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Christina's LIS Rant
Sunday, April 09, 2006
  libraries: This week consists of very sad days.
(via this week in library blogland) So very, very sad and short sighted. Another case where management has forgotten how bench scientists work. I'll quote the librarian's whole post here:
This week consists of very sad days. I am overseeing the dismantling of our library. All of the [company's] research libraries worldwide are closing, mainly because upper management believes that "everything is available online" and the space could be put to better use. But the scientists who are actually doing the work disagree, especially the chemists.

This week, representatives from the departments can come in and take any books for departmental collections. Yesterday was day 1 and the big rush since people wanted to have first crack at the resources before some other group scooped them up. Since we are not keeping any kind of record of what is being taken, I have no hard numbers but I guessimate that over 2000 books were taken yesterday by these people. So instead of a central library where materials are being tracked, there will be collections in various departments and buildings but no way to know what is where.

Instead of a central library, scientists are expected to buy whatever books they need to consult if it is not available online. And, surprise, many of the scientific books still are not. The several people within walking distance may have purchased a copy of the book that they could consult but they will have no way to know that. When the money spent on personal books and subscriptions balloon within the department budgets, management will still point to the line item for libraries that will now be zero and say that they saved money.

Last week I worked with a group of scientists who are setting up a “Reading Room” containing 1500+ of the library’s reference books. There is a budget within one department being established to update this collection and they are looking for someone with “an interest in libraries” to help maintain the collection. I had to laugh when I was told this since this is the way that many corporate libraries got started.
If anyone's wondering, the name of her company is given in a previous post. That's when she mentioned that she couldn't get full retirement despite giving them 30 years and that she was put on the "closing the library" team. She's taking it much better than I would -- a good chemistry librarian is worth her weight in gold.

As an aside, I am very annoyed and disappointed by the skit on PHC about librarians -- as if it's absurd that someone would walk into a library and threaten to shut it down. It happens all the time. You'd think PHC would be more sensitive about a large group of fans.
update: finally fixed the title, it was annoying me
 
Comments:
I read that when it was posted on LJ, and it makes me very grateful to be part of an organization that not only realizes the value that librarians bring to the company, but have been giving us more projects than we can handle. I have quibbles with MPOW, but a lack of realization of the added value librarians bring is not one of them.
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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