Total staff:4 MLS librarians (1 PT MLS cataloger)13 FT support staff1 PT support staffMaterials budget:Books: $1.1 millionPeriodicals: $127,000Non-print: $360,000Software: $30,000E-books: $20,000Databases: $150,000
Complacent attitude:Our insulated financial bubble has burst! We never thought we’d experience staff shortages and threats of budget cutbacks. We had the attitude that we could do what we wanted because we thought our customers needed or wanted it.Forest for trees:Staff were focused on the minute details of daily tasks, done the same way as we’ve always done them, unable to see how they did or didn’t belong in the bigger picture of what we were supposed to be providing to our customers.Expert mentality:I read about “expert mentality” in a 2004 report by R2 Consulting (Cataloging: How to Take a Business Approach). The expert mentality allows control over job tasks and can raise costs if left unchecked. Many staff (myself included) had or still have a case of expert mentality. Until 2008, catalogers handled both cataloging and preliminary processing of materials; many tasks were undocumented, so only certain people were able to do them. Our staff did everything in-house; they felt that outsourcing was evil and not to be trusted.Customization crazy:Rampant customization (unique collections, different stickers, dots, & handwritten labels) by public services staff resulted in labeling inconsistencies system-wide and increased the need for detailed staff documentation. Without notifying TSD, public services staff often created unique new collections at their branches or added their own stickers to materials already processed by TSD. New books were chosen by public services staff, marked accordingly, and left as “new” for varying lengths of time depending on size of branch or available shelf space. The same book could be in different collections or marked as “new” in different branches throughout our system.
Gradual staff losses:Since 2006, our Technical Services Dept. has lost 4 staff members through attrition (we had 8.5 catalogers in 2005- we have 5 now). With the exception of 2 PT processors to replace 2 FT processors, vacated positions have gone unfilled (although the Administration still thinks we are overstaffed).Consultant’s report:In 2007, a consultant evaluated our staffing, our procedures and our workflows. His recommendations to outsource more of our work and streamline our processes forced us to face up to and eliminate our inefficiencies.Digitization initiative:In 2008, our director made a push for digitizing materials in our local history collection, in addition to our existing project of digitization the newspaper clipping archives, which we were outsourcing to a vendor.Property tax cuts/caps:Property tax cuts of 30% in 2008 and caps on increases in 2009 and 2010 will further limit our income. Recession & real estate bust are salt in this wound. We don’t yet know of the real impact of the tax cuts on our materials budget.Emerging digital formats:Due to the increasing availability of information on the Internet and the impact of the recession, many print magazine subscriptions ceased in 2009. Fewer and fewer physical copies to check in, label & distribute, and claim when missing. Downloadables, e-books, and e-journals are increasing in variety & acceptance with our users. Widespread adoption of mobile devices is also driving new digital formats & expectations of our users.
Reactive:The consultant’s report was eye-opening. Really takes an open mind to accept another perspective, then move forward with changes. His suggestions of what to change were shocking, but not impossible to implement. Many of his suggested changes made sense, such as leaving materials on book trucks to keep them moving through the dept., letting go of arcane procedures, such as meticulously checking each new book for defects, and outsourcing cataloging of mass-produced materials, so that we could focus staff time on cataloging digital resources.Discovering poor management of funding for outsourcing of digitization & high error rate for data creation lead us to discontinue this project and reallocate the money.Proactive:Having lost staff to attrition and preparing for potential staff cuts means we’re watching trends, such as decline of print magazine subscriptions, then realigning staffing accordingly. Previously, Acquisitions and Serials were split apart; combining them made more sense now than ever before.Developing a digitization sub-unit in our dept. lead to the reassignment of our serials clerk to a newly-created digitization technician’s position. Reallocated money from outsourced digitization project and invested it in digitization equipment (BookDrive Pro, WideTEK 25) and used own catalogers for data creation.We’re buying fewer copies of books and sharing them. We’re downplaying our service of buying materials based on customer requests (personal bookstore). We’re advertising ILL to our users as a way to acquire materials we do not own.
