Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Frugal Librarian: Thriving in Tough Economic Times

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Frugal Librarian: Thriving in Tough Economic Times

Article excerpt

The Frugal Librarian: Thriving in Tough Economic Times. Ed. by Carol Smallwood. Chicago: ALA, 2011. 277 p. Paper $42 (ISBN: 978-0-8389-1075-7).

With thirty-four chapters detailing the varied moneysaving strategies for libraries and librarians that the respective authors have implemented, The Frugal Librarian's primary value lies in its timeliness. As many of these chapters point out, we are all currently struggling through a bad time for library budgets while seeing increased demand for library services from our patrons. It can be difficult to cope with such a situation. Although seeing this fact restated so often can be depressing and demoralizing for the reader, Frugal Librarian actually contains much hope. The book encourages brainstorming and heavily underscores the value of innovation and of positive thinking. It is therefore ultimately very much an encouraging light in otherwise dreary times.

It is worth emphasizing this latter point, for it is as a whole that the book works best. Some of the chapters address such specific topics that their examples are perhaps not applicable to any other institution. Other chapters occasionally contain advice that at first glance can seem to be rather self-evident. These chapters are not necessarily real weaknesses in the book, however, Because each chapter is written by authors who have the voice of experience, it is easy for readers to realize that they also might be capable of managing important, necessary changes at their own institutions or addressing difficult challenges. Taken all together, the book serves as great fodder for inspiration and reassurance.

In fact, the bulk of Frugal Librarian is actually practical, useful advice that is relatively easy to implement. Likewise, some of the chapters are quite sagacious, for example, Kacy Vega and Kim Becnel's chapter "Bringing the Outside Back In: Creative and Cost-Effective Outreach Strategies," Colleen S. …

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