Stimulating Growth and Renewal of Public Libraries: The Natural Life Cycle as Framework. This is the text of an ERIC Digest by Norm Perry. It was released in 2003.
I like how this looks at a public library as a living organism. Although all the examples here don't fit academic or public libraries, there are still a lot of parallels that can be drawn.
I found this quote interesting. "Libraries are entropic. As living systems, they tend from order to disorder. Without a continuous infusion of new energy, any system will "run down" from organization to disorganization. Buildings wear out and collapse. Orderly shelves become, over time, less orderly. People naturally age. Libraries naturally age. " As library agents, we are fighting the forces of chaos!
From the site:
Libraries have a natural life cycle: birth, growth, maturity, and decline. Each stage may be identified by its typical characteristics. Librarians who recognize and understand the library life cycle can benefit by anticipating and planning for change, diagnosing problems early, and having a framework for charting library development. Movement from one stage to the next may be directed and controlled by librarians using the life cycle model as a guide. Knowing what stage the library is in will help the librarian take appropriate action to stimulate growth, and re-energize and prolong the library's service life.
This ERIC Digest explores the life cycle of public libraries and highlights characteristics of each stage. The author provides specific advice on what can be done in each stage to energize the library with "stage-appropriate" action.