Rethinking the What and How of the ILS...Tania Fersenheim
Are we spending money wisely? Librarians and administrators ask themselves this question in many ways, both big and small, every day. Sometimes it keeps us up at night. It’s inherent in the choices we make between different brands of dry erase marker, different resources covering the same subject area, and in decisions to implement or replace software that helps us do our jobs.
Libraries are asked more and more to justify the dollars we spend, and many of us are investing time and money in analyzing usage data, assessing the effectiveness of instruction programs, and otherwise attempting to quantify the return on our investment of the institution’s money.
The ILS is a behemoth in many ways, and while it’s a must-have for us to run our libraries, we can ask ourselves if we are in fact spending an outsized amount of money for “commodity” functions, and for functions that could be or are already performed better elsewhere. In other words, we need to be asking the same ROI questions about the dollars we spend on our ILS that we ask about dollars spent on materials and programs. What we need is an ongoing discussion about the ILS, what it must do, what it does not need to do, and how we can best connect to the applications and services that we deem the very best for a multitude of functions.