On the other hand:
While I'm certain hard realities often enter into the selection process
(and probably rightfully so), I guess my concern is the degree to which
such factors seem to drive public library collection development and
collection policy. The argument that you can buy 10 bland, mass-market
wonders, or 10 pop-schlock movie titles for the price of one expensive but
astoundly great independently-produced work is pure sophistry, in my book.
Similarly, making collection decisions based largely on the fear of what
mischief your patrons might do, or based on a fear of pissing off
miscreants with a high replacement bill seems more than a little cynical to
I guess it all boils down to the question of what the mission of the
library is and why we bother building collections at all. Are we pandering
to what we perceive as the public's insatiable appetite for quick,
pop-culture fixes; are we trying to build diverse collections for a diverse
clientele, to support the production of diverse content...are we trying to
balance all of this.
If low cost, mass market entertainment is where we've finally come to
rest--because of budget, or crisis of faith, or whatever--I think we might
as well hand over the keys to Blockbuster and Barnes & Noble.
At 12:26 PM 12/09/1999 -0800, you wrote:
>Brace yourself for a home truth Gary, any public librarian who doesn't
>include consideration of the "rip-off factor" when purchasing high dollar
>material (of any format) either has a huge and unending budget (Ha!) or
>hasn't been buying material very long, In most cases it is not a major
>factor, but it is a factor. I worked in a branch library that opened the
>building with 187 copies of the newest GED test guide; at the end of that
>year there was one left that we could find, the others were MIA. This
>sort of thing does go into calulating how much you can spend on what and
>how often you can afford to replace it. Very few public libraries in
>this state have any legal recourse to theft problems. The best most
>muncipalities will allow is misdemeanor offenses and the state
>legislature refuses to enact any legislation that will help enforcement,
>even for major collection thefts. Reality 101: to buy wonderful stuff to
>enlighten and amaze, you have to have funds aren't 90% dedicated to
>replacing what goes missing. It's a nasty crunch sometimes.
>Northeast Texas Library System
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Media Resources Center
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"Everything wants to become television" (James Ulmer -- Teletheory)