Managing Library Services

Short Course - 30 credits at SCQF level 11
Managing Library Services

This short course explores the nature, provision and management of library and information services in a variety of contexts, emphasising the importance of effective performance evaluation and decision-making and provides an understanding of collection and service management. Strong emphasis is placed on the needs and characteristics of user communities.

The course introduces some of the key principles and philosophies associated with the management of library and information services.  It provides an insight into the way in which libraries must meet the needs of the communities that they serve (in all settings) and considers how their services and collections are shaped by this understanding.  It considers a range of professional management skills from generic ones such as financial or budgetary management and human resource planning through to specifics associated with the library and information sector such as collection management, information literacy, digital libraries and community engagement. 

Strong emphasis is placed on the latter aspect throughout the module together with a clear sense of the significance of measuring the value and impact of what libraries do.  These aspects are all explored through the use of a case-study approach where students attempt to plan and deliver services for a community and with reference to the real policies, frameworks and political agenda which shape public service cultural provision. 

The course has one study option

Mode of Attendance

  • Online Learning

Mode of Study

  • Part Time

Start Date

September 2022

Course Length

15 weeks


The module is broken down into a series of topic blocks including:

  • Communities and services
  • The practical management of library and information services 
  • Performance quality and impact (including How good is our public library service? which was developed for the Scottish Government by the module tutor) 
  • Services, collections and space
  • Strategic and operation human resource management 
  • Financial management and budget 
  • LIbraries, heritage and culture

On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:

  • Evaluate critically the range, nature and provision of library and information services in a variety of contexts.
  • Evaluate information services and assess collection development in relation to policy, planning and processes.
  • Analyse and discuss how human resource management and financial management contribute to effective planning and decision-making in the management of change within library and information services.
  • Examine and analyse user communities and their information needs and characteristics and reflect this knowledge and understanding in a practical information enquiry context.
  • Analyse political, economic, social and cultural challenges for library and information services provision in contemporary idioms.
  • Examine how performance measure, impact and quality enhancement contribute to the effective development of library and information services


The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our course and module disclaimer for more information.

Online Learning

You will learn via our online virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle which provides you with lectures and course materials and allows you to study from any location. You will participate in active, group-related learning within a supportive online community setting. You will have access to recorded lectures and opportunities to meet up online via discussion fora and live sessions.

Activity Summary

  • 30+ students per group
  • Recorded Lectures - 1 hours per week
  • Webinar - around 5 hours per term
  • Online learning activities 3 hours per week
  • Independent Study 2-3 hours per week


The module is assessed using a sophisticated case-study which has been created to enable student to explore managing a library services within a community.  There are two assignments; the first is a community profile for part of the community in question and the second is the creation of service development plan for the future enhancement of library provision.  For the second assignment, students collaborate in groups for part of it (although the bulk of the grade is awarded for individual work).

Independent Study

The course requires you to become independent 'open learners' and take responsibility for when, where and how your learning occurs. You will spend approximately 8-10 hours per week in the Online Learning mode of study working on your own, undertaking prescribed reading, preparing and participating in  group activities, taking part in online group discussions and other activities, researching and writing course reports.

Staff Delivering on This Course

This course is taught by a member of academic staff within Information Management with significant teaching experience, active engagement in research and scholarly activities in this area. The module tutor is created the quality standards for public libraries in Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and has wide experience of performance management and quality enhancement within the sector.


Academic Support

The Inclusion Centre advises and supports students who disclose a sensory or mobility impairment, chronic medical condition, mental health issue, dyslexia and other specific learning differences. Applicants are encouraged to arrange a pre-entry visit to discuss any concerns and to view the facilities.

Online Learning & Support

All online learning students, benefit from using our collaborative virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle. You will be provided with 24/7 online access to your learning material and resources, along with the ability to interact with your class members and tutors for discussion and support.

Study Skills Support

The Study Support Team provides training and support to all students in:

  • Academic writing
  • Study skills (note taking, exam techniques, time management, presentation)
  • Maths and statistics
  • English language
  • Information technology support

Library Support

The Library offers support for your course, including the books, eBooks, and journals you will need. We also offer online reading lists for many modules, workshops and drop-ins on searching skills and referencing, and much more.


The course will provide students with the ability understand the management and development of library and information services across a range of different sectors and contexts.  It lays strong emphasis on the importance of partnership working and has, therefore, resonance in the wider cultural and education landscapes. 

At the heart of the module is the acknowledgement that libraries are rooted within their community (where a place in the case of the public library, the school community, the college, or the university) and understanding that community and its needs is the fundamental building block on which all services are subsequently predicated.

The module is very transferable, affording those who complete it a rounded view of management practice and skills from hard one such as managing resources through to softer ones such as team-working or interpersonal communication skills.



The course is ideal for students who possess an undergraduate honours degree in any discipline.

All international students, for whom English is not their first language, will need either IELTS 6.5 or its equivalent in TOEFL.


For Session 2022/2023

  • Course Fees: £2,060

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:

As this is an online course, access to a computer or laptop with an internet connection is a requirement. For interactive sessions students may use a headset with microphone.


For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter. For further information see:


Have a question about the course? Get in touch with the team and we'll do our best to help.

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​ Taking this course, you will have access to some of the world's best facilities. 

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