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Creativity at the Edge: Cutting Back on Library Services during Hard Times

By Amanda Moeller and Julie Gilbert
Gustavus Adolphus College

Introduction

In a service profession like librarianship, it can be difficult to conceive of ever saying no. We are in the business of helping people, after all. The very notion of saying no to our users may cause a spike of fear: if we say no, will people stop seeking our services? Will they stop seeing us as useful and helpful? Of course, circumstances sometimes arise that make it necessary for us to say no to taking on additional tasks and initiatives. Conditions might unfold in our personal lives that require us to step back for a time, or we may already be working at capacity and unable to take on anything new. We might say no after concluding that we simply do not have the time or energy to add more to our plates. Or we might realize that a new task does not fit within our priorities and we let it go. In these situations, we hope our colleagues are positioned to assist with the work or that the tasks are not essential and can be tabled for now.[i]

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