Managing the Public Library
In honor of National Library Week, we have a few bonus posts to make sure you are also thinking about your professional collection. (When was that last weeded?)
This relic was published in 1984. I’m not sure what was updated or revised (or if it was updated or revised…) because the second edition still cites data from 1981-1982. (Really, really old data like per capita expenditures and revenues.)
There is barely a mention of computers, other than to say that computerization and automation could really help libraries improve the use of tax funds through “more effective use of personnel, and better control of resources” (p. xiii). Well, that’s certainly true – and has been for thirty-odd years.
The page on audiovisual services talks about how libraries often separate collections by format. You know, so that a patron who does not have access to a film projector won’t waste their time looking through film reels.
The marketing section focuses on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, flyers, and direct mail. Libraries may still use those venues in marketing today, but a more useful book on the topic would have to include e-newsletters, social media, mobile apps, and other techie techniques.
My library hired a new Director when our previous Director retired a while ago. As she read all the various manuals and documents left behind, she came upon a small collection of books in her new office. Since she has a great sense of humor and appreciates ALB, she bestowed some of the worst books she found upon us.
What we have here, my friends, is a very well-written, informative little tome on strategic planning for public libraries. At least, in the late 80s it was. When I saw the cover of this book I knew ALB had to have it. That hair! That outfit! The complete lack of anything technological in that office!
And then there’s what’s on the inside. The first picture (below) shows a woman pointing to a completely blank flip chart, smiling like she’s so proud of her fake presentation. (Maybe it just didn’t show up in the grainy black and white photos and there’s actually something on that white board?) Picture #2 shows a woman using a sweet old-school phone. The text on that page talks about how libraries have extensive vertical files. True, some libraries may still have vertical files, but many, many more have moved to web links or digitization. Picture #3 shows what looks like a computer, but is clearly old, old, old. Not a great representation of libraries today.
The text is dated in places, but surprisingly has a lot of pretty good advice too! But alas, I would have to weed it in favor of something completely current. Half-relevant doesn’t cut it upstairs in the Admin office.
Submitter: I showed this book to my co-worker and she said, “Where did you find that?” I hated to tell her it was in 027. Worse, it circ’d in 2011. Here are the totally incomprehensible instructions. To be clear, these are the complete instructions, not the table of contents. 8 pages of this stuff. Then there is the up-to-the-minute bibliography. Even keeping in mind this is a publication of the Church and Synagogue Library Association, it’s not the most professional thing I ever saw.
Holly: So, this is an 8-page booklet on how to set up a library. As in, start-to-finish, eight (8) pages. Granted, it only promises to tell you “How to Begin,” not how to run the thing. You’ll get a few pages of how to set it up and a list of books about how to be a librarian and run the place. My only real gripe is that it dumbs down the behemoth project that is setting up a library. Step one is “Analyze information requirements of the congregation,” but we all know how detailed a project a true needs analysis is. Each piece of Step 6 (shown below) is a library science course in and of itself! A master’s level course. Most of the books listed in the bibliography are too old to be useful (or even available). If all you needed to do (in 1979) was get an idea of what is involved in setting up a church/synagogue library, this was a bare-bones starting point.