Monday, September 10, 2007

i've got the central ordering blues

when i came into library-in-the-hood this morning i found out that our "soft opening" date (he he he, soft opening) has been pushed back to next week. which is good because we are totally unprepared to re-open. so i have been going through the books, trying to put them away and all that and i notice and recurring problem.
here is my two-cents against branch systems:
when you have a large library system with many many branches you come into this problematic thing that higher-ups love called "central ordering." pretty much, people in an office far far away from reality (oops, i mean far far away from the public) wind up ordering lots of books for all the branches and then dispersing them as they see fit. typically, logic has no bearing on this dispersement. so instead of a librarian looking at her (or his) own collection of books and deciding what needs to stay and what needs to go, you have some person in "central" doing it all with no thought about what the library already has or what the library needs.
so i am going through all these books that have been centrally purchased while we were closed and there were several instances in which instead of just getting one or two copies of a book we would get 5 ... 6 .... maybe even 8 or 9 copies. now, in a very large busy branch that might be a good thing. but in a small library where most people do not read (or have too many unpaid fines to take anything out) it makes no sense to have so many copies of one book. and these aren't great super popular books or anything.
then i found that we got 5 copies of a picture book we already owned 2 copies of. i checked and the 2 copies we already owned had only gone out 3 times each. so we really aren't in need of 5 backup copies since no one is busting down the door for the original 2 copies. its like a math question on an IQ test. if the library has x number of books and they only went out y number of times ....
all the money that is being wasted on multiple copies of books we already have could be spent on new titles ... or better yet, it could be spent on getting me a new desk.
grrrrr. (waves fist in air at the injustice of a desk-free society)


Maureen said...

Can I copy this post to give to Mr. Suozzi, who wants to consolidate all the Nassau County libraries to INCREASE EFFICIENCY!!!

*Bitch Cakes* said...

I love this post. Again, this is an asinine process and there needs to be an efficiency expert to come in and change the way things get done! I suggest you offer your services. And demand a hefty sum too. They'll be saving $$ in the long run, so they can afford to pay you.