What's highly visible but transparent?
Browning lawns, fuel price locators, and political debates are signs of the times. I encountered another one last Friday.
Registering for the district Texas Library Association meeting in Georgetown, I was startled to spy many, many empty chairs--and I'd arrived just in the nick of time. Skimpy attendance, as it happens, didn't denote lack of interest in the organization or new advances in librarianship. Practical considerations had intervened: tight staffing due to increased customer traffic and budget cuts, reduced travel funds, and competing responsibilities. Last-minute issues also factored in. One librarian slated to present a report had to cancel; even the minimal staffing level for her library couldn't be met with two employees out ill.
Fortunately, my drive cost very little. I could even make it back to the reference desk for afternoon duty so could attend the morning half of the meeting.
And a worthwhile gathering it was, too. TLA is already envisioning resourceful strategies (including "virtual library districts") so that librarians aren't obliged to choose between serving the immediate customer and enhancing their skills to assist all our customers more knowledgably.
I would have hated to miss the morning's first presentation. This eye-opener came from none other than the State Comptroller's Office. If you think that "comptroller" sounds either quaint or vague (or possibly both), don't let the moniker fool you. This agency offers informational resources you don't want to be without. Did you know:
Oh, and you can view every check written by every state agency to every vendor paid by the state (Where the Money Goes) or sign up to receive email alerts when new data in your category of choice becomes available.
We often bemoan the dearth of reliable, practical offerings on the internet--at least, that is our impression when we're inundated by ads, personal opinions, and trivia. Window on Texas Government is a textbook example of modern information provision that librarians love: it's guaranteed to relate something of interest to you, it's updated frequently, and, like TLA, it's engineered to adapt to less favorable times while increasing the likelihood of better ones.
A note for you local folks: if you find your name on the Unclaimed Property list, remember: please Shop the Rock!