An Intriguing Comment

Posted: July 10, 2008 in ala 2008, conferences

At the 2008 LITA Top Tech Trends discussion, Karen Coyle made an intriguing comment. She said, “What my job often is these days is that I’m paid to write reports you couldn’t pay me to read.”

How many of us have been pulled into a task force charged with producing a report that we knew was destined to gather dust on the shelf? Whether it’s projecting a dream technology plan for which there is no money or codifying a policy simply because someone somewhere said we had to have it written down, it has probably happened to most of us.

Karen’s comment reminded me of something I’ve heard somewhere, but I can’t quite put my finger on the place or event. I heard someone say, “Librarians love to collect statistics and then do nothing with them.” (Citation anyone?) If we create that 10 pound report or accumulate years’ worth of data, is all that effort actually worthwhile? In some cases undoubtedly it is. I have seen some interesting reports, and I’ve seen effective use of data.

Too often though, we’re likely just jumping through hoops. And as in Karen’s case, if it’s truly so boring that you couldn’t even pay the author to read it, perhaps our time would be better spent on other projects!

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