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My Place Of Work: An Update

Free Range Librarian readers–I sent out a message this afternoon to our state association list about a work challenge that has come up so that I could “manage the message,” as they say. I’m reposting it here in its entirety. Speaking for a moment with my organizational hat on, I very much appreciate all the thought, support, and good ideas you’ve sent our way.

I’ll talk more about this later, but keep in mind that the “why” is not really the question. To me right now the question is, where are the opportunities? I have some answers for that, as well, but I think it shoudl really be the controlling question in this period of change for the project I have now managed since the fall of 2001.

More tomorrow evening, after another pretty full day. — kgs


Dear CALIX readers,

This is to alert you that Librarians’ Internet Index has its annual user survey coming out Thursday, March 9, a week from tomorrow.

I also wanted to quell some concerns about LII. By now some of you have heard that LII has been advised of a 50% cut in program funding planned for the next LSTA year, effective July 1. Needless to say, a 50% cut is pretty steep for any organization, particularly one that has always run on fairly small beans for what it delivers. A 50% cut will mean severe reductions in hours for our small team, with a correspondingly steep impact on our ability to create and manage content, run our site, provide informational programs for libraries, etc. We do have some very small additional revenue streams through partnerships, and are working on more for the future, but they can’t compensate for this level of cuts to service.

Nevertheless, even in that worst-case scenario, we will continue to produce a (significantly shorter) weekly newsletter and we will also continue with our first priority, the “weeding” operations we use to keep our 18,000+ records for high-quality websites clean and current.

Our top priority content is, as always, our unique collection of well-organized, high-quality, librarian-selected websites related to California. No one else offers anything like this, and we sincerely hope we can protect this resource, because if it goes away there is nothing on this planet to replace it. It would effectively close the doors on one of California’s most valuable digital libraries. If you subscribe to our newsletter, “New This Week,” you know that with our new newsletter design we now provide a short section dedicated to California websites (formerly scattered here and there in the mailing). It seems that no matter what the hot topics are every week, in addition to the general websites you’ve told us are important to you, our librarian-editors find good California-based content to match.

Barring additional funding, we will be unable to produce new “Featured Collections” next year. However, we’re not in that year yet, and tomorrow we debut our third annual contribution to the California Summer Reading Program: a Featured Collection called “Paws, Claws, Scales, and Tales.” We had great fun building it. Watch for it in our newsletter!

Rest assured that we are doing everything we can for LII. LII is one of the more mature resources on the Web, and every year we offer new services and capabilities, some quite cutting-edge. We now get around 10 million hits per month and have over 35,000 subscribers. We feel that among other things, LII reflects well on the roles librarians can assume in the information age, and on behalf of librarians everywhere, we have a responsibility to survive, regardless of the obstacles.

If you don’t get our newsletter now, why don’t you sign up today and find out what you’re missing? Available in two flavors of email and in an RSS newsfeed, “New This Week” offers high-quality websites on topics you folks told us you needed (and when people from out of state ask who sets our priorities, we tell them California pays so California gets to say–well, and Washington state contributes a small amount of funding, so they get some say too).

Subscribe to New This Week here:

In any event, thanks again for all the notes, instant messages, and phone calls. We have been asked what you can do for LII. The most important thing you can do for us right now is watch for our annual user survey, which debuts next week, as it will ask some important questions about cost-recovery options for LII and also pose questions about the value of our California-specific services. We usually get terrific participation on our annual survey (over 4,000 responses three years running!), but this year we really need your feedback. Let’s make it 5,000!

Take care, thanks again for your concern, know that we’ve got our thinking caps screwed on tight, and please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about LII.

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