I loved the session yesterday about the future of federal & military libraries. It was an open discussion rather than prepared powerpoints. This gives such a different perspective that is really more valuable than some structured presentations. There was much angst about the EPA libraries, but some good explanations about what is happening now. Also we were updated on the budget situation at NAL (National Agriculture Library) which is looking bleak. In the open discussion, several themes surfaced. One was making your library visible to higher management. How to get buy in and support. How to do succession planning in light of an aging group of professionals. What about staff hours needed to maintain a digital collection? Costs of maintaining library collections. When digitize, should keep one physical copy.
The session concluded with each person in the room introducing themselves and telling about their libraries. Here was the revelation–many said they were "happy librarians". They had enough money to run their libraries (although all admitted they could use more) and had management support. It’s good to hear about thriving libraries! Being a skeptic, however, I wonder if some of that complacency is misplaced. I’m hoping they are also pushing some boundaries and creating new and interesting services.
I was disappointed this morning when I went to the EPA libraries update. It was cancelled because the GAO speaker didn’t show up. I gather that individual was to talk about the GAO report on the EPA libraries. I do think it’s not very accountable of the GAO not to show up! Particularly when EPA has a booth on the exhibit floor, as they did at the SLA conference.