Internal Environment Report: DC Public Library


Strategic management of an organization is vibrant to any company’s success. Strategies can increase a company’s success depending on how they implement their goals, mission, and objectives. One key element is to analysis the organization internal factors. One must understand the company’s core competencies, by applying the analysis tools, such as the SWOT analysis, Resource Based View, and the Value Chain Analysis, they all can support with the successful and correct implementation of the organization’s strategy, goals, and objectives.

Given that we explored the vision, mission, and objectives (VMO) on last week. The primary goal is to be a recognized force in the community for engaging the mind, expanding opportunities, and elevating the quality of life, while continue to build a thriving city. This paper will examine and analysis the tools needed to implement an Internal Environmental Report.

Core Competencies

My organization is the DC Public Library, (DCPL) it is a state government agency, operating under the not-for-profit organization, all services are free and open to the public.

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Their core competencies are: Identifying the organization’s specialization, intangible assets, and identifying the organization’s value chain that performs well. DCPL’s specialization involves continuous learning, outreach, and services. DCPL encourages an ongoing learning environment to its customers and staff. From my years of experience, the core competencies should be related to the circulation services, technology use, and communication, community outreach, customer service, and programming. The chart below shows how the organization works. All services and programming are offered at all 26 locations in the District of Columbia free of charge.

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(“District of Columbia Public Library,”). The library specialization involves continuous learning. The library encourages a continuous learning environment to its customers. From another view point, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, in Baltimore MD, adopted similar core competencies.

Dynamic Service such as enhancing staff responsiveness to emerging customer needs, and by leveraging community expertise, increasing access to service at h point of need and increasing physical access and safety of all.

Collaboration and Community Partnerships consist of strengthen existing partnerships by identify and secure new partnerships, increase capacity to respond to unplanned opportunities that advance the vision, and prioritize new educational and workforce development.

Technology is huge with strengthen staff core technology competencies through training and practice, which gives the opportunity for customers to use mobile technology, and self-service opportunities while increase adoption of emerging technologies. (“Enoch Pratt Free Library – the public library of Baltimore City and the Maryland State Library Resource Center,” n.d.)

DCPL Core Competencies Space The New State of the Art Renovations (MLK) / Best Architectures /More open space for books and services at all renovated locations

Circulation/Collection Books and Materials

Customer Service/Customer Interaction Problem Solving

Basic Technology Use Free: Wi-Fi, Computer usage, Laptops, Computer Labs/ Printing

IT Troubleshooting Data

Communication Library Advocacy

Community Awareness Outreach Services/ Programing- offering Book from Birth and Story time for toddlers at all locations

Thinking on which one of these competencies are rare, costly, or not easily to imitated are a needle in the haystack. The DCPL has so much to offer and little data to prove their good deeds. The information that disclose data are programs used by the library such as; circulation of books, the number of patron visiting all locations, IT troubleshooting data, building usage data. customers access to Wi-Fi, Library card holders, and free computer usage at all locations, Outreach programs, data, and Books from Birth reading program data. The most cost would be the renovation of the branch libraries and the New State of the Art Martin Luther King Jr. Library (MLK). Because the library provides public service at the request, and the budget of state government, there was no areas of the core competencies that fit the category of “not easily imitated. The library beliefs are that each of these services can be imitated by other public libraries system due to the type of entity the library organization serves.

DCPL believed that the services offered can be imitated by other public library systems due to organizations not operating on the like for profit status. Our data for the various reading programs offered to the public indicates that there is significant need, and the DC residents are benefiting from using the programs offered, which enhances the library’s vision and mission.

Organizational Strengths and Weakness Chart


  • Computer/Printing Usage
  • Wi-Fi
  • Circulation of Books
  • Card Holders
  • Free Printing
  • Serve Homeless
  • Outreach Services
  • Provide Public Safety Library Closure for Renovation
  • Need more in-school outreach
  • Summer Reading Programs

Lack of Communication

Organization Strengths

The library’s strongest and most rewarding contributions is to the community, by providing free services: library card holders, circulation of books, computer usage, printing, Wi-Fi, and reading programs, homeless assistants, and Library Police for safety. In the Fiscal Year (FY) 18, reports the library provided a total of 89,800, total numbers of attendance for all the library’s system-wide programs. Also, the number of library cardholders during FY18 Q4 numbers recorded as 470,477, which increased compared to last year numbers of 406,801. (DC Public Library, 2019). The gate count of 893,037 represents the number of patrons visited the library, which increased for FY18 compared to FY 17, reported number as 799,622.

