or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


Doing Less, With Less

   February 5th, 2009 Brian Herzog

Cutting MoneyEconomy...bailout...economic stimulus...TARP...blah blah blah...

All of this becomes more than background noise when you find out that your library's budget is being cut and people are losing their jobs.

Sadly, this is happening at my library. Because of decreased Town revenues and less financial aid from the state, the Chelmsford Library has had to reduce hours at our branch, lay off three people, and not replace four others who have left since last summer.

Sadlier, reduced staff also means reduced services. We're protecting core functions like our materials budget, but programs like our One-on-One computer training will have to be cut back or eliminated because we just don't have enough staff to offer them.

And these are just the things we have control over. What we can't control is that this was a disproportionate budget cut - meaning the library's budget was cut more than other Town departments. Because of this (in Massachusetts), there is a very real chance the Chelmsford Library will be decertified, which means we'll also lose the ability to provide interlibrary loan service to our patrons.

This isn't set in stone yet, and there is a possibility of getting a waiver, but when it comes to core library functions, interlibrary loan is right near the top. Especially in Chelmsford, which has the highest circulation of any library in our consortium.

I know it's corny, but I have always liked this Anne Herbert quote:

Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.



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