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Forward from  Patricia D. Wallace,  Chair, Hawaii Working Group
(ALA Social Responsibility Round Table /Alternatives in Print Division)
SLIS graduate student, Texas Women's University

Letter to me from an anonymous librarian in Hawaii
To:  Patricia Wallace <denwall@aol.com>
Date:  Jan. 27, 1997
Subject:  Limits of Outsourcing

        I see from a number of the messages that came in this weekend that
there are a number of people who know very little about this situation.

  Finally got January's AL [American Libraries] on Thursday, 23 Jan.
I sent an e-mail to Gordon Flagg.  The article was fairly decent.
B&T spokesman Ulsamer claims that the problems were the result of
employees who didn't understand the project.  He further claims that
we no longer have problems because B&T has established a good
communications link.  I do not know who he is communicating with
outside of Bart.  B&T may be communicating with the 2 practicing
librarians on the Selection Committee.  Still, the problems get larger
each day.  The further we dig -- the worse this situation looks.

        We may not be able to save HSPLS, but we might be able to
prevent other  libraries from entering into a 100% unholy alliance
with a vendor who claims that anyone, anywhere, can do selection
and cataloging for any library.  T'aint so!

         Vendors supply books and other library materials very well.
Outsourcing acquisitions, processing, and delivery makes sense
if it can be done more economically.

        Selection and cataloging belong to librarians and library staff.
We live and work and  the community.  We are the only ones who
know what is needed.  We work with the collection day in and day out.
We can interpret circulation rates based on our knowledge of the
material and the community.  A distant vendor cannot.  Vendors have
a service to perform.  Library staff have a service to perform.

        Vendors should be discouraged from providing services in which
they will never have the expertise.

Hope things are going well for you.  You and the HWG are doing great

Any opinions contained herein are strictly my own.

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