statement, the library has been able to develop strategic plans that enable it to meet the basic needs of its stakeholders. For example, it established the 2008-2012 strategic plan to guide its expansion in response to increasing demand for library services. The project focused on expanding the library’s facilities and acquisition of additional learning materials, staff training and development, and prudent management of funds.
Finally, the library has been able to balance the needs of its stakeholders through effective communication. The stakeholders of the library have different information needs concerning their operations. For example, the government of Johnson County needs the financial information of the library to allocate to it adequate funds. Similarly, donors are interested in accountability reports to know how the library uses their funds. The community is involved in the information concerning the resources that are available in the library. In contrast, the employees require information about the future of the library to plan for their careers. To meet these needs, the library produces periodic reports and newsletters that contain all the information needed by various stakeholders.
Input, Output, and Effectiveness
The critical inputs of the library include its funds, employees, and technology. The library’s funds are managed separately from other County funds. Thus, the funds allocated for the library cannot be used for other development projects within the county. The Board of County Commissioners manages the library’s funds. The funds are essential because they enable the library to purchase new learning materials and to offer services to the public. The library’s employees contribute to service delivery through their efforts and skills that determine the extent to which customer needs are satisfied (Johnson County Library, 2013). Modern technologies such as the internet enable the library to offer high-quality services such as quick access to information. The main outputs of the library are the services it delivers and the materials it provides to the public. The services include access to information and civic engagement programs.
The organization measures its effectiveness in the following ways. The library uses the competing-values model to measure its effectiveness. In this model, the effectiveness of the organization is assessed based on its values. By using its core values, the library defines its efficacy in terms of three perspectives, namely, “rational goal achievement, open system, and human relations” (Daft & Murphy, 2010, p. 145). The rational goal perspective is concerned with the extent to which an organization can achieve its targets. In this regard, the library measures its effectiveness by assessing the quality of its services, the efficiency of its processes, and its overall productivity. The assessments are based on predetermined targets that are outlined in the library’s strategic plan. Regarding the human relations perspective, the library assesses its effectiveness by measuring the satisfaction of its customers and the motivation of its employees, as well as the competence and skills of its employees.
The open system perspective is concerned with the exchanges of an organization with its environment. In this regard, the library measures its effectiveness in the following ways. First, it measures the efficiency with which it processes the information that is central to the provision of services to the customers. This includes the time taken to answer customers’ queries or processing book-borrowing requests. Second, the library evaluates its efficiency regarding resource utilization. Concisely, the library measures its effectiveness in terms of the extent to which it can achieve its goals using the available funds. Third, the library measures its efficiency in terms of its flexibility. The library considers itself useful if it can expand its operations in response to the changing demands for library services (Johnson County Library, 2013). Finally, the library measures its effectiveness by evaluating its adaptability. In this context, resilience refers to the library’s ability to align its services and operations to the changing needs of its stakeholders.
The managers and employees of Johnson County Library are guided by the following ethical standards. First, the employees are required to maintain high moral standards when performing their duties. Maintaining this ethical standard enables the employees to refrain from any behaviors that may hurt their colleagues or users of the library. Second, the managers and employees are required to put their best effort into their duties (Johnson County Library, 2005, pp. 1-5). The importance of this requirement is that it encourages employees to determine and to use efficient and effective methods to provide services to the customers. It helps the employees to dedicate their best thoughts, efforts, and attention to their duties. Third, the employees are expected to focus on fair treatment. In this regard, the employees are expected to treat every user of the library fairly and respectfully. The employees are not allowed to discriminate or to offer special favors to certain groups at the expense of others.
Fourth, the employees and their managers are expected to uphold integrity. The implication of this ethical standard is that employees are required to avoid making private promises to any stakeholder of the library if such obligations would oblige them to engage in behaviors that transcend the appropriate scope of their duties. Additionally, the employees are required to avoid misleading the public and the government by withholding or falsifying information about the library (Johnson County Library, 2005, pp. 1-5). Fifth, the employees are required to avoid conflict of interest. In this regard, they are not allowed to transact any private business deals with the government. This is because engaging in private business with the government can lead to corruption. Finally, the employees are expected to protect the stakeholders’ right to confidentiality. This requirement encourages employees to use the information given to them by the stakeholders for the sole purpose of performing their duties as library officials. They are not allowed to disclose confidential information to third parties.
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The main goal of Johnson County Library is to provide access to information and learning materials to the public. The library creates value for its stakeholders by cost-effectively offering high-quality services. It balances the needs of its stakeholders through effective leadership, communication, and strategic planning. The library uses various methods such as reasonable goal achievement and human relations to measure its effectiveness. The behavior of the library’s employees is guided by several ethical standards, which include integrity, confidentiality, and fairness. To achieve its strategic goals, the library must continue to balance the needs of its stakeholders.
Daft, R., & Murphy, J. (2010). Organization: Theory and design. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Johnson County Library. (2005). Administrative regulations: Code of ethics. Kansas, MO: Johnson County Library.
Johnson County Library. (2012). Collection development policy. Kansas, MO: Johnson County Library.
Johnson County Library. (2013). About us. Web.