April 23, 2018

Rick Anderson | Movers & Shakers 2005

Think Differently


With impeccable logic and good humor, Rick Anderson challenges many cherished icons of librarianship. Should all scholarship be free to users? Not until you explain who will absorb the costs, in time, labor, and money.

Should we organize and bargain to cut vendor prices down to the bone? Not unless we want to drive smaller vendors and publishers out of business. As a former vendor representative, Anderson thinks libraries “are not well served by blindness to basic economic principles.”

Periodicals check-in and binding? As an acquisitions director, Anderson stopped doing both, because time spent on rarely used print serials was better spent managing access to the electronic journals his users prefer.

User education? Anderson calls that “eat your peas librarianship.” Since “users will go where they wish to go, not where we tell them,” he wants to “focus less on making our patrons better library users and more on making our libraries easier to use.”

You see why Jill Emery, of the University of Houston Library, calls his ideas “radical and innovative.”

Because of his experience at Yankee Book Peddler, Anderson became expert at recognizing booby traps in license agreements and contracts, an expertise he’s shared in his book, Buying and Contracting for Resources and Services: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians (Neal-Schuman, 2004). The other contribution librarians love him for is CD-Hotlist: New Releases for Libraries (http://cdhotlist.btol.com), the selection tool he created for popular genre music.

Anderson’s professional philosophy: “Think differently. Work differently. Help more.” He hopes his example gives others “the courage to try out similar crazy ideas at their libraries,” which may well serve library users better.



Current Position Director of Resource Acquisition, University of Nevada – Reno

Degree MLIS, Brigham Young University, 1993

Renaissance Man Performs jazz, bluegrass, and rock’n’roll on several instruments