7.1 Developing a strategy

Different resource centres provide different information services, depending on users’ needs and the resource centre’s capacity. Although this section describes a number of different services, it is important to consider the needs of the resource centre's users, and the resources available (funds and staff time), and provide only those services that match these criteria.

If the resource centre is small, and has only limited staff time and financial resources, it may be sufficient to organise the materials carefully, ensure that they are kept up to date (by purchasing new editions and new titles), and provide users with skills for using the materials effectively.

The most commonly provided services include lending, reservation, advisory services, literature searches and photocopying. A larger resource centre with more staff time and resources could offer more services. A resource centre whose users are at a distance would have to consider which services would help it to reach out to the users.

A strategy for information services will need to be developed as part of the overall strategy for the resource centre (see Section 1.2: Strategic planning).

Information services can provide an opportunity for income-generation. Many resource centres generate some income by charging for services such as searches, reservations and photocopying. Decisions about charging should be made as part of the financial planning process (see Section 2.3: Financial planning).