Relevancy:Remaining relevant or becoming even more relevant to our users is more critical than ever. People think libraries are filled with books, but our challenge is to provide them with timely databases, new formats, and unusual services.Spending wisely:We can’t buy every new book and DVD. We have to figure out what our customers want and need, then buy it or subscribe to it.Do more with less:We don’t have much of a choice but to find ways to provide more targeted collections that meet or even exceed our users’ expectations.
How did we do it? Communication!Up:In 2009, the collection development librarian & I reported directly to the director for the first time ever. Very scary politically!Down:We passed more information down to our employees than they’d previously been allowed to hear.Across:CD librarian & I co-managed the dept., so frequent emails & office visits were crucial as we increased the amount of information we passed back & forth to one another. We also increased our direct communication with the head of Computer Services, as well as managers of public areas, such as Reference Services and the Popular Materials Center.Up:Not a mistake to repeat this direction; in light of the consultant’s report and his recommended changes, we encouraged our staff to think of innovative ways to streamline & improve upon what they did, then communicate those suggestions to us for implementation.Out:We’re communicating outside of the library with other librarians, especially for things like outsourcing and new vendor products. We’re surveying our users to find out what information they want and use, such as the catalog records survey. Using the survey results to further streamline what we do to catalog records. We’re talking with librarians in our community to find out how we can work together to provide new collections for our users, such as a digital cooperative.
The benefit of all this communication was to increase our collaboration in all directions, including outside of the library, where we previously hadn’t been.Internal collaboration:Our director didn’t want to micro-manage us, so she encouraged us to collaborate w/each other and keep her posted on what we were doing. This was amazingly liberating and empowering!Created new staff teams which include staff members from outside of TS dept.:Digitization Team (head of Reference Services, Cataloging Manager, head of IT)Collection Team (head of Collection Dev., Cataloging Manager, branch managers, chief clerks)Shared Collections Team (head of Collection Dev., Cataloging Manager, branch managers, chief clerks)Databases Selection Team (co-chairs are head of Collection Dev. & head of Reference Services; team includes adult & juv. reference staff & readers advisory staff, as well as training staff)Continuous Improvement Team (co-chairs are head of Collection Dev. & Cataloging Manager; team includes circulation manager, popular materials manager, & branch staff). Working closely with IT Dept. and Marketing Dept. to implement new technologies and get the word out about them to staff and our customers. Encouraging more “bottom-up” staff participation, including sharing of knowledge on the SharePoint staff wiki. External collaboration:Working with vendors to implement products and technologies that help us do our job better, such as electronic invoicing.Building new digital collections by developing community partnerships with educational institutions, museums, businesses, and other libraries. I spoke directly with the superintendent of our public schools and arranged an agreement where they would give us copyright permission to digitize their high school yearbooks and post them on our website. Working with area libraries and museum to develop a digital cooperative with the first collection focusing on our city’s involvement with WWII. Also working with our local zoo to digitize their historical materials. (Digitizing EVSC yearbooks, postcard families, & zoo partnerships). Researching grants, such as LSTA digitization grants, and encourage donations. Talking with other libraries through ULC, discussion lists, conferences, or direct contact to find out how they do their work or use products we’re considering purchasing.
