Awhile back, I was sitting with a group of library directors discussing strategies for dealing with the difficult budget situations that we all find ourselves in this year. I was struck with how focused the rest of the folks in the room were on protecting the collections budget at all costs. It is emotional for them in a way that it isn’t for me.
I certainly don’t mean to suggest that I’m not worried about the impact of the cuts that we’re going to make this year — it’s going to be substantial and it is going to have a serious impact on the community that I serve. But I am much more focused on the variety of services that we provide and making sure that we meet our commitment to getting people to the information that they need while helping them make appropriate and efficient use of it. This’ll mean making greater use of ILL and being cleverer about taking advantage of the rapidly increasing amount of information that is freely available. I see no reason to shed tears over that.
But then, for me, the focus has always been on what librarians do, not what the library is.
In a way, the Ithaka report that is getting some attention in the blogosphere the last week or so makes the same point. The report points to a dramatic drop in the perception of faculty of the library’s role as portal or gatekeeper between 2003 and 2006…