Collection Development, Ethics, Rants, School Libraries

No time

One of the blogs I follow, Being More with Less, had a post recently called 9 Things I Refuse to Make Time For Anymore. Now, most of these are self-care things, like not rewriting the past or guilt and resentment.  I wholeheartedly endorse those, but that’s not what I want to talk about just now.  What I do want to talk about are those professional things I refuse to make time for – some long term, some more recent.

About a year ago, there was a discussion on the AISL elist about where we placed book stamps/labels.  Waaaay back when, before barcodes, it made sense to place stamps in multiple places.  Maybe.  Some people still do, with a stamp on the top of the book and one on the title page and one on some supersecret place inside.  When I started at Milton, they also stamped the acquisition date on the back inside cover and put in a bookplate.  We no longer do that: a stamp with the library’s name, school and town on the title page, a barcode and a spine label are fine.  I refuse to make time for something that’ is taken care of by our catalog (acquisition date) and the barcode label (indicating which library owns the book).

It’s research season again, and we have many students needing help and guidance finding appropriate resources.  As I’ve blogged before, I refuse to make time for angst about students not using the best resources.

As a corollary to all that, many colleagues believe that they can best guide their students through the process and to the best resources, despite not knowing what we have that’s new or improved.   Some are still asking students to do things on paper notecards or not requiring a citation manager, despite our telling students that this is something they’ll need to use in college.  And most believe they understand how to cite, but aren’t able to figure out the information necessary from a website or database (or fully believe that an ebook is the same as a print book in content).  I refuse to make time for anger about teachers not wanting to collaborate on this, thus hurting their students research capabilities in the future..

Long before my MLS, I started in the business office of a theatre company.  We used CalcStar to do the books, actually running manual books alongside because the technology was so new we didn’t trust it.  At my next job, we migrated from manual to electronic books.  Once I became a librarian, it was difficult getting reports from the business office, so I started running QuickBooks to manage the budget and library finances.  At MPOW I have access to their financial system whenever I want (I can look, but I can’t “touch”).  It’s been a great lesson in  library management: I refuse to make time for duplicating the efforts of others.

Over the years I’ve developed a bit of a problem with elists and enewsletters and blogs.  It took 50 years to stop being a “clean plate” reader, and I’ve mastered the art of skimming the headlines and deciding if this article or that post is worth the investment of my time.  I refuse to make time for every post and every message.  Many just aren’t that interesting or necessary.

It’s a perennial issue for librarians: what do you do with the teacher who breaks copyright laws with excessive copies or streaming videos in class from their private accounts.  Most schools prize academic integrity, and yet look the other way when it’s clear that a teacher is creating a private course reader without checking to see if they can make copies year after year of the same short story or article or poem.  Most have no way to stop the streaming, grown even worse now that laptops aren’t equipped with DVD trays.  At two previous schools I waded into that frey, getting streaming licenses and checking copyright/creating legitimate course packs.  I refuse to make time at MPOW for that argument; there are other hills to die on.

What are you refusing to make time for?




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