Friday, December 02, 2005

I hated Math so I became a Librarian

how much in the bank? I am not going to sit here in my office and lie to you. One of the driving factors behind becoming a librarian was the fact that I did not need to take any graduate level math classes. Or have any pre-requisite experience with math.

I took one math class as an undergraduate, this was how I explained to potential grad schools why I did not have a 4.0 as an undergrad. That one math class knocked me down a few pegs. Painful memories.

At any rate, in library school they neglect to tell you something. At least mine did. You will have numbers thrown at you like panties at a Tom Jones concert. These numbers control a little thing called your budget. Which brings me to my point. Finally. But you loved getting here.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Just when I thought that budgeting season had passed, it came back.

Oh, please don't misunderstand gentle reader. The 2006 is buttoned up, pressed, and put on the shelve until January 1st, 2006 graces us all.

It is the final month, of the last quarter that I'm talking about.

Because scholarly library blogs TM always mention things that push them into print, I find it my duty to once again compile facts and figures for librarians across this vast world to share.

I would not be doing my duty as an information scientist, unless I was sharing scientifically proven points with you dear, gentle librarians. A few definitions and scenarios to help you follow along:

BUDGETS


These are meant to provide guidelines when spending.

TEXT BOOK: You have $100.00 in the branch account for say, furniture. This means you can spend upto $100.00 on furniture.
REAL WORLD: You have $100.00 in the branch account for say, furniture. This means you spend $298.00.

ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE


This is meant to aid you when you are looking to see how much is left in your account. You can type in account codes, and it magically tells you the balance. You can even print the results!

TEXT BOOK:You wonder how much money you have left in your account. You log into the software, provide your username and password, enter the account code, and find out where funds should be shifted, how much is left for the year, and even allows you to bookmark frequently checked accounts.
REAL WORLD:You wonder how much money is in your account, log in, but while you wait for the little hour glass to stop spinning, you check your e-mail, you remember to send Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, via Amazon.com to your nephew in Buffalo, NY, notice you need a breath mint, get up, rummage through your bag, remember you were doing something with budgets which reminds you to go shopping at Target for supplies for the branch Christmas Party.

THE ENTIRE ACCOUNTING TEAM


These people are here to help you if you have questions. They get paid real money to work with numbers and figures, and accounting software. This is the same department that generates your pay cheque!!

TEXT BOOK: "Hello, Patty - this is Letitia. I'm trying to transfer some money into my conference and travel budget, from my mileage account. I know I have too much left to spend this month, but we are going to a conference in Boise."

"No problem Letitia, let me talk you through this. Its really simple....."

REAL WORLD: We have an accounting department?

I remind people of these valuable resources, because as librarians, well, that's what we are supposed to know about. Resources. Especially readily available resources. If you didn't know how to use the phonebook, people would kinda get nervous working with you.

I also remind people of these valuable resources, because as librarians, we look for answers when we don't have them. Naivety only goes so far. A great example: Little kids pee in their pants. OOps! Grown ups don't. (well some do, some even pee on the floor over near the audio-visual department...)Once its been explained to you, its OK to ask for help - but if you know how... well, then, Bobs your Uncle. (he really is mine!)

Now, the nitty gritty is, some librarians do like numbers. Some librarians actually balance their own cheque books! The goal here is to find a happy balance between asking questions, finding those number loving librarians, and a bit of learning.

Moral of this blog: Library Journal is sooo going to print this.

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