Thursday, February 8, 2007

Want to buy a cupcake? Want me to wash your car?

I'm thinking of the possibilities of library bake sales and car washes, a post-Midwinter state brought on by seeing all of these cool databases that I want. I've met one librarian in my lifetime who was satisfied with her collections budget. I find that I'm intensely jealous of her all the time.

After the Midwinter Conference, we get to look at some fabulous databases on a trial basis, and some of them would be very good for the teaching and research faculty we support. It's like window shopping for academic librarians, and it's fun.

It's also bittersweet, because with the exception of that nameless librarian who exists far, far away, very few librarians are satisfied with their collections budget. We want to give you more. More full text, more years of coverage, more images, audio files, and more coverage for more subjects. When your life's work is helping people access information, it seems as though you can never do enough to increase that access. And, very often, Libraries are not funded as they should be, and the people who work in them (and the faculty they support) are faced with decisions like these:

Database X is great and has lots of full-text coverage in this area where we do a lot of research, but to afford it, we'd need to give up database Y, which covers different publications and is highly useful for another area of research. Do we get X and let go of Y, or hang on to Y and hope that someday we can afford to get X.

So, perhaps double-chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate icing? I thought so.

No comments: