Noteworthy and newsworthy

The Bottom Line

ISSN: 0888-045X

Article publication date: 1 December 2004

Citation

Fitzsimons, E. (2004), "Noteworthy and newsworthy", The Bottom Line, Vol. 17 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/bl.2004.17017dab.001

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Noteworthy and newsworthy

Noteworthy and newsworthy

Recent or forthcoming books and journal articles

Neal-Schuman Publishers (New York, NY) has scheduled a new book on finance and budgeting for publication in January 2005: Managing Budgets and Finances: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians and Information Professionals by Arlita W. Hallam and Teresa R. Dalston (230 pp., ISBN: 1555705197). Like other titles in the “How-To” series, this is a very practical approach to sound money management for library administrators.

The first six chapters use a step-by-step approach to thoroughly explain and illustrate the nuts and bolts of financial management, including the various types of budgets and how to create and revise them, ways to track spending and fund allocation, and timelines for financial planning, such as capital spending. Later chapters cover a range of special spending challenges, such as new buildings, maintenance, proposals and bids, and outsourcing, among others. The authors pay careful attention to the increasingly important topic of how libraries make and save money, covering library income, protecting property, alternative library funding, fund-raising, grants, and bonds and referenda. They also describe selected software that libraries can use to set and track budgets, and they point readers to helpful Web sites for further information. The appendices include samples of an accounting manual, an annual-report form, a request for proposal, a lease agreement, and security guidelines. Hallam and Dalston have compiled proven strategies, detailed examples, worksheets, handouts, forms, and tips to help any librarian become a better financial manager.

The October 2004 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA, Vol. 92 No. 4) has two articles that focus on financial issues in libraries. “Findings from the most recent Medical Library Association Salary Survey” by Marc Wallace, Thomas D. McMullen, the Hay Group, and Kate Corcoran presents basic issues on library management that were identified in the seventh triennial Medical Library Association (MLA) salary survey. The survey was conducted using a Web-based questionnaire of a nonrandom sample of MLA members and nonmembers who are employed in medical library settings. Messages were posted to the MLA membership and the MEDLIB-L e-mail discussion list to recruit respondents. The MLA publication Hay Group/MLA 2001 Compensation and Benefits Survey presents the Hay Group’s (Chicago, Illinois) analysis of the 645 usable responses. The October JMLA article focuses on pay and job satisfaction, with the authors’ review of salary survey results since 1983 to analyze trends in seniority, diversity, and pay equity.

In the same issue, Ralph Arcari, Jackie Lewis, and Edward Donnald’s article “The Electronic Fund Transfer System (EFTS)” describes an electronic bill-payment system created at the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) in Farmington. EFTS was developed and implemented on a regional basis in 1996 to replace the prepaid coupon system that DOCLINE libraries had been using. Health sciences libraries have been using the system for payment of interlibrary loan (ILL) transactions. EFTS functions in a manner similar to a debit card system, operating as if the lending library were a retailer, the borrowing library the consumer, and the EFTS the clearinghouse service enabling the financial aspects of the transaction. Centralized electronic billing of ILL users greatly reduces the need to create invoices and issue reimbursement checks for ILLs and document delivery. The article contains a full description of the system, and readers can view the EFTS Web site at https://efts.uchc.edu.

Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide to Implementing the Act by Kelvin Smith. (London: Facet Publishing, 2004. 200 pp., £39.95, ISBN 185604517X). Although this is a guide to the Freedom of Information Act in the UK (2000) and in Scotland (2002), the content is pertinent to implementation of freedom of information acts in other settings. Because model record-keeping procedures are at the center of the book, this title is likely to be of interest to Bottom Line readers. The following review is by M.P. Satija of Guru Nanek Dev University (Amritsar, Punjab, India).

Review

Despite lip service to freedom of access to and dissemination of information, even after enactment of legislation to this effect, governments everywhere have been perversely reluctant in allowing genuine access to information. Freedom of Information (FOI) acts are in place in many countries, but their interpretations are widely at variance among the two parties at the table: those who are privy to it, and who need it. This is despite mounting pressure on governments for transparency.

This book aims to be a practical guide to bridge the gap between the parties concerned. It dwells on the rights of the information seekers, and how to go about ensuring these rights, legal obligations of public authorities and the procedures to be followed to meet such requests under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 (UK) and FOI (Scotland) Act 2002. These acts will become fully operative from 1 January 2005. Though the text of the Act has not been given, the Guide purports to be an interpretative handbook for the common public, and for those charged with record keeping. The intended readership is policy makers and all national and local agencies, including that part of the private sector enjoined to discharge public functions. The focus is on the Act from the user’s viewpoint and on implementation procedures for the authorities.

In its nine chapters, the book deals with all the aspects of implementing the Act, such as legislation, exemptions, publication schemes for different classes of information, and enforcement by the information commissioner along with complaints and appeal procedures. The chapter on record management is the hub of the book. It deals with the creation, acquisition, maintenance and disposal of records and offers a model plan for records management. The next two chapters are concerned with data protection; the role and training of staff to manage records, with examples of training programs. Lastly, it gives a summary in the form of practical plan for implementing the act.

Each chapter is prefaced by a brief prologue and has been divided into small sections and subsections with headings and subheadings. There are illustrations and flowcharts to aid comprehension. It is a small and readable book useful for the intended audience.

Eileen FitzsimonsFitzsimons Editorial Consultants, Chicago, Illinois, USA