Greek libraries’ funding: a Greek tragedy with(out) euros and “katharsis”
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Purpose-The purpose of the paper is to point out the importance, value and the economic status of the public information services (PIS), which are in danger and to propose alternative solutions that the Greek Governmental Officials and Public Sector’s Library Managers can employ to support and promote PIS, their staff value and work and to finance their existence/preservation, plans and activities. Another objective of the paper is to increase librarians’ and library staff morale and encourage their participation and play a more proactive role in finding and securing such financial resources that will benefit all (PIS and librarians). Design/methodology/approach-Considering the deep financial crisis in Greece, the paper presents and analyzes a thorough list of strategies, actions, practical recommendations and measures that public sector’s information professionals could apply in their attempt to promote PIS benefits to the society. Through these actions, they can also approach and convince stakeholders, governmental officials for (more) funding and other people to become sponsors and donors. Findings-The article highlights the bad economic status of PIS, the increasing need for financial support and the fact that PIS and their professional appointments are under serious threat. It provides a combination of not only traditional widely known and applied methods but also a number of new measures and practices “borrowed” from private sector to show ways of finding alternative financing solutions to fund the existence of libraries, the paying of their debts and the salaries of librarians and the library staff. Moreover, it is suggested to politicians and policy-makers that important legislative bills/changes should take place to promote the flexibility in operations of PIS and in financial transactions between PIS and private companies. Practical implications-The paper with the analyzed measures can set a paradigm of changing the organizational culture of PIS. Also, it points management practices to managers such as employee engagement, brainstorming and employee empowerment. Furthermore, it explores ways for librarians to find motivation, to engage more actively and even point to Ministers to give Public Servants the opportunity to accelerate their career development. In addition, it implies that changes in the law should take place to form a more flexible frame of operation for PIS. Finally, it provides a practical strategy to reverse attempted mergers of PIS with each other or other public organizations. Social implications-The paper presents such ideas and suggestions, which come against with certain stereotypes of Public Administration/Management and operation, “old school” and conservative ways of thinking and acting of Public Servants (many of whom have never worked in the private sector and have been working in the same position for over 20 years now), professional and trade unions. The role of politicians and policy-makers and the ethos of private companies toward Public Sector’s services in days of financial hardship in Greece are also discussed. Originality/value-There is significantly limited research in the literature on the identification of threats to the existence, job security and constantly diminishing funding of PIS, in general, and, in particular, in Greece and suggested ways to overcome this.
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