Wednesday, May 30, 2007

budget time ... time is money

so today i went to a little hell's library reunion where i met with my supervisor and some of the other librarians and we discussed the budget. turns out that last year they cut our budget by about $15,000. this year we have no idea what our budget will be, but we still met to talk about it.
but sadder than our budget is the sadness that i feel when i think about centralized ordering. you see, when you tell someone that you went to library school they immediately say, "library school? you can get a masters in that?" then they typically ask what one could possibly learn in library school. smart asses like myself would say that we learn how to shush people. others might say that you learn nothing. and some other others might say that you learn the basic foundations and principles behind organization and building a collection. all of the above are true. except the shushing. they don't really teach that. what the hell am i going on about?
oh yes! centralized ordering. so in library school they teach you the basic principles and ideas behind how to build a well-rounded collection in your library. and typically you get to read all sorts of professional journals and book reviews and then use things like discernment and judgement to decide which of these books belong in your library. it's fun. and it makes you feel smart.
but in large library systems like the one to which hell's library belongs, sometimes the higher-ups decide that it would be better if one person in a small cubicle in an office space far far away from the public made such judgements. they feel this saves time and money. one could argue by purchasing multiple copies of books that the librarian knows her patrons aren't interested in is a waste of money. but who would listen to little old me. no one besides you guys.
so instead of having us librarians do what we do so well, some random person in the above-mentioned cubicle gets to order all the books. so the librarian doesn't get to use her invaluable book-ordering skills, thus making her feel a bit useless. and the collection suffers as well because it is being remotely ordered by someone who barely sets foot in that specific library, never spoken to the patrons, etc.
so i ask you ...
if i can't order books
and i have no money for programs
and i spend my time babysitting crazies and homeless people
what am i?


Maureen said...

Too, too dismal! I actually wrote a long comment about how I'm sure you use your talents and education, but I decided to change it and say-sometimes things just suck-but, as my dear old mother used to say, "it's a long road that has no turning".

Anonymous said...

A babysitter for the homeless, drunk and young boys who find a need to urinate on the carpet.

Jen B. said...

you should become a kids' book reviewer! i picked up a review today that was written by a children's librarian. my first one in my stint at the BR. have you done any reviews? because we should talk. i know people who know people.