Our Librarians Speak Up
by Buck Quigley - posted 1:13 pm, January 13, 2011
Here is a statement from the Librarians’ Association of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, regarding recent events:
(Click on map for a larger image)
We, the members of the Librarians’ Association, the union representing the Buffalo & Erie County Public Librarians, have found ourselves confronted by a period of unprecedented financial challenge and administrative secrecy.
During this year’s contentious budgetary process, it was dedicated local librarians that spoke out on behalf of patrons and the communities they serve. As the citizens of Erie County rallied and wrote, the Library’s Administration and Trustees strangely stood silent.
After a hard fought battle for funding, the library – even with a one-time $3 million allotment – finds itself facing a $3.8 million shortfall for the year. Adding insult to injury, bitter party politics and a flawed legislative process have created a situation in which the library system will start the 2012 budgetary process with $4 million less in its operating budget.
And now, with Ms. Quinn-Carey’s departure, the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library is left to face all these daunting realities without a permanent director. With all that did and did not happen in recent months, one is left to wonder when exactly she began planning her exit strategy.
Quite simply, the 2011 funding deficit has directly resulted in system-wide consolidation, reduced resources and the lay-off of numerous librarians and staff effective February 2nd. If these changes weren’t already challenging enough, librarians are now being reassigned, out of their areas of collection expertise and out of the communities they know and love, without any consultation and without any funds available for training.
In a time of shared adversity and growing need, doesn’t it just make sense to consult librarians, the front-line service professionals, about potential and proposed ideas – particularly as it relates to efficiency and feasibility?
To Administration and the Trustees, we say we “Re-Imagine” better.