At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

In the past week I've spent about $8,000 on videos requested by faculty. As I've said before, these instructors have their own interests, not those of library patrons, in mind when making these requests; they use videos as a way of taking a break during class and entertaining the students. One of them, after dropping off $2,500 worth of video requests, actually had the chutzpah to ask, "Do you have to catalog these when they arrive, or can I just take them and keep them in my office?" Does this sort of thing happen at respectable universities?

If I ever saw an ad for a public library collection development job, I would be tempted to apply, especially if it was in a good location. It would be interesting to deal with a wide variety of content and format (I would have a lot of fun selecting movies, for instance, or science fiction novels). There wouldn't be any faculty who are given carte blanche to blow thousands of dollars on a whim. And it would be nice to see people use the materials one spent so much effort in selecting. (From our consortium-wide circulation system I can tell that even serious, scholarly materials get a lot more check-outs at many public libraries than they do here. Our copy of McCulloch's book on the Reformation, for instance, has been checked out twice, but the one at Amarillo P.L. has been checked out twenty one times.) Pablo and I dropped by a branch of the Fort Worth P.L. and I was gratified to see the bustle (although the presence of a rent-a-cop was sobering).


Blogger Felix said...

Shall I tell you a story or two?

While working at a northern university that shall remain nameless in public comments, I recommended that the library put in a request for the Lannan Foundation's free series of literature videotapes. One of the English faculty asked exactly the same question your faculty member asked. When the library kept the videotapes on their shelves for general campus use, he proceeded to put in his own request and get a duplicate set of videotapes for the English department, neatly short-circuiting much of the potential use of the library copies.

Meanwhile, the Music Department, which had "adopted" much of the library's older music materials, banned everyone but music dept. staff and registered music majors from making use of its top-secret "private collection." I was chewed out once for the crime of mentioning its existence to one of the Great Unwashed non-music-majors.

Fun, huh?

9:41 AM  

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