The next question to ask that would help to determine another strength for the library is to identify what service or services the library has that no one else has. The library provides service to the homeless, many the homeless comes to the library as the drop-off and pick-up location for the shelter to have a location nearby. The library provides a social worker the for homeless, and an area for them to stay warm in cold weather and offer cooling stations for the summer when there is extremely hot weather with high index. Another service is giving to the homeless are care packages for hygiene’s purposes (toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, bodywash, lotion, socks), and an eating area for them to have a place to eat, when needed. Finally, the library provides public safety, armed police officers at most locations for safety in the high crime area, for the public and library staff. (DC Public Library, 2019).

Defining a service that user’s like best about the library, would be using the data. According to the FY18 Q4 report, customer interaction for circulation was the most used. Circulation is the manual and electronic borrowing transactions from the collection, which includes outside and in-house usage, renewal materials. Another customer interaction was computer usage, printing, and Wi-Fi, one of the greatest strengths of the library, the users love the idea of the library offering free services, offering free; library card, computer usage, printing, and Wi-Fi. Finally, the second most customer interaction was identified as hours of operations, opening 7 days a week, offering evening hours Mondays thru Thursdays until 9pm, with a total of opening sixty-six (66) hours per week.

Organization’s Weaknesses

Weaknesses of the DC Public Library (DCPL) were mentioned in the latest Board of Trustees meeting minutes. There is a major concern for lack of participation in completion of the MLK Library renovation plans. The closure of the main library in April 2017, MLK headquarters located in downtown DC, has an impact on outreach services, community programs, and shelter. The discontinue of services for three years, affects the community. (DC Public Library, 2017). Not keeping the community well informed of the updates and estimated dates of the renovations process of all the DC Public Libraries closing and opening dates. There are concerns about the lack of participation of the summer reading programs, compared to the numbers for 2017, 2018, improving summer reading programs, and take a better approach in improving the in-school outreach programs for teens and young adults. (DC Public Library, 2019).Organization’s Tangibles and Intangible Assets

Tangible Assets Intangible Asset

  1. They have a physical existence. 1. They don’t have a physical existence.
  2. Tangible assets are depreciated. 2. Intangible assets are amortized.
  3. Are generally much easier to liquidate due to their physical presence. 3. Are not that easy to liquidate and sell in the market.
  4. The cost can be easily determined or evaluated. 4. The cost is much harder to determine for Intangible assets.
  5. Examples: vehicle, plant & machinery, etc. 5. Examples: Software, logo, patent, etc.

According to “Accounting Capital” The best way to remember tangible assets is the meaning of the word “Tangible” which means something that can be felt with the sense of touch.  The main difference between tangible and intangible assets is where one can be touched and felt the other only exists on paper. (“Difference between Tangible and Intangible Assets,” 2014).

Through identifying the library’s tangible and intangible assets, the organization can relate by accomplish goal achievement. According to Corrall (2014) the library potentially benefits from identifying its tangible and intangible assets for these three reasons:

Increased scope and capability to report effectiveness to stakeholders

Better alignment of library resources and efforts with strategic responses required by stakeholders

More effective utilization of IAs [intangible assets] to achieve tangible and intangible strategic response and impacts. (Corrall, 2014, p.22).

In addition, “the resource-based view (RBV) of the firm recognizes tangible and intangible assets as strategic resources whose value in terms of durability, rarity, inimitability, and non-substitutability represent competitive advantage” (Corrall, 2014, p23). Digging deeper to further understand what constitutes an asset. Also, an asset is a prior cost that can be used for future gain. Upon careful review of the RBV, the library’s tangibles consist of Property, Equipment, and Facilities. Library property consist of building structure, books, furniture, and historical artifacts. Also, the designing the new buildings, using the best architectures. Equipment consists of cash collection equipment, copier/printing machines, computers, tables and chairs. Facilities include various branches, building pipes, meeting space, plumbing, etc. The library’s intangible assets consist of Intellectual assets, and Reputation. Within the classification of intellectual assets are Human assets, Relational assets, and Structural Assets. Human assets include expertise in collection development (Corrall, 2014). Personal knowledge, skills, and abilities are human assets, which sometimes can be hard to duplicate. Relational assets include partnership and networking capabilities. For example, more relational assets include”

  • library-faculty partnerships for information literacy that can be exploited to promote data literacy, data curation, data management planning, etc.
  • library professional networks that enable sharing of best practices via conferences, email, social media, etc.
  • library-technology collaborations on digital services that can facilitate development of data storage and infrastructure services (Corrall, 2014, p.27).

