Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




John R. Thelin


The problem was to identify and assess the policy basis for the universal policy of colleges to have library operation programs. Colleges are higher education institutions whose main business is the delivery of college education, undergraduate instruction, leading to baccalaureate degrees. The conventional wisdom--the explanation of policy basis given in the literature--is a construct here called the College Library Doctrine. According to it, there is a fundamental relationship between the library operation program and the delivery of college education, undergraduate instruction. This relationship is said to be the result of historical process.;The College Library Doctrine was analyzed using a forensic or investigative approach. This approach looked for consistency and/or contradiction, treating the literature as data or evidence.;As a result of the analysis it was found that the same data or evidence supports a quite different explanation of why colleges have library operation programs. This alternative explanation of policy basis has little to do with the delivery of college education, undergraduate instruction. The existence of this quite different alternative explanation raises a serious reasonable doubt over the existence of the fundamental relationship posited by the College Library Doctrine.;The unresolved doubt, along with the recurrence of the college library operation program in the arena of institutional reputation, in topics such as "quality," image, and prestige--through such phenomena as accreditation, ratings, rankings, and media coverage--suggest a policy relocation of the college library operation program from its usual but problematic placement in the broad area of "academic support," to a different venue, "institutional support." Enhancement of institutional reputation is an important part of institutional support. In this relocation there would be a better fit between policy basis and policy; and there, accordingly, the institutional support benefit and potential of the library operation program might be maximized.;The Appendix recalls an early question of the analysis conceptualization and demonstrates that, whether or not the results and conclusions of the analysis itself are accepted, there are decisive flaws in attempts to prescribe college library program resource allocation on the basis of historical data.



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