Thursday, April 21, 2005

Library stuff? Here?

A couple articles in the 4/15/2005 Library Journal caught my eye. Gabriel Morley's "Five Things Right, Five Wrong" details how Morley's first 6+ months of librarianship have proceeded. Morley is the director (fresh out of L school!) of a medium-sized system in Louisiana, and this short piece is engagingly written. Morley clearly has a grasp on where he wants to take his library, and his approach to the challenges he's faced so far demonstrate his ability to tackle the real world issues facing all of us. I applaud his hands-on approach to the simple problems of clogged drainpipes, and his helping out at the circ desk exemplifies my long-held and -practiced belief that managers need to be on the front lines, even if only occasionally, to maintain a toehold in reality.
The second article, Marianne Rogers' "Operation Rover", shows the dangers and pitfalls in implementing the idea of moving reference librarians out from behind the desk. One of the libraries in my area has a librarian who likes to "rove", and Rogers' supposition about what happens back at the desk when one librarian leaves is proven 100% accurate there. Her description of a rover who interrupts a patron's search for materials on domestic abuse is, frankly, quite frightening (or should be, to anyone who ascribes to the ethics of this profession). If these kinds of issues can be addressed/avoided, roving librarianship could be one method of lessening the intimidation many feel in coming to the reference desk. Given the state of most libraries' budgets, however, at least the first concern won't be going away anytime soon . . .


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