The latest installment of Items of Interest is brought to you by the letter ‘a’ for accessibility.
Operating Costs vs Access to Information
It seems that two very different approaches to accessibility are being taken by prominent libraries in eastern Canada.
On the one hand the University of Toronto Libraries have recently instituted a $200 annual membership fee for visiting researchers and other external borrowers1.
According to an article in the September 16 edition of the Globe and Mail, the libraries are somewhat desperate for ways to more effectively recoup their operating costs, as acquisitions for the year of 2008 alone amounted to $23 million2. In fact, it has been suggested that the busier libraries are even considering instituting a fee that would charge visitors for simply browsing the stacks3.
On the other hand, libraries across Nova Scotia, including those of the province’s major academic institutions, have recently instituted a “Borrow Anywhere, Return Anywhere” program. Organized by the Libraries Nova Scotia coalition, this program allows patrons to browse and borrow items from over 100 different libraries across the province free of charge. In turn, all items can be returned to whichever library is most convenient for the patron.
So what do you think? Is the U of T justified in their approach, given the caliber of materials and services they offer? How do you suppose Nova Scotia is able to afford such a benevolent program, especially given the current economic climate? What impact, if any, do you think these changes will have on the role of libraries as patrons of information access?
On the local front, it seems that the promotion of accessibility is going strong. For example, UBC has recently undertaken a digitization project that will help increase electronic access to their ever growing collection of master’s theses and doctoral dissertations — which is currently comprised of 33,500 titles4. All of the items are publicly accessible and can be downloaded for free from the UBC Information Repository (cIRcle) website.
In turn, a recent collaboration between the Public Library Services Branch, Gale Publishing, and UBC’s Irving K. Barber Centre, has resulted in the development of the Small Business Accelerator Program — offering interested patrons across the province with electronic access to a wide range of resources aimed at helping entrepreneurs make the most of their business ideas. Learn more about the program by visiting the SBAP website.
LTAIG Salary Survey
Finally, calling all library technicians, assistants, support staff, and students with a minute to spare! The LTAIG committee would greatly appreciate your input in our latest biannual salary survey.
Anyone who chooses to participate, and includes their email address at the end of the survey, will be entered to win $50 Chapters gift card, courtesy of the University of the Fraser Valley Library and Information Technology Program (all personal information will remain confidential, email addresses will not be re-distributed).
Ten minutes of your time for $50 worth of books…what library professional could resist? Just follow the link: http://www.ufv.ca/LIBITRemark/scripts/rws4.pl?FORM=ltaigSalarySurvery2009. Deadline for entry is November 13, 2009.
That’s it for now. Join us again soon for another installment of Items of Interest.
Also, don’t forget to send your own interesting items to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject Items of Interest, and be sure to join us at the upcoming LTAIG General Meeting, on Monday, October 26 @ 7 p.m.
1. University of Toronto Libraries. “Fees for Research Readers and Direct Borrowers.” University of Toronto, 2009. Web. 24 Oct. 2009 http://discover.library.utoronto.ca/news/fees-for-research-readers-and-direct-borrowers.
2. Church, Elizabeth. “The Real Cost of Research.” The Globe and Mail, 16 Sept. 2009. Web. 23 Oct. 2009.
3. Church, Elizabeth. “The Real Cost of Research.” The Globe and Mail, 16 Sept. 2009. Web. 23 Oct. 2009.
4. Hawthorn, Tom. “From Academic Obscurity to Digital Discovery.” The Globe and Mail, 20 Oct. 2009. Web. 23 Oct. 2009 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/from-academic-obscurity-to-digital-discovery/article1331591/.