Access to this document was granted through an Emerald subscription provided by emerald-srm:463473  For Authors If you would like to write for this, or any other Emerald publication, then please use our Emerald for Authors service information about how to choose which publication to write for and submission guidelines are available for all. Please visit www.emeraldinsight.com/authors for more information. About Emerald www.emeraldinsight.com Emerald is a global publisher linking research and practice to the benefit of society. The company manages a portfolio of more than 290 journals and over 2,350 books and book series volumes, as well as providing an extensive range of online products and additional customer resources and services. Abstract Purpose – Academic libraries, in general and more specifically in Africa, are at varying stages of decline: they are gradually being dislodged as top " go-to " places. This paper aims to suggest that leaders of academic libraries turn to the private sector to learn strategies through which this decline can be stopped or even reversed. Design/methodology/approach – The aim of this paper is to facilitate that learning process by identifying and analysing the errors or mistakes committed by leaders of other organisations, especially those that were once regarded as successful. The literature that focuses on this phenomenon will be scanned with a view to learning more about once successful companies that failed. Findings – Factors such as arrogance, complacency and denial have been identified as some of the factors that contributed towards their failure. Practical implications – The paper concludes with a discussion of this experience at the University of Pretoria and the strategies applied to prevent it from being marginalized. Originality/value – The value of the paper lies in the identification and suggestion of a practical method, which leaders of academic libraries can employ in preventing or reversing the decline of their libraries.
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