The big news at this time of year, as you might expect, has to do with the budget. If the governor’s proposed 20% cut in library funding holds, funding for the system will be reduced by $400,000+ which puts us back to 1997 funding levels. The management team, along with a committee of member library directors, are working on various budget solutions, using the worst case scenario as a starting point. A fairly rigid hiring freeze is in place, with every vacancy being analyzed. Critical vacancies will be filled with transfers, an act which has already happened and directly affects System Services. Andy Coyle has been transferred from the Catalog Dept. to Lit/Media to fill a position there taht has been vacant since June 2008. To help offset Andy’s departure from the Catalog Dept., Betty Spring will be spending 18.5 hours a week in Cataloging, and 18.5 hours in Digitizing.
At the same time as our funding is shrinking, library use is up all throughout the county. The System as a whole saw a 6% increase in circulation in 2008, going from 8.3 million in 2007 to 8.7 million in 2008. The MCLS Legislative Committee will be rolling out a petition drive in February, and I ask that all of you take the time to sign the petition at Central. You can also contact your legislators through the advocacy page on the NYLA website — http://nyla.org/index.php?page_id=925. Let them know how important library services are.