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    Staff Economic Factors

    Staff Costs. Economic forces also affect the staff of any library that introduces a substantial digital component. One important cost is the learning curve, representing costs that must be incurred in order to get the system to work. The other, which is becoming a pervasive feature of the library world today, is the cost of continuous change, which involves not only learning but psychological stress as well. Because some older librarians did not foresee and do not enjoy those stresses, we will probably see a gradual change in the psychological profile of the profession.

    Staff benefits. Among benefits to the staff, the first and most important is the ability to provide better service to patrons. Another important benefit is the ability, in the online books or digital library situation, to adapt materials developed by others. In focus groups conducted at New York University, we heard for the first time librarians reporting that they were pleased to be able to develop web resources in which pointers to resources developed by librarians at other institutions played a major role. A final benefit to staff is the fact that by working in the digital environment they are developing skills that are much more portable than traditional library skills.