Because so many asked so nicely. It’s hard to know if this is the right response, the right tactic… but it’s all true. That, as I said previously, is just the best I can do.
Ms. Name Elided To Protect Her Privacy,
This morning I received a note you left at the Circulation Desk in Crumb Library. I’m going to include the text of your note here so that I ensure I address all of your points.
“To whom it may concern… A library should have tape for the students to use.’
Unfortunately, it appears I disagree with you immediately. Our mission is to provide access to information to support learning and teaching, and tape doesn’t really fall into that. Everything we do — providing computers, printers, study rooms, research help, tech support — is in service of our mission to support learning and teaching. I can’t really justify providing free office supplies as a part of that mission.
“This is a STATE SCHOOL. I pay STATE TUITION. If my tuition and fees are not covering tape for public use then I must know who to contact about this RIDICULOUS situation…”
Yes, this is a state-funded school. However, the libraries do not receive any fees, so your tuition is the only money in play for the libraries. And the person to contact is me, the Director of Libraries. If you would like to talk with me about this, you may schedule an appointment at any time. The library secretary is available from 7:45 to 3:00, Monday to Friday, in Crumb 127, and can find a space in my calendar for me to meet with you.
“Why is it hidden??? Did a worker pay for it? If not, I DID!! $20,000k!”
It’s hidden because it’s not for public use; we buy tape so that our employees can use it to do their work. We hide it so that when the staff come to work in the morning, there is still tape for them to use to do their jobs, as, if it is not hidden, it is often stolen or used up by students.
Since you’ve noted that you pay in-state tuition, for a total of $20,000, I’d like to break that down. The College’s operating and personnel budget, taking into account only state funding and tuition dollars, is about $41 million. The Libraries’ share of that is $1.5 million, coming to about 3.7% of the total. So if you take your $20,000 in tuition, and divide it by four years, that’s this year’s $5270 in tuition (as I noted, the libraries don’t receive any fee money). 3.7% of your tuition this year equals about $195, so your contribution to the library in this budget year would buy approximately:
5 books, or
6 interlibrary loan requests, or
1% of JSTOR, or
.05% of Science Direct, or
One year of a humanities journal, or
6 hours of research assistance from a librarian, or
9 hours of circulation staff members’ time working at the circulation desk, or
13 hours of student pay to keep Crumb open in the evening
Or I could buy 40 rolls of tape, which would last approximately two months… but that doesn’t seem like the best use of your tuition dollars, in light of our mission and the needs of our student body. I’d rather pay our expert staff to help you with your research, or buy 5 books, or keep Crumb open for 13 extra hours each year.
Again, if you would like to discuss this, please make an appointment. I’d be happy to explain my position in person.
Jenica P. Rogers
Director of Libraries
College Libraries, SUNY Potsdam
On a personal note, as I reflected on this last night, I patted myself on the back for being no more aggressive than this. Jenica-The-Person wants to glare and be decidedly bitchy. Because, really? Screaming at us in a note because you need scotch tape? The entitlement, it burns.
Jenica-The-Librarian wishes I could provide white out, highlighters, scotch tape, flash drives, and all the other conveniences that students sometimes ask for.
But Jenica-The-Administrator has to prioritize in order to get the most from her limited budget. I’m going to use mission and vision to do that.
So: still no scotch tape.