Libraries are for Use

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

The Cost of “Doing More With Less” | Library Babel Fish


We have less funding for the things that really matter while paying much more to compensate for austerity policies.

Source: The Cost of “Doing More With Less” | Library Babel Fish | Inside Higher Ed

Key statements that stood out to me include:

When we’re told to do more with less, we end up building a costly apparatus for generating income while cutting things that actually support the organization’s mission. That distorts everything.

and…(emphasis added)

The public becomes distrustful of higher education because it costs too much – because we aren’t sharing those costs collectively – and it’s warping the academy.

and more closely to the focus of this blog…(again, emphasis added)

…we are trapped in a strange world where everyone needs to publish more to prove their worth.  That requires more access to more research, even for small institutions, so we’ve outsourced much of our collection building, first to aggregators of electronic journals who can provide us the most for the money; now to individual publishers as we stretch our budgets by buying access to one article at a time for one user at a time. There’s nothing collective about it. Temporary access for individuals comes at the expense of access for many and access in the future.

Not wanting to excise any more of the short post, I will summarize the final argument as an appeal for libraries to participate in new models of scholarly communication that more effectively share the costs.

I wholeheartedly agree with the Ms. Fister’s argument about collective good and shared costs.  These attempts at austerity and reduced taxation do benefit only those with the most money and, therefore, the most power.  And the policies could indeed worsen our society in the long run by increasing the disparity of classes of people.

Being at the center of a shift in collection development from “just-in-case” to “just-in-time”, I’ve had my own concerns.  At this time, I am ambivalent about the potential consequences of either philosophy.  The result of the traditional method of speculative purchasing of permanent ownership of material has been collections that remain largely unused, especially so for the largest collections.  (I would be interested in comparing the efficiency (as measured by the rate of uses) of smaller versus larger collections.) It is no wonder that we consider the alternative of “renting” access.  By shifting our focus from serving collections to serving our patrons, we have adjusted our expectations of what our collections should be and do.

I also understand how this shift has adjusted the balance of power in the publisher and library relationship.  No longer is the relationship simply seller and purchaser…what is sold is merely access, not ownership.  Thus, the seller continues to retain control over the content, with the purchaser (libraries) being beholden to the demands of the seller.  Of course, there is still one card that libraries have in their hand…we can cancel.  But, because we rent the access, the library is left with no access at all – to the past as well as in the future.  This is the “ace in the hole” that providers hold over libraries.

The difficulty is striking that balance of developing collections that meet the immediate and short-term needs of the patrons and the long-term needs of the broader community (local and global).  We as librarians and other professionals closely associated with scholarly communications are still feeling our way to this balance.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on November 26, 2015 by in Academic Libraries, Collections, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Communication.
The Scholarly Kitchen

What’s Hot and Cooking In Scholarly Publishing

Libraries are for Use

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Scholarly Communication | Scoop.it

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Library & Information Science Research | Scoop.it

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Library Collections | Scoop.it

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Lib(rary) Performance

About library statistics & measurement - by Ray Lyons

Walt at Random

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

The Scholarly Kitchen

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

The Quarterly Journal of Economics Current Issue

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Texas Library Association blogs

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Stephen's Lighthouse

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

ResourceShelf

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Reference Notes

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Politifact.com Truth-O-Meter rulings from National

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Open and Shut?

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

N S R

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Musings about librarianship

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

LISNews:

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

%d bloggers like this: