June 30th, 2009 Brian Herzog
Update 7/13/09: Final state budget lightens hit to Ohio libraries
This post is unfortunately timely - by now you've heard of the cuts facing Ohio libraries.
I haven't said anything about this because it's been covered elsewhere, but it really worries me. I have friends and family that both work in and regularly use Ohio libraries. And I know how badly a 5% cut affected my library this year - I can't even imagine a 50% cut.
The value of libraries is difficult to illustrate (one might say immeasurable), which makes proposals like Gov. Strickland's possible. Libraries need to make a special effort to demonstrate our role and importance in our communities.
Two years ago I posted about the Library Use Value Calculator - a tool to let patrons calculate how much their library use is worth to them. I've been working with the ALA on version 2.0 of the library calculator (as part of their Tough Times Toolkit), and even though it's still in beta, I wanted to get it out there.
The new version looks and works the same, it's just easier for libraries to implement. Instead of having to muck around with coding, libraries can now embed it in their website web 2.0-style, just by copy/pasting a bit of code (like a YouTube video).
Please check out the new calculator, and add it to your library website - let me know if you need help. And if you are in a position to do so, please Support Ohio Libraries.
February 5th, 2009 Brian Herzog
Economy...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.