Clayton County Library System: SWOT Analysis and Strategic Issues

Subject: Organizational Management
Pages: 5
Words: 760
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: PhD


This paper is a discussion about SWOT analysis. It provides a brief description of the Clayton County Library System and then points out its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

A Brief Description of Clayton County Library System

Clayton County Library System is one of the public libraries which have benefited the members of Georgia County. The main library is located in Jonesboro, Georgia. The library was established with a mission of providing learning and research services to the members of the local community (Clayton County Library System, n.d). The library has six main branches, which are located in different areas within the local community (Clayton County Library System, n.d).

Organizational Strengths

Strengths are characteristics of an organization that gives it a competitive advantage over others (Bryson, 2011; Yuksel, 2012). Therefore, one of the Clayton County Library System’s strengths is the availability of updated sources of learning materials. This means that the library’s clients can get current information about various social, political, and economic issues. Besides, researchers, who visit the library, are also able to get the most recent details about their research topics.

The availability of large community space is another strength that the library has. With such a large space, the library can accommodate a relatively large number of clients, especially children who are always brought to the library by their parents and guardians to read. Due to the large space, the library has managed to establish reading areas for different types of clients, who include youths, juveniles, and adults (Koontz, 2007; McAvinchey, 2013).

Organizational Weaknesses

Despite the strengths, the library has many weaknesses, which include limited financial allocations from the government. Being a public institution, the library receives a substantial amount of its financial allocations from the government (Kemp, 2009; Sharma, 2012). It is important to note that the financial allocations from the government are never sufficient in terms of meeting the long-term goals and objectives of the library (Sharma, 2012).

The other weakness is the lack of public relations plan to enhance the library’s visibility and promote its mission (Watson & Noble, 2007). This is partly attributable to the fact that the library has not been receiving sufficient financial allocations from the relevant government authority (Watson & Noble, 2007). Moreover, the weakness has been contributed to by a lack of adequate alternative sources of finances.

Organizational Opportunities

Even though the library has several weaknesses, it still has some opportunities to enhance its services to the local members of the community (Hernon & Mathews, 2013). One of the opportunities is the accessibility of its branches. The library has established about six branches in different parts of the county (Hernon & Mathews, 2013). This provides it with an opportunity to attract more clients to use its localized facilities. The proximity of its branches to local schools and centers makes it possible for the library to attract more users (Hernon & Mathews, 2013).

The other opportunity is the space it has to accommodate a relatively large number of people. The space can be used by community members as a meeting place. Therefore, the library can lease some of its space to the community members at a reasonable fee. In this case, the library may be able to increase its revenue flows, which it can use in meeting its goals and objectives.

Organizational Threats

Organizational threats are factors that may hinder an organization from achieving its goals and objectives (Block, 2007). In the case of the Clayton County Library System, one of the threats is the lack of awareness of its services among the general members of the public. The library has unique services that other similar libraries do not have. However, due to a lack of an efficient public relations plan, it has become difficult to effectively inform the local members about the unique services of the library (Block, 2007).

The dwindling financial allocations from the government is another threat that may slow down the achievement of the library’s organizational goals and objectives. This is because the library, being a public institution, greatly depends on the financial allocations from the government to sustain its efficient operations (Harriman, 2008).


What I have learned is that a SWOT analysis helps an organization to determine its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In the context of a strategic planning process, I may use this knowledge in determining the capabilities of the organization, evaluating the weaknesses that may hinder the exercise of the strengths, identifying the opportunities that are available to the organization, and pointing out the likely threats (Laureate Education Inc., 2013).


Block, M. (2007). The Thriving Library: Successful Strategies for Challenging Times. New York, NY: Information Today, Inc.

Bryson, J. M. (2011). Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement. Winchester, Hampshire: John Wiley & Sons.

Clayton County Library System. (n.d). Web.

Harriman, J. (2008). Creating your library’s business plan: a how-to-do-it manual. Detroit, MI: Neal-Schuman Publishers.

Hernon, P., & Mathews, J. (2013). Reflecting on the Future of Academic and Public Libraries. New York, NY: American Library Association.

Kemp, K. W. (2009). Historic Clayton County: The Sesquicentennial History. San Antonio, TX: HPN Books.

Koontz, C. (2007). A History of Location of U.S. Public Libraries within Community Place and Space: Evolving Implications for the Library’s Mission of Equitable Service. Public Library Quarterly, 26(1/2), 75. doi: 10.1300/J118v26n01•05.

Laureate Education Inc. (Producer). (2013). Strategic planning: Collaboration, cooperation, and coordination – Assessing the environment [DVD]. Baltimore, MD: Laureate Education, Inc.

McAvinchey, C. (2013). Coming of age: arts practice with older people in private and domestic spaces. Research in Drama Education, 18(4), 359-373.

Sharma, R. (2012). Libraries in the early 21st century, volume 2: An international perspective. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter.

Watson, T., & Noble, P. (2007). Evaluating Public Relations: A Best Practice Guide to Public Relations Planning, Research and Evaluation. London, UK: Kogan Page Publishers.

Yuksel, I. (2012). An Integrated Approach with Group Decision-Making for Strategy Selection in SWOT Analysis. International Journal of Academic Research in Business & Social Sciences, 2(11), 134-161.