Computers in Libraries
Vol. 20, No. 5 • May 2000
Who Wants Money?
by Kathy Miller

Who wouldn’t be drawn in by a phrase like “savvy spending”? Who wouldn’t open a magazine that had that on the cover? Who doesn’t need more money? Who wants to be a millionaire?

With the current American obsession with riches (Or has it always been that way?), this month’s theme seems even more appropriate. I can’t think of many libraries that have all the money they need. Heck, most of you never had enough money for books or staffing. Add expensive technology to the mix and there’s no way you have enough. Today’s information technology eats up funding from so many different angles: You need the hardware, obviously—computers, printers, and a server to tie everything together. Once you have that infrastructure in place you want to go nuts buying all sorts of neat database subscriptions, discs, and now even electronic books. Then after you have all that hardware and software you realize that people can’t use it without training, so you’re looking for more money to send staff members to conferences, or to hire new people who already know enough to teach others. Then you want to start training organizational users or patrons, and before you know it you’re talking about building a technology training center, and the vicious cycle starts all over again!

So this issue is dedicated to dealing with money. Our coin has two sides: Some articles discuss getting more funding and others talk about stretching the dollars you already have. Either way, we’ve got you covered. We feature a primer on getting grants, then a more detailed how-to article on the same topic. Another feature is an example of how some academic librarians are saving time and money by using the Web instead of traditional tools, and the last maps out how one public library used the Web as a fundraising tool. And of course our columnists come through as usual with wisdom from their own experiences.

I could especially relate to something that Janet Balas said in her Online Treasures column, about working with someone who is so frugal that she tears the sticky notes in half when they are bigger than her message. I do that too! Could it be a holdover from my library days? Balas also alluded to the classic librarian act of keeping all the old catalog cards to use as scrap paper. (C’mon, we’ve all done it.) Library professionals are a frugal lot indeed. You’d think that all this scrimping would save enough every year to pay for your InfoTrac subscription. Still, despite your earnest efforts, there is seldom enough money.

We aim to ease that a little bit with this issue of CIL. We want our readers to have all the latest technology. Hoping these articles help....

Kathy Miller, Editor

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