As many of you are aware, the Covid 19 pandemic and the resulting effect on our economy has caused a severe financial crisis for government on all levels. The city’s proposed budget was released to the public this week and it includes extremely severe cuts to the library. Because of previous cuts, 98.5% of the library’s budget is committed to personnel. Accordingly any cuts to the budget will require reductions to the library’s employees. The current proposal cuts the library’s budget by $535,000. More than a dozen employees will need to be laid off which in turn will require a reduction in our hours of service to the public from the current 56 to 35 per week. Unfortunately, this will severely restrict our ability to provide services to our patrons.
All of the services at the Smiley of which we are so justly proud: One-on-one Adult Literacy tutoring; access to public computers and WiFi; services to young readers and young adults; access to print and electronic collections; and access to the magnificent local historical research of the Heritage Room and Lincoln Memorial Shrine, will be negatively impacted.
We have relied increasingly in recent years on our Friends of the Library support organization to provide funding for the library’s books and programming. The service hours reductions will also hurt the Friends ability to sell donated and deaccessioned books in their bookstore.
The Library board and the Friends of the Library are working diligently to advocate for restoring at least some funding to the Library which would save positions and hours of service. The City Council will be holding a special budget meeting next Tuesday morning. Although the public cannot attend thanks to Covid 19, the city is accepting accepting email comments about priorities until 5 PM on Monday evening May 11. If you are concerned about these cuts to your library, please contact your elected officials. firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Don McCue||Les Kong|
|Library Director||Pres., Friends of Library|