Saturday, June 27, 2009

250 Words: Collecting

On January 1, 2004 there were 66 FTE Librarian positions (not LIII or Supervisors) in SPL. There were 27 libraries operating a total of 950 hours per week.

On July 1, 2009 there will be 51 FTE Librarian positions (not Library Supervisors) in SPL. There are 27 libraries operating a total of 1003 hours per week.

I am deliberately NOT including the Sacramento Room or TELIS.

There are 15 less Librarians working 53 hours more in the same number of locations.

Before 2004, the vast majority of Librarians in the system helped select titles for the non-fiction collection, specifically for the Branch in which they worked. This began to change as the collection development responsibilities were consolidated as a centralized team of Librarians began selecting non-fiction titles for all Libraries, including those remotely located from their duty station.

In July 2009 there are exactly two Librarians choosing non-fiction for the entire system.

Each Branch does have a limited amount of discretionary money with which they may purchase titles already cataloged and in the system. In other words, the Branch cannot use their money to buy titles unless several copies are bought at the same time. Never again will a Branch buy the only copy of a book.

A provocative question: Why is the expertise and profound knowledge of the individual Librarian ignored in developing the collection?

A possible answer: The job of the Librarian is changing to emphasize programming, teaching classes and outreach.

Have I missed something?

Gerald F. Ward

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