One of Alloway Library’s core values is the pursuit of excellence. Along with its siblings – integrity and service – excellence is one of three intrinsic qualities that Alloway Library explicitly aims to achieve. That intention is written into our departmental plan:
Library staff members are committed to the highest realistically achievable standards in their roles as educators, facilitators, collection builders, service-providers, and information brokers. They are also committed to teaching, promoting and encouraging the goal of excellence in their users (from Alloway Library Strategic Plan, 2005)There are many ways in which excellence can be achieved in spite of scarce resources. At Alloway Library we continue to educate, to facilitate the educational enterprise, to provide service, and to broker information as we promise. But without doubt we have underachieved in respect of our pledge to build and grow a resource collection.
The 2008-2009 Library Annual Report referred to the North American housing crisis of October, 2008 as one of the key external factors precipitating an extensive and prolonged international economic crisis that affected fundamental issues of the market economy. Ultimately, Canada was insulated from the most debilitating results of the shake-up of the world economy, but the impact was nonetheless tectonic and has proven to be persistent. The advent of a new academic year offered no respite to the university or to the library.
One great benefit for the library is that our ultimate confidence does not rest on a robust global economy. Another benefit is that Alloway Library has always had a flourishing staff-centered service-orientation, and so has been able to add non-monetary values for our users. But at the same time the 2009-2010 academic year has brought to a complete halt the expansion of our collections through acquisitions. During the past five years reductions have resulted in a devolutionary trend toward decay, and sadly this year culminated in the complete loss of a materials budget.
Library Report points to what Alloway Library has been able to accomplish during this year of cut-backs and restraint on personnel, collections, and operations, and itemizes what elements of our mission we have been able to accomplish.
More from the Report in our next post.