What year is this?
Posted by lpearle on 4 November 2013
Growing up I lived with a college professor (aka “Dad”) who was on a similar schedule to mine, so concepts of “this year” and “next year” were all about the academic year. Summer? That belonged to a nether-year, an interruption of time as we knew it. Then, at the tender age of 21, I entered the work world and joined millions of others who got only two weeks vacation and whose years followed the calendar. It was always a surprise to my mother that I had to work the day after Thanksgiving but being young, unmarried and without children that day off was never gonna happen. Then I went to graduate school and rejoined the academic calendar. For me it’s completely clear what year it is (AY14) but for others in my life it’s not quite so clear. When we talk about last year, it’s not 2012 it’s 2012-2013, and next year won’t start in January 2014 but in September.
Last night we turned back the clocks, something my father hates (he prefers it to be light later in the day). Me? I’m heading in to work early so sunup before I leave home is appreciated. Then there’s the shopping season, which brought us Hallowe’en in September and has been promoting Christmas almost as long. So for many people, the end of 2013 is nigh and they’re looking forward to the opportunities that 2014 will bring.
It’s also a time of year when catalogs arrive by the barrelful and I’m seeing an increase in vendor solicitations for purchases (there’s that annual quota to think of and a possible bonus to earn). Yes, I’ll be at AASL and ALA Midwinter talking to vendors, but my budget for this year is set. What I’m doing – what my friends are doing – is planning for 2015 and thinking about what we’ll need to purchase then. Now, remember that 2015 will start in late August (I can begin ordering books and supplies in July). So while I really appreciate the vendor cycle, it’s unlikely that there will be any major new purchases in this year. When I go to ALA Annual and there’s a great trial offer, or discount available right now on something that might be perfect for a class project, usually I can’t take advantage of it because no one’s around to consult with or to preview and trial the resource.
School and academic libraries aren’t on the same calendar as public and special libraries. It’d be nice if vendors acknowledge that and recognize that what I preview this year probably won’t get purchased until next… and that by “next” I may mean only a couple of months away.