Thursday, August 30, 2007

A wonderful article from Outsell Insights on their report on the value of libraries (includes figures):

Where I originally saw the report mentioned:

Read these and send the links to your administrators! Quoting the Outsell Insights article:

"In light of Outsell's newest ROI data, it seems penny-wise and pound-foolish for enterprises to eliminate library budgets in a time of increased information challenges." Amen to that.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

There is a county in Oregon that closed all of its libraries at the start of summer due to lack of funding. Jackson County has since been looking for ways to reopen the libraries (I never did see where the funding would be coming from, but evidently they have found a source or two). They put the operation of the libraries up for bid, and want to go to the lowest bidder. Two organizations bid - one was the local government employee union, the other was LSSI, whose motto is "Partnering with communities to build better libraries" An update of where this story stands can be read here: .
My question: if it is so much cheaper to outsource the library and the service remains the same or better, why doesn't everyone do it to all county/city services? Why would a county/city even consider keeping on the cost of a fire department, police department, streets department, etc., if they could outsource it for cheaper and get the same or better service? (And pardon my ignorance if this is actually what all counties ARE considering! I might be just catching up to the world on this topic.) From the newspaper story, it appears that the library bids that were submitted met the objectives specified by the county as far as services go. The librarian that was leading the effort to reopen the libraries has left or is leaving for a new job, so no librarian has reviewed the bids (as far as I know). Will libraries of all kinds more likely to be outsourced in the future, much like the military base libraries did in the 80's and 90's (and are still doing)? What exactly makes up the difference in cost between a library that is run by an organization like LSSI, and one that is run by a local government or even an academic unit? Does one cover more human resource-type costs and the other not? For example, does one cover retirement and health insurance, and the other not? Did the Jackson County library system really have so much sloppiness in their budget that LSSI is able to come in and offer the same level of service for 30 percent cheaper cost, with only a 3 percent inflation rate over the next few years? If so, where does that put all the other county and city library budgets? From what I have seen in the Midwest, there usually isn't too much to cut in any library budget, particularly when facing staggering increases in electronic information resources and human resource-related costs.
If LSSI is offering a cost-effective management service for libraries, and hires professional librarians to run things, I say more power to them. Let them get in there and show folks how it should be done! From their Open Jobs list, it looks like they are doing well and looking to hire. If LSSI's mission is to truly offer same or better service, a library director could experience better communication for new library programs with their higher-ups, since LSSI would more likely understand library operation needs and innovations than a city council or county board. I haven't seen a Special Interest Group in library associations for 'contracted-out libraries', but if you are a director or librarian in a contract library, I would really like to hear from you about your experiences! Just email teresa.hartman (at) and let me know how things run in your world, and if you think this is the way everyone in the library world is going to be going.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Survey Says Librarians Like Their Jobs But Are Displeased With Vendors:

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Library news I have read this morning:

Libraries Live On:

The future of libraries:

Bids on table for library operations:

Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies has come up with a list of the top 100 Tools for Learning . I learned of this list through an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education: A list without libraries
Check out the list of tools, and see how many you already use - and how many you want to try out!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Story from the BBC that was highlighted on August 4th: Bibliomulas, or mule libraries, and how they serve to encourage reading in Venezuela - .
Direct link to the BBC story: Venezuela's four-legged mobile libraries

Additional story on the O'Reilly Radar: Books to Villages, Libraries on Mules

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sites that I found while taking today's Nebraska Library Commission class: The Wonderful World of Wikis, by Michael Sauers, Technology Innovation Librarian at the NLC:

-Social Computing Magazine
interesting article for my fellow librarians who have secret dreams of getting their library worldwide notice: How to use social bookmarking to take over the world (includes link to Part One of this article in first paragraph)

-Quickeo - private file sharing-video, photo, mp3, etc. (PDF articles, anyone?)

-New MindTouch service-oriented wiki

-Open Library launches with library as wiki service

-The wiki workplace: how web 2.0 changes everything (webcast from CIO magazine)

-15 productive uses for a wiki

-conference currently taking place in Taipei: Wikimania 2007
Have you heard of ChaCha, Inc.? It is a human-assisted search engine. Seems reasonable to assume that it should involve librarians, right? Here is a news item from Indiana: ChaCha to link to IU [Indiana University] librarians, tech specialists:
Tricks and tips I learned at the Nebraska Library Commission class I took today: RSS - A new way of communicating.

-learned about one Omaha librarian's blog: Information Warfare

-the Nebraska Library Commission (our state library organization) blog

-and their list of feeds is an example of how feeds can be promoted on a library website

-two feed readers to consider: Bloglines, and Google Reader

-use Feed Digest to put feed content on a blog or to create an RSS feed for your many patrons' subject interests.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Amazon just sent me a notice that they have a new site, named "Askville", where I can "ask a question, get real answers from real people" . Hmmm. When I checked some of the answers and what was sourced for each answer, I will continue to go to my own favorite place where I can ask a question and get a real answer from a real person - the library.