Outsourcing:We implemented or upgraded our outsourcing agreements. We now outsource 50% of adult books cataloging (B&T), nearly all of our AV processing (Midwest Tapes), and all of our authority control (Marcive). Business approach:Outsourcing for shelf-ready books forced us to streamline physical processing & most of our book cataloging. We’re reviewing book cataloging again with eye towards further streamlining, then applying our streamlining mentality to other formats.When considering adding new stickers or editing a catalog record, we’re asking ourselves (and public services staff) if it’s justified by the cost in materials or staff time (or vendor time) to do it.Centralized & standardized:We worked with public services staff and began centralized processing of all new materials. We took over centralized processing of collections previously determined and stickered by public services staff, such as children’s holiday books. New & improved collections:Based on feedback from public services staff, we started new collections (Central’s Business collection, YA nonfiction at Central Library, Bestseller Express book and DVD collections, Good Neighbor Collections).We began sharing collections so that fewer copies could go where they were needed by our customers, rather than having our collection development staff decide the locations of new materials. Has worked well with large type and YA fiction books; adult and juvenile fiction books are being shared at the branches now too. Statistical data:We began reviewing circulation and usage statistics to determine which print reference resources could be replaced with databases. We’re gathering and analyzing database usage statistics and using them to determine which databases to renew or cancel. In a collection & shelf space analysis project, we’re using relative user statistics, turnover rates, & age of the collection, to re-focus our collections w/their usage. Reducing nonfiction collections increases space available for popular materials & AV materials.We’re researching data analysis software such as Innovative Interfaces’ Encore Reporter and Counting Opinions’ LibPAS and LibSat programs to help us collect data and analyze our collections, usage patterns, program attendance, and customer data. New products:We implemented GiftWorks software to track donations, accept online donations, and thank donors. We subscribed to NoveList Select following the responses to our catalog records survey asking customers if they wanted recommendations of similar titles and authors in the catalog.We subscribed to NextReads so we could better market new materials to our users.
Total staff:4 MLS librarians9 FT support staff3 PT support staff1 internMaterials budget:Books: $930,000Periodicals: $130,000Non-print (incl. downloadables, e-books & e-journals): $780,000 (will have a 3% increase next yr.)Databases: $247,180 (will have a 10% decrease next yr.)
Realign:Like so many other libraries, we’re learning to do more with less money, which means really rethinking what it is we do and for whom we do it. Tighter budgets means realigning staff, collections, and even our expectations. Having an expert mentality and saying “We’ve always done it that way” doesn’t fly anymore, if it ever flew at all. We must let go of unnecessary tasks and outdated thinking about our collections and our mission to our customers. We must remain flexible to new ideas, new ways of doing things, & new workflows within our dept., as we are shaped by external forces.Less money means more creativity to stretch those dollars further, communicate with our users and our communities, and collaborate with each other in order move forward.
Communicating to Collaborate, Moving Forward Despite Looming Budget Cuts
Communicating to Collaborate<br />Moving Forward Despite <br />Looming Budget Cuts<br />Andrea Kappler<br />Cataloging Manager, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library<br />ALA Annual - June 26, 2010<br />
Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library<br />Southwestern Indiana, along the Ohio River<br />Evansville, IN, population: ca. 170,000<br />Medium-sized public library<br />Central Library, 7 branches, 1 bookmobile<br />Collection: 948,359 items; 655,651 are books (69%)<br />Staff: 208 employees; 128 FT, 80 PT<br />Computers: 235 public, 182 staff<br />The Back Story…<br />
Technical Services: Departmental Snapshot 2005<br />Acquisitions: 1 collection development librarian, 3 FT support staff<br />Cataloging: 1 director, 1 manager, 1 PT professional cataloger, 6 FT paraprofessional catalogers<br />Serials: 1FT clerk<br />Digitization: 1.5 digitization specialists<br />Processing: 2 FT processors<br />Materials budget:$1.8 million<br />
Complacent attitude<br />Can’t see the forest for the trees<br />Expert mentality<br />Customization crazy<br />The Way We Were…<br />
Gradual staff losses<br />Consultant’s report<br />Digitization initiative<br />Property tax cuts & caps<br />Emerging digital formats<br />Catalysts for Change<br />
A little bit of both!<br />Reactive<br />Proactive<br />Reactive or Proactive?<br />
Relevant to our users<br />Spend our money wisely<br />Do more with less!<br />Our Challenges<br />
Up<br />Down<br />Across<br />Up<br />Out<br />Communication is Crucial<br />