Traditional reference service is dead--- or dying. This blog will focus on new approaches toward providing library assistance to patrons... or whatever else I feel like rambling on about.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Show me the.....

I really hate pretentious library schools that feel the need to gloat about how great their rankings are on public listservs… but I do like money and that’s the topic today.

I was fortunate to participate in a Georgia Tech fellowship in which we were given $1000 to use toward teaching—actually there are no restrictions on the funds, other than they cannot supplement our own salary.

I’ll post later about my project; it is still too premature to talk about. I love this concept of flexible money. I really wish our admin would empower us each with $500 a year to use without question. Books, software, subscriptions, whatever. I think that as outreach becomes a key, if not the key duty, of a subject specialist librarian, that we need money to wine and dine our clients
. For example, there are several distance learning staff members that I would like to take to lunch and talk casually about how to improve services and PR for the library. Trying to do this through formal meetings and office visits is just not working—but if I could take them to a local restaurant and start by talk about anything but Georgia Tech, I think that would open some new doors. Same thing with the faculty members I interact with (or wish I was interacting with). We have a serials review coming up and we’re gathering feedback from professors about journal priority-- it would be great to be able to invite of few of them over for coffee and/or something from our café and sit around with laptops and work through all the data.

What I’m getting at is that academic libraries need to borrow a page from the sales world and support their frontline people financially. I mean, technically, I can fill out a form to request software or supplies and could probably swing a “business” lunch every now and then, but having flexible funds each semester would be so much easier, especially for the spontaneous opportunities that arise. Like the other day I worked with a PhD student on a Lit Review for nearly two hours and would like to have bought him lunch. I learned a lot from him about departmental politics as well as the curriculum and some new instructional opportunities. I just think it would be a nice gesture by the library and positive PR, which we can always use more of.

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