libraries in These Tough Times

So if you read the papers at all, you know that even though things are tough, people use libraries like crazy. That said, libraries are getting funding cuts, despite, in many cases, increased use. This sucks. One of the things about living in Vermont is that there’s not that much to even trim from our budgets, but the state library (and the newish state librarian whose job I do not envy at all) closed one of Vermont’s very few regional libraries to the public and libraries who want to borrow materials now have to make appointments. This is at a time when library circulation in the state is up almost six percent and local tax support is up five percent. In other state library news

7 thoughts on “libraries in These Tough Times

  1. It really is unfortunate that libraries are getting hit so hard by the economy while, for the very same reason, usage is increasing. What other business or industry would face this sort of paradox?

    I volunteer at the local library, which has faced similar cuts to its budget, had to reduce its hours, and find other ways to save money even while it has tracked massive growth in patronage. This, of course, is a slap in the face when city officials get bonuses and other projects get passed over by the scythe.

    The most disturbing thing for me, though, is what this all speaks to: a general lack of appreciation, even understanding, in the value that libraries–and reading, and education–have for our citizens, individually and collectively.

  2. The three library systems of New York City have received enough funding to avoid layoffs and keep the libraries open six days a week. The cuts will probably come from the materials budget, but at least the libraries will be open and staffed.

    Hopefully these other libraries will avoid the worst cuts in order to stay open.

  3. I think the city looks at libraries first for cutbacks. When you think about it libraries aren’t real busy during working hours. It’s after everyone gets off work that libraries tend to be busy.

  4. It is indeed a terrible irony that at a time when our citizens most need libraries, we are seeing drastic cuts here in Vermont and across the country. Jessamyn is correct — as State Librarian I have had to make some tough decisions this year, and that mirrors what is happening elsewhere. The VT Department of Libraries has lost four staff positions and we have weathered severe cuts in our operating budget, especially to for books and subscriptions at the state law library.

    On Friday one of our two remaining regional libraries (that has served our school and public libraries and the general public for decades) will close for good. I am also hearing reports from public libraries across the state about budget cuts resulting in reduced staff, hours, and materials budgets.

    That’s the bad news. The good news is that many folks are re-discovering the library – they recognize the good value and wide range of services available at their local public libraries. I have received many calls and emails from citizens who are distressed about how budgets are affecting their libraries — it’s an important reminder: libraries really do change lives.

  5. We had a levy (sort of, it’s too damn complicated for a blog comment) for our 5-county library system get shot down back in February — now they’re cutting hours, eliminating substitute staff, etc. The “funny” thing is that they’re instituting fines for the first time ever, and people are going ballistic about that, too.

    I’m trying to do my part by getting involved with the Friends of the Library, getting them out there on the web. That, and when we last culled our home book collection, I took all the books to the library for the Friends to sell. :)

  6. If you all there in library land want to use the fliers, PSAs, and posters some Ohio libraries have created in this budget crisis, you’re welcome to use the ones we have up on

    I heard something is also happening in Connecticut, budget-wise.

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