What is an institution to do when it makes a decision that kinda blows up in their face? Well, one option is to stick with the decision but modify it just enough to quiet the critics. Or to put it metaphorically, apply enough lipstick to a pig and make people stop noticing it’s a pig.
As it happens, two august Vermont organizations are currently engaged in the messy business of searching for the minimum acceptable capitulation. Vermont State University is trying to figure out how many books it will have to preserve, not because it wants the damn things, but because it desperately needs to quiet the howls of criticism; and the Green Mountain Care Board is looking for a way to give away $18 million while convincing us that they’re not giving away $18 million.
VSU’s nascent leadership continues to fumble its plan to close the campus library system… sorry, create something better than libraries… no wait, they’ll still be libraries but unencumbered by books… oops, now we’ve got a “refined plan” that will select the most academically important volumes while disposing of the rest. (You can tell they’re proud of their plan because they posted it online last Thursday with no formal announcement or public event of any sort.)
Gee, it’s almost as if the original plan was thrown together in haste with minimal forethought. Which inspires no confidence in the ability of this administration to lead a troubled system out of its current straits and into a better tomorrow. The future of VSU’s library system is way down on the list of critical issues to be addressed. If they can’t handle this without it blowing up in their faces, how will they address a massive structural deficit when they’ve already squandered their credibility dicking around with the library plan?
And all the while, they insist they’ll implement this vaguely defined thing by the end of June, come Hell or high water.Continue reading