What does it mean to process library acquisitions in a world of free information? My regular readers (I'm ever the optimist) will note that my Acquisitions Processed count to the right doesn't climb nearly as fast as my Research Requests count. So how do I deliver research results?
My organization's constituents want and need free, web-based information almost exclusively. In the rare event that we possess a document not freely available on the web, we put it on the web and then publish the URL, as long as the document is not confidential or proprietary. So, needless to say, this is not your grandmother's library!
My job is not so much acquiring documents as it is knowing what exists "out there" and then making sure others who need to know about a given topic get the appropriate resource alerts. Of course, URL listings periodically need to be checked and updated, so my responsibilities are much more in the realm of spinning and maintaining webs of information than tending to the physical library -- so much so that I feel our physical library should be renamed the "Resource Room" toward the aim of thinking of our "Library" as a set of services. This week those services included suggesting a webcast as one of the best ways to coordinate outreach to our partnering organizations on an issue for which they are desperately looking to us to provide leadership and guidance.
Spinning these web often feels like spinning plates. It takes a lot of energy but it is also energizing. Keep spinning and smiling!