This is a note to wish everyone a pleasant and restful Christmas time
and holiday, as well as a
professional reflection as we head into the New Year.
I'd like to suggest checking out the following document: 'Report on
the Value of the British Library', at:
http://www.bl.uk/cgi-bin/press.cgi?story=1399 . Some of you may
already be familiar with it.
Given the recent issue that unfolded at Halifax City Hall concerning
questions over the Halifax Regional Library management model, and now
with the larger unfolding issues such as a Federal Government freeze
on civil service hiring (that will no doubt trickle down), it will
soon be time to do more research and publicly communicate the 'value'
re. the 'knowledge dividend' of our public, academic and special
libraries, especially as it pertains to social and economic
well-being of our communities and provinces. This will have to go
much further than the feel good themes of the importance of reading
and literacy, access, etc.
At some level, the knowledge value of libraries should appear
obvious, but there are some in the public sphere of leadership who
I'm afraid still don't have a clue:(
Has your own library conducted any recent analysis of this 'knowledge
dividend' for the community it serves, be it specialized or for the
general public? If so, how current is it? If not, why not?
Maybe it's time to bring in the good folks at GPI
(http://www.gpiatlantic.org/) to look at this concern specifically in
Nova Scotia, and maybe throughout Atlantic Canada to help design a
useful analysis tool(?). GPI through could also bring a fresh
analysis that would consider quality of life and sustainability
issues. What would it take to mount such an analysis, in dollars and
cents, and would there be a commitment in the library community to
partner to get it done?
What does the public funds spent on libraries generate economically?
This might sound detestable - reducing libraries and books/online
resources to economics, but many of you already do it everyday in
yearly budget and personnel planning.
In 2004 many of you will have to meet the bean-counters head-on (as
well as the clueless!) and this will need to be done not only at in
our workplaces, but in the sphere of civic discourse, presented at
chamber's of commerce meetings, town halls, in board rooms and at
government policy planning meetings. For example, in Nova Scotia,
there will be another provincial election no doubt in 2004, there
will also be municipal elections in the fall. How many candidates
will know the value of libraries in their communities and regions?
Will the public also know this value?
Have a merry one:)
Leo J. Deveau, M.Ed, MLIS.
Research and Communications,
The Nova Scotia Round Table
for Post-Secondary Disability Service Providers,
Suite 18, West End Mall
6960 Mumford Road,
Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Halifax office: 902-444-4881, ext. 112
Home office: 902-542-3908
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"...breakthroughs are often the result of action
at the margins of reasonableness."
- Paul Lemberg, Executive Coach.