The Nature of the Beast

I have been doing some grumping in this space about technology lately and it occurred to me this morning that I may have given my library or other large academic libraries a bad rap. I still think, and my coworkers know how I feel, that we could be moving a bit faster. I never claimed patience as one of my virtues.

Things move slowly in large institutions because there is bureaucracy and red tape; that is the nature of the beast, but there are many advantages to working at a large library. Here are a few for your perusal:

  • Resources – In a time when many are tightening their belts, our budget has remained mostly the same. We are in a hiring freeze, but I do not think this has seriously effected the work flow, yet. My budget for African American Studies remains the same as last year and for that I am grateful.
  • Staff – We have a lot of staff, librarians and paraprofessionals both. This means that I do my job and just my job. I am not in a library with only 5 librarians and doing the job of 20. I can take my time, look around, read interesting things, and explore new directions without sacrificing time from other duties. This is one of the things I love about my job.
  • Space – We had the means to build a shiny new building with great spaces for our students. The campus knows where we are and generally like coming here. We have collaborative classrooms with integrated technology. Our only problem now is coming to grips with the ways students use the building for different purposes than which it was invisioned, being ok with that, and creating policies that reflect our acceptance.

So it is not all bad. Yes it takes more time to implement things here because more people get a say so in the workings of the library. This is both a good and bad thing. Each beast has its own challenges and rewards. We just have to be accepting of both.

–Jane, loves the smell of reference in the morning