UM Library Jobs Threatened in Latest Round of State Funding Crises
A 10% loss in state funding will likely result in the termination of 15 full-time employees at the University of Michigan Library in Ann Arbor, effective July 1. Library officials made the announcement in late March in response to Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s proposed $36.5-million decrease in UM’s appropriation for 2003–2004, the Ann Arbor News reported March 26.
Sixteen vacant library positions are also slated for elimination, and 11 full-time positions will be reduced to part-time. The library cuts were the most announced for any department of the university, which could trim as many as 200 staff positions campuswide.
University Library Director William Gosling said the library’s public-relations staff would be eliminated. In addition, expenses are to be cut for equipment, supplies, computers, maintenance, travel, and staff development for a total reduction of $2 million. The library’s total budget this year is $38.7 million. “That’s quite a hit,” Gosling told the News. “Patrons may see a slower response time in some areas, including shelving of some materials, cataloging of new materials, and interlibrary loans.”
Michigan’s woes are only the latest in a long list of other state financial crunches affecting libraries, although some hold out hopes for relief:
- Pennsylvania legislators are hoping to restore at least part of the 50% cut in state library support to public libraries, which would devastate services and collections.
- State aid to Arkansas libraries has been reduced by 90% since 2001, but H.B. 1137 proposes restoring the 2001 level of $4.9 for each year of the biennium.
- New York Gov. George Pataki has recommended a nearly 15% cut to the state’s 742 public libraries in his 2003 budget proposal, bringing hundreds of library supporters to Albany March 18 for a statewide Lobby Day for library funding.
- Colorado’s Joint Budget Committee proposed zeroing out funding for the state’s Regional Library Service Systems, as well as cutting support for the Department of Education’s Talking Book Library in Denver. The Colorado Association of Libraries Legislative Committee plans to put the library message across to legislators in coming weeks.
Posted March 31, 2003.