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Mr. Mustache, another librarian blog

I am a reference librarian with experience in both the public and state government fields. I am doing this on a whim, sort of like the mustache I grew when I was 19 and still have in my 50's.

Name:
Location: New Jersey, United States

I am a state worker and a librarian.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Efficiency


Computers and the Internet can add great efficiency to many library processes. Unfortunately, sometimes another person doing a task, even if the task is done in an inefficient way, is a more efficient use of my time than me doing a task efficiently. This issue inevitably has confronted many librarians as computers and the Internet has woven its tentacles into every aspect of our jobs.

One example. A volunteer has been doing the obituary index on file cards for years. A library manager decides that the index should be done on a database. The volunteer can’t use computers so she leaves. Suddenly a staff member is doing the task, albeit more efficiently.

Another example. Someone from another department has been printing out reports using an overpriced service. The department supervisor decides we can save money by eliminating the service. Of course the change means our department inherits the job since it was our idea. The next week I find poor little me doing, albeit more efficiently, what the other guy from another department had been doing. Not to whine but me doing a job that I didn’t have to do before doesn’t seem efficient on my part.

Before they computerized the taking of reserves, Mrs. Krufuldt could handle the reserve cards. After computerizing the process, someone else had to take over the task. The job is done more efficiently now but on the human level, it means a task that dear Mrs. Krufuldt was doing has been taken away from her and another over taxed staff member who knows how to use computers has a new job.

Before the New York Times was put on-line a patron could wade through the microfilm on his own. Now the librarian has to find the article on the computer.


Before the library had an on-line catalog the patron could find the book
she wanted in the card catalog. Now the librarian has to find the book in the OPAC. Bu bup bu bup bu bup……..I guess I need a second cup of coffee.

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