SJCPL News: Library cuts summer hours to reduce expenses

Margaret Fosmoe writes at the South Bend Tribune: (Link will expire very soon)

The county library plans to cut service hours, purchases and staff by 12 percent this year and 12 percent in 2009. Staff will be reduced through attrition and not layoffs, Napoli said. The summer Saturday closings will help achieve the goal of fewer service hours, thus reducing salaries and utilities, he said.

Very similar to what ACPL has planned. I feel bad for Indiana libraries. Didn’t the folks in charge down in Indy realize how the prperty tax reform would mess with library budgets? Do they care?

Library administrators will recommend by August how to proceed with hours for the rest of 2008. Saturdays are busier after schools resume. “We may be looking at something very different during the school year,” Napoli said. 

Other library cuts approved:

-A $900,000 reduction in personnel. So far this year, 15 positions have been vacated or soon will be vacated through resignations or retirements. Including benefits, total savings so far is about $369,000, said Napoli, who referred to it as a “semi-freeze” on hiring.

-A $300,000 reduction for 2008-2009 in purchases of new books and other materials.

-A $300,000 reduction in spending for services and supplies, including savings on cleaning supplies, a cheaper supplier for light bulb purchases, setting thermostats 2 degrees cooler in the winter and 2 degrees warmer in the summer, and elimination of all travel for professional meetings. 

It’s the last one that really stung – I remember always having a budget to attend ALA or CIL when I worked at SJCPL. What I would suggest is the Staff Development folks at the library look at all of the online opportunities for conference-type sessions and take full advantage. Just think: staff could checkout 5 shared presentations from CIL2008 that have audio and slides and then discuss. 

Libraries facing this kind of cut could also take full advantage of the online seminars and conversations offered here and there. What would you suggest to ease the pain of not attending conferences?