Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sustainable Library--Update

That post was getting too long and I needed to finish it. And get back to throwing out more journals.
Anyway, for a little perspective on just how much paper I'm talking about here, going alphabetically through my list I filled up an industrial dumpster by the middle of the C's. And since that's only the issues after 1987 (the rest are in a different location) I'd guess that I've only been getting about half of them. Can you imagine how much paper that is? And how much that means we're not getting by instead receiving them online?
The other efficiency that I thought of with this is that, by being able to access them online, people don't have to come to the library any more. Circulation has dropped off dramatically in the last few years (coincidentally, just when we've gotten more things online) and a lot of the students who do come in do so only to use our computers, printer, and photocopier. (Which can scan and send a pdf straight to email or save to a USB drive--another very efficient tool.) I realize it's rather a hard sell, budget-wise, to claim how much better the library is because we have so few people coming in now. (Especially when the people in charge of the budget are politicians--the state legislature--and University bureaucrats.) But think of how many people don't need to waste their time, money, and gasoline driving to the university for just one thing. Being a science library, a lot of our patrons spend their summers (and in a few cases, the winters) out in the field. They have instant access to information that they otherwise would have had to wait weeks for, or make an extra trip here for. I'm certain they appreciate that a lot.
I am getting a bit sick of explaining myself to people though. Passersby keep making comments. The construction guys shouted at me yesterday, "Nice throw!", and one woman today bitterly told me, "It should be a crime to throw away books." Then she walked away before I could give my short answer. Thanks for judging me! (Which, for the record, actually is a sin.) I did have one gentleman actually stop to learn what we're doing. He even helped me for a little bit. When I was done explaining he said, "Yeah, I get what you're doing. But I'm the kind who doesn't like to throw anything away, so don't mind me."

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