Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Outsourcing and Privatization in Libraries: Ethical Concerns

"This paper addresses the ethical concerns libraries face when confronted with the need to streamline processes, meet budgetary constraints and attend to the challenges of an increasingly demanding patron base.
These issues have forced libraries to outsource or privatize many of their services and processes in both public and technical services. Many libraries have outsourced partial or entire technical service processes to outside providers. From material selection via an approval plan to cataloging by OCLC and other vendors to the physical processing of new materials by book dealers, the way libraries perform their work has changed. In addition, numerous others are looking to outside providers to supplement their reference services. Is this shift of responsibility appropriate to the goals of the modern library or is it a necessity to survive in today’s economy? What are the implications of the shift of services and processes from inside the library to the outside? Has quality been compromised? Do patrons notice? What effect has this shift had on library staffing and budgets? Have librarians given up their
expertise to save money?"

Another excerpt:

"Libraries are contracted out for two reasons: to save money for the bosses who decide to outsource, and to make money for the bosses who get the contract. There are some disturbing economics at work here. This practice says that the bottom line is not service but company profits, which flow from the lean margin between the bid for the job and the cost of providing service. High bids don’t win contracts; low bids leave little room for investing in the people and services that make the libraries work”
---- Karen Schneider, 1998

Source and authors:
Todd Spires, Bradley University
J.B. Hill, Southeastern Louisiana University

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Librarian 2880

Ever wonder what the minimum number of hours of instruction or class time (only real quantifiable data) is required to make a Librarian? With the assistance of the admissions office of the University of British Columbia and the School of Archival and Information Studies it was estimated that two thousand, eight hundred and eighty hours -- plus or minus a few hours -- is a relatively accurate figure.

Why is this important? Next time you're asked what you do, tell them you're a Librarian 2880. This will undoubtedly lead to some questions about the figure in which case you can explain that it takes a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree to achieve the professional title of LIBRARIAN (total instructional time 2880 hours). We have to educate the public, our students, and even our administrators that the term 'librarian' only means one thing, a Librarian 2880!


Not everyone who works in an engineering firm is an engineer!
Not everyone who works in a hospital is a physician!


Everyone who works in a library is a librarian!

Time to change this perception!

From one of the many Librarian 2880s