On our final official outing of the class, we began the day by making an entirely fitting visit to the
David McMenemy, editor of the International Library Review and the Course Director for the library program at the University, started our day by introducing himself and the other associates from the library school and what they would be discussing. David began by giving us a short history of the
This segued perfectly into a presentation by PhD candidate Christine Rooney-Browne, who is doing some very exciting research on public libraries. Her hypothesis is that the quantitative measures traditionally used to measure library performance—i.e. circulation statistics, door counts, and audits—are not adequate to evaluate the full social impact of libraries in the community, which cannot be measured by neat little numbers and stats. She is using established methodologies to assess this social effect of libraries and to possibly provide a way for libraries to communicate their full value. Christine is not limiting her research to libraries there in
The next two presenters were Alan Poulter and Alan Dawson, who both gave us excellent presentations on their involvement in library technology and research. Poulter presented his research on developing Forensic Readiness for Local Libraries in
After the University so graciously provided everyone with lunch (and with a CD-Rom of the powerpoint presentations), we were left with less time than we had originally anticipated, so we were only able to visit one additional site. The Bridge in
The Bridge was truly awe-inspiring in form and purpose, and our tour guide, the coordinator of the local library system, Steven Finney, was highly enthusiastic about the project and its goals. The most interesting, and, I felt, disturbing part of the visit, was the revelation about the staffing of the libraries in the area, including the Bridge. To save money, the library hierarchies have been re-organized, so that there are only six professional librarians in charge of the fifteen local libraries. The day-to-day operations of the libraries are performed by non-professionals, and are only monitored by degreed librarians. “Money-saving” measures like this are precisely responsible for the crisis of confidence that we began the day by discussing, and it was quite disheartening to see, especially at a facility which was so obviously not under-financed such as this, and to know that this decision was made quite purposefully and without much thought to how professionally trained librarians would make more quality, informed decisions about service, selection, and management of the library and the materials contained therein.