To readers of this blog, Brooklyn is best known as a shabby wannabe borough where vagrants roast dead animals in the parks and residents dream longingly of life in glamorous Queens.But the Brooklyn library system is setting an example not just for New York but for the whole United States: faced with cuts to its funds, the library is responding by making itself more efficient and offering better services to the public.What is the secret? From the New York Times:
In past years, librarians were forced to spend hours each day on administrative work before libraries even opened to the public. With many of these tasks now automated, Ms. Johnson implemented a system dramatically reducing librarians’ time on the clock during nonpublic hours.“We’re deploying our human resources in the way that makes most sense,” Ms. Johnson said. “Librarians will now be spending their time with patrons.”
Amazing: using technology to improve productivity so that you can do more with less.Government’s failure to keep pace with the productivity increases in the private sector is at the heart of many of our problems today. Making government more efficient should be a non-partisan cause. It isn’t, largely because too many Democrats are under the thumbs of featherbedding unions, but also because a lot of Republicans would rather grandstand about taxes and social issues than do the hard policy work involved in serious government reform.But cheaper, faster government is vital to the future of this country. We need to get this done.