07 November, 2006

Online resources - waste of money. Better to put your library budget into trifectas

Well, it is cup day and I went up to the TAB and put a few dollars on a few horses. And aint life grand I picked 1,2,3, which is all nice and gives me money in my pocket but then the director looked up at the odds and pointed out to me that had I put those three horses in as a trifecta I would have pocketed myself over $50000. So my current payout doesn't seem so fantastic any more.
Still, we had a few bottles open for lunch and was feeling slightly merry. then I sat down at my PC and found a request for the manager for my October report by 3:30 today. Today? After half a bottle of red? Ah well, so be it, I got in and typed it up. I'm not the only one who had to do it in a hurry, but the others are still working on theirs.

The report writing graduated into a bit of discussion on the use of our online resources and emboldened by the grape I declared them all a monumental waste of money.
Let me give you my reasoning:
I have kids at school and I haven't shown them the online resources. If I'm not bothered by it, how many of our other patrons will feel the need?
Somewhere in the vicinity of 95% of our potential patrons live within walking distance of the library.
I am currently studying postgrad and I rarely (if ever) use the online resources my uni offers, which are an order of magnitude better than the ones our little public library can afford.
I manage to survive a masters degree using my set textbook, book of readings, a selection of industry blogs and Google Scholar. All free of charge.
To get to the online resources we offer from home, you need to:
1. Go to the council page
2. Click the library link
3. Go to the online catalogue
4. Enter your library card number
5. Enter your password
6. Click on the online resources link
7. Select the link you want (from a very spread out list)
If you are doing this from home with a slow or even a dialup connection it would take most of our patrons less time to drive to the library.
Plus a lot of the content you get from online databases is Americancentric, which while not a problem if you are looking for who built the Great Wall Of China, may be less beneficial if you are looking for information on drugs which have different trade names in the US than the ones we use in Straya.

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