Ramblings, citations and "brainwaves" of a college librarian in Toronto. 475 square feet refers to the size of my home, not the size of my office or library.

Library Staff Productivity

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Stephen Abram has been talking about, what from my experience is the dirtiest word in all of library land: "productivity". Simply stated, it is the ratio of inputs (time, money, etc) to outputs (services). Ideas like re-engineering existing services to use the least resources possible are jsut plain taboo. Just try to download traditional "librarian responsibilities" to library technicians...or...outsource cataloguing activities...or...close the reference desk to deliver service from reference staff offices. Library management is great at adding experimental projects and initaitives to existing workloads. What ends up happening is that staff look for efficiencies in doing tasks for these projects, which from my experience undermines their success. What should be happening is re-designing how existing services are delivered (frontline and backoffice) especially taking advantage of productivity gains IT makes possible, so that resources (time, money, etc.) are available to innovate whether it is beginning something from scratch or trying to adapt or implement something already tried and tested by others. I tend to disagree with many of the things Stephen says, but he's right on here:

"Among other sectors, the military, commercial enterprises, and governments worked intensely over the past decade moving to more efficient and effective ways of work in order to achieve the transformation of their organizations. They adapted to a Web-centric world with little additional net cash or staff. These sectors lead in e-commerce, e-government, and other transformations...Listening to the leaders out in library land, it feels to me that I am hearing that we’re not being aggressive enough in improving our productivity and ensuring better value for our funders’ and taxpayer dollars."

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