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McGill Reporter
May 27, 2004 - Volume 36 Number 17
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To the Editor:

As another season of The Reporter comes to completion, it is important to pay tribute to the excellence of its journalism. The Reporter demonstrates what a few dedicated individuals can accomplish. In one way, it is the single most important aspect of the McGill community in that it brings all the accomplishments of McGill to the world. It is also worthy at this time of year to acknowledge those individuals in the McGill community who are models of humanitarianism, kindness and wisdom. [Undergraduate program coordinator psychology] Mary Gauthier and [SSMU ad manager] Paul Slachta are but two fine exemplars of this tradition.

David S. Rovins

To the Editor:

Update to the Copy Service letter (November 13 issue):

I will close the McLennan-Redpath Library Copy Service at the beginning of July for my summer vacation, but will not re-open as usual in August. Instead, a new copy centre run by Ancillary Services will open in the Printing Service, with access from the Redpath Library cafeteria commons. I don't know what kind of services it will provide, at what cost, because I was not invited to the meetings (despite having been promised six months ago that I would be consulted), but I know it will be outside the library, far from the source of most of the material to be copied there and inconvenient to staff and students alike.

I will not be losing my job. I will still be copying for library staff, and I will be copying for other libraries on interlibrary loan. The only people I won't be helping anymore are McGill students.

The present location is the one best place for a copy service; that's why I put it there when I built it 20 years ago. This location would serve the library best by providing service and information, and it would serve Ancillary Services best by making more money for them than the new one will. You know what they say in the real estate business: location, location, location! But the library authorities and Ancillary Services seem unable or unwilling to play nicely together and find a way to share responsibility for this space.

Ironically, even the opening of a new copy centre does not require closing the old one. With the good self-service machines we have now, I do very little ordinary copying. Most of what I do is laser-quality or colour copying, mostly of non-circulating materials that won't be able to be brought to the new centre. What I really do all day is sell debit cards, make change and help students use the machines, all of which makes money for Ancillary Services, while the library pays my salary. Is it the library administration that wants to close this service point? (Apparently, closing service points is considered a Good Thing.) No, library administration says it would prefer to keep it open, but this is not their decision. My sources in Ancillary Services say their hands are tied because I don't work for them. It would seem that both departments have either permission or power to shut down a needed service for students, but not to keep it open.

As usual in these cases, the best thing to do is nothing. Ancillary Services should tell the library, "Look, just go ahead and let Joe make money for McGill." I could use the library's own equipment to make a little profit for the library system that won't be going to Ancillary Services anyway. I could sell cards for Ancillary Services and they could give the library the same percentage they give the other sales points on campus. If they would provide me with access to the change they collect from the copiers and card-machines, I would pass it on to the students to make even more profit for Ancillary Services. And I could continue to help students and other library patrons, instead of hiding in a locked office. Everyone would win.

If you ask me who really wants the Copy Service closed, I can't tell you, because I can't find anybody who won't be suffering a loss.

Joe Swift
Head, Copy Service
McLennan-Redpath Library

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