A framework for knowledge management in a public library : based on a case study on knowledge management in a Dutch public library
Documentation and information
Proceedings of the 8th European Conference on knowledge management vol 1 and 2
8th European Conference on Knowledge Management, SEP 06-07, 2007, Consorci Escola Ind, Barcelona, SPAIN
, p. 884-890
University of Antwerp
The public library of Vlissingen (Holland) is very ambitious in providing the best possible service to its users. In order to successfully realise this goal, the library wants to make maximum use of the knowledge that resides in the heads of library workers (human capital). In the past year, however, the library had been experiencing several problems related to the exchange of knowledge between library staff members and between library workers and library clients. The solution was found in the field of knowledge management, still a fairly new discipline in the public library sector. A knowledge audit was the first step in solving these internal knowledge problems and in establishing a future knowledge management strategy. The main objective of this audit was to identify and describe the current knowledge gaps and knowledge flow: within the unique context of a library with both internal and external 'knowledge clients'. The data collected during the research were both qualitative (interviews with key knowledge players in the library) and quantitative (online survey). The audit revealed that the library has an enormously rich 'tacit' knowledge potential that until now has remained unexplored. A series of recommendations for leveraging this 'tacit' knowledge to a more operational level have been proposed and are being implemented at this moment. In order to make internal knowledge more visible and better searchable, an internal library wiki has been set up. To encourage knowledge sharing outside the boundaries of fixed teams, several 'communities of practice' have been made operational. Finally, After Action Review-techniques have been introduced for evaluating projects and for stimulating library workers to learn from 'best' and 'worst' practices. This paper presents the findings of our research in more detail, looks at the recommendations that are being implemented and at the same time proposes an overall approach to knowledge management for public libraries that wish to embark on a knowledge management journey in order to achieve h their strategic goals in the best possible manner.