Structural assets can be more explained as using “tools available within the professional community” (Corrall, 2014, p.27). Using organizational structures to facilitate innovation or using old systems and procedures that can be extended or reused for repurposing (Corrall, 2014). Reputation is considered a library asset because of reputation librarians build with the patrons. Librarians are a go-to resource for many of the patrons teaching and research needs. When librarians receive many word-of-mouth recommendations, he or she can take advantage of this social capital is another way to develop added relationships.

Value Chain Analysis

Ways to measure value is through measuring value activities, “economic value analysis, strategic value analysis, balanced scorecards, triple bottom line reporting, and key performance indicators” (Williams & Lewis, 2008, p.2). The value chain model can identify “interconnected activities in an organization, which typically will include inbound logistics, operations/production, outbound logistics, marketing sales, and services” (Williams & Lewis, 2008, p.2). In review of the explanation of a value chain analysis, it is understood that DCPL as an organization may be difficult for others to imitate because this is the only library system in the District of Columbia to serve its residents. Without this service, the residents and visitors of the city will suffer. In addition, the literacy capabilities of children, teens, and adults will decline, which will probably have a domino effect on the city’s goals to establish knowledgeable citizens to prepare for a competitive workforce within the city.

According to Barney (1995) a SWOT analysis helps to fill in the “internal blanks,” which helps managers to address a few important questions regarding their capabilities and resources. Examples of these questions include “(1) the quality of value, (2) the question of rareness, (3) the question of imitability, and (4) the question of organization” (Barney, 1995, p. 50). In considering the question of DCPL’s organizational value, it has to be determined if the organization’s resources and capabilities add value that can explore opportunities for the library. This is a challenging question considering the library is a public organization that is ran by the city/state government. Therefore, the organization does not generate profits through sales.

The next question is to identify the organization’s resources and capabilities as rare. The resources and capabilities offered by the library are not controlled by other competitors. If other firms have the same resources and capabilities as the library, these firms are making a profit from the resources whereas the library offers services for free. Therefore, the library’s internal sources are valuable, and can be considered rare because no other competing firm exists within the same geographical area. For example, there is only one library system in Washington, DC, and the system consists of 26 branches. As far as imitability, “A firm that possess valuable and rare resources and capabilities can gain, at least, a temporary competitive advantage” (Barney, 1995, p.53). With this observation, it is recognized that the library does have a competitive advantage.


In summary, DCPL must continue establishing strategic planning methods. As a student identifying the components that would assist the organizations with developing its strategic plans placed limitations with identifying the organization’s core competencies, tangible and intangible assets, and with the value chain analysis. However, through much research, the organization’s internal factors were analyzed, which identified the organizations possible core competencies, identified the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and identified the company’s value chain analysis. Overall this paper has brought depth knowledge and understanding to the structure and guidance of the DC Public Library Strategic Management.


  1. AP. (2017). Washington’s MLK library closes for 3 years of renovations.
  2. J. B. (1995). Looking inside for Competitive Advantage. The Academy of Management
  3. Executive (1993-2005), (4). 49. S. (2014). Library service capital: The case for measuring and managing intangible assets.
  4. Public Library. (2018). Board of library trustees meeting minutes.
  5. Public Library. (2018). Library services quarterly performance report FY18. of Columbia Public Library. (n.d.). Retrieved from Pratt Free Library – the public library of Baltimore City and the Maryland State Library Resource Center. (n.d.).
  6. H. W., & Pierce, J. B. (2002). Intellectual capital. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 36, 467-500. doi: 10.1002/aris.1440360112.
  7. Williams, W., & Lewis, D. (2008). Strategic management tools and public sector management. Public Management Review, 10(5), 653-671. doi:10.1080/14719030802264382

Cite this page

Internal Environment Report: DC Public Library. (2019, Nov 26). Retrieved from

Internal Environment Report: DC Public Library

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