With laboratory outfittings and Focus, you can gain Text bonuses. For every +3 Text points, you gain a level in your Scribe. I'm fine with that increasing productivity but can someone raise their Scribe from say 1 to 6 and be able to increase the Quality of books? Sort of defeats any point in raising your skill level when you can just bring in some desks and such to boost the level of someone.
There is a cost to bringing in those desks for additions to scribe skill. Lab size, refining the lab and then actually installing the lab improvement.
Realize a few other things in addition to what Jonathan said:
- The things he mentioned take time that could be devoted elsewhere.
- You can only have two activity specialties in your lab and six specialties in total, and this uses up one of each.
- If the lab ends up with a high enough cost, you may well be paying for more the scribe bonus than it would cost to hire a scribe.
Now, you could have a second lab to get past point 2, but that will tend to force the issue in point 3 more.
it would also require a lab specialisation of texts +15, which as I recall is quite hard to collect, if at all possible.
If the goal is to have a laboratory specialized in one thing, then it's not really that hard to get +15. The best start is to install a Greater Feature as a Greater Focus; this takes two seasons of time, doesn't require extra space or refinement, and gives +7 to your favorite specialization. According to the rules, Greater Feature can be taken as many times as you want (though not Greater Focus). Taking Missing Equipment (twice) is also a handy tactic when specializing a lab.
Here's an example of a Size 0 / Refinement 0 laboratory über-specialized in Texts:
- Greater Feature (the best writer's desk you can imagine): +3 Texts, +2 Aesthetics
- Greater Feature (wax tablets on every wall): +3 Texts, +2 Aesthetics
- Greater Focus (the desk): +4 Texts, -2 General Quality
- Missing Equipment x2: -2 Upkeep, no Experimentation, Familiar, Longevity Rituals, or Vis Extraction
- Cramped: +1 Texts, -1 General Quality, -1 Upkeep, -2 Safety, -1 Aesthetics
- Magical Lighting: +1 Texts, +1 Aesthetics, +1 Im
- Bookstand of Hespera: +2 Texts
This plan requires four seasons to install the two Major Virtues at the top of the list (the Flaws in the middle are gained simultaneously), plus acquiring the two enchantments at the end of the list (costing seasons or vis). Final lab stats:
- impossible to do Experimentation, Familiar, Longevity Rituals, or Vis Extraction activities
- Aesthetics +4
- General Quality -3 (note that this does not affect the scribing of texts)
- Upkeep -3 (you're saving silver!)
- Safety -2
- Im +1
- Texts +14
Add in one more appropriate enchantment (a level 10 effect would suffice - a quill sharpener based on The Scribe's Touch, for example) and you've got +15. If you don't like the enchantments, put in a third Greater Feature instead and start choosing Flaws.