Association of College & Research Libraries

In the News

—Mary Ellen K. Davis Editor & Publisher

Downsizing is often viewed as a negative term and a negative event, but in this month’s issue Cheryl LaGuardia’s conference report “The upside of downsizing” points out a positive side of downsizing: “it forces us to work smarter, one way or another.”

The ACRL leaders and staff certainly want to work smarter to bring ACRL members the kind of programs and services they need and want. To that end, ACRL regularly conducts a survey of its members. Last month in this space I referred to a few of the survey’s results. It is interesting to note that when asked to identify key issues of interest to members, a majority of respondents identified as “very critical” keeping current with technology, assisting faculty and students in making use of information resources, and using electronic communications effectively. A full report prepared by ACRL’s executive director, Althea H. Jenkins, is on page 368.

Everyone benefits when we find ways to work smarter and this issue contains a number of reports and articles that we hope will help you do just that.

Barbara DeLon suggests that we can make better use of our job descriptions in a variety of ways to maximize performance (p. 339). Paul Frisch and John Small describe how voice mail helped the reference librarians at the University of Illinois work smarter (p. 343). Elizabeth Byrne, Ralph Moon, and Gary Peete share the results of their work developing criteria for consolidating branch libraries that may help other librarians faced with this task (p. 348). Julie Page and George Soete provide us with an outline for a staff training session on preservation that can serve as a model for other librarians (p. 358). Jennii Ramirez shares with us her experience in working smarter as a “roving reference librarian” (p. 354)—an idea her supervisor got from reading an article in C&RL News.

We all want to increase our knowledge of the Internet. In this issue, Thomas Dowling contributes to this end with a resource list of engineering topics- on the Internet (p. 352).

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