Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

More Political Stuff

Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

More Political Stuff

Article excerpt

Statements of "core values" are all the rage right now, so it's not surprising that the Marigold Library System in Alberta has adopted a set (see News section).

However, in reading over their statement, it occurs to me that some of their core values are political statements - quite all right, but I'm not sure they belong in a values statement. Let's see:

"A regional library system is the most effective means of sharing resources."

Well, sure, if you compare a regional library system to a bunch of separate, non-cooperating libraries. But, "most effective"? I don't think so. It's my view that a completely consolidated system is more effective, because the resources belong to everyone in common. This statement is allied with one following:

"A federated library'system of equal and autonomous members is more effective than an integrated system."

No way. Federated systems are just a way to get more efficiency and effectiveness than a gaggle of libraries that don't cooperate at all. Considering that in fact cooperation is almost always forced on us by financial or other circumstances (hey, most everyone really wants to be king by divine right), it's usually a difficult task to do effectively. The most efficient library system is the consolidated, or integrated one, given competent administration of course.

The reason federated systems exist is because different libraries just don't want to give up all their power, but are forced by circumstances or bribed by authorities with money to join a federation. …

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