Email list hosting service & mailing list manager

Re: Serials Ordering TSANDERS@AUDUCVAX.BITNET 29 Aug 1991 18:19 UTC

I thought this debate about the role of the librarian versus the role of the
faculty had been argued to death in the 60s and early 70s.  Of course the older
librarians then probably thought it had been argued to death in the 30s and 40s.
The most satisfactory arrangements I have seen involve a collaboration between
faculty and librarians (actually here we are technically faculty in the library)
   rather than a competition.  Faculty usually have a more definitive voice in
book selection than in serials, as these are one-time purchases and not
continuing obligations, but certainly the faculty as a group are a primary
part of the user community and play a vital role in directing library use by
several other primary parts of that community (students, research assistants).

I do not see the problem quite the way David James does.  The problem I see is
that a) "the faculty" does not do selection, a vocal portion of the faculty
does selection and b) those members of the faculty that do selection speak
only for now and only for their own interests now.  An extreme example I use
in this context is a library where I used to work, where all the philosophy
books purchased (admittedly there were not many) were by or about Wittgenstein
because that was the research interest of the individual in philosophy doing the
   selecting.  In a library with a bigger budget and/or more active librarian
book selectors that could not have happened but it happens to a certain extent
with a sizeable portion of the faculty who do selection and someone (the
librarian as selector) needs to balance the collection for students and
other members of the user community where courses are being taught or research
interests pursued without a strong voice in the teaching faculty to request
purchases.  This is badly stated, but I think my meaning is clear.  In times
of cuts, someone in the academic library needs to make sure that the materials
used by the students are not sacrificed in order to save esoteric research
materials used by one or two members of the teaching faculty, however powerful
or vocal.  In times of more adequate budgets, someone needs to say "we have
students taking courses in interior design and we need to provide them
library materials even if the faculty there don't bother to place requests".

So I suppose my difference from Mr. James is that I no longer think any
library can afford to cover all of civilization and that we must each focus on
covering as many actual local needs as possible, and cooperate in the sharing
of resources to cover those that go beyond local collections.

Thomas Sanders, Serials, Auburn University, AL (tsanders@auducvax)