Librarians Put Their Trust in Patrons

from The Chronicle, November 7, 2010
by Jennifer Howard

The announced theme of this year’s Charleston Conference, an annual gathering of academic librarians, scholarly publishers, and vendors who sell products and services to libraries, was “Anything Goes!” The guiding question, though, was “Whom should we trust?” and the answer, more often than not, was “Trust the patron.”

The Charleston Conference has been going on now for 30 years. Meant to be informal, it’s not sponsored by a particular professional association. Participants talk technology, hear how colleagues tackle tasks such as culling print collections, and speculate about where the scholarly communication enterprise is headed. One state-university librarian told a reporter he finds the conference useful because librarians and vendors talk frankly about money here—about how much problems and possible solutions really cost. Included on panels, vendors have a chance to make the case for their products in the context of broader discussions about “issues in book and serial acquisition,” as the conference’s subtitle puts it.

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