Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Daily Thoughts 12/14/2010 (budget hearing, library)

"Le bibelot de Chine", oil on canvas, 1930, 38 x 46 cm, François Barraud

Daily Thoughts 12/14/2010

 I am trying to think today is just another day and maintain my sense of humor.  I did a little weeding this morning and made sure the displays were in order.  I also checked some of my email newsletters from Booklist, Baker and Taylor, Shelf Awareness, Ingram, and other places for reviews.

This is a form letter in support of Mount Vernon Public Library through the Westchester Library System

This evening, I went to the Budget Hearing for the proposed budget of City of Mount Vernon.  There were a lot of people from the library including the library director, the head of the union, several clerks and librarians, and a lot of library supporters.  I was glad to have gone.

I am just thinking about some of the things which I heard.  I am not naming names and of course, what I hear is how I interpret things.

The message that the library gave out was that it would be terrible to see the library close; a $500,000 cut would make it impossible for the library to meet state standards and be open for 55 hours a week.  The business office manager said it could lead to another 45% of the staff being cut by years end.   It might lead to the library being shut down.  This would be the only library being shut down in the county.  Even during the great depression libraries were not shut down.  Libraries are needed more now because people need jobs and education.  Some staff members talked about how the Mount Vernon Public  library had been part of their lives since childhood in Mount Vernon.

One attendee said he got a job because he used the libraries computers.  Another attendee, Bones Malone, said he was a writer and used the library regularly for many hours a day.  Bones also talked about how the library was a gem and a historic Carnegie building.  There were others who talked about how they needed the library for their children in school and to use the computers.

It was the first time in a long time that I saw the staff and library supporters united.  The new head of the library board of directors offered to sit down with the city and try and solve the libraries problems.

There were a number of people who spoke on behalf of the library who lived in the area.  They were wondering why there were such deep cuts and how the city could say they valued the libray with so many cuts.  A couple of people asked to have the library be audited to determine how we were spending the money.  I also learned that the city had already audited the library.

There were people taking pictures of the speakers.  I think there were some news organizations present.  Not everyone spoke.

Many of the staff from the city spoke in favor of the budget. There were also a number of people asking questions about increased real estate taxes.  People had questions about ten additional positions that were added during times of financial crisis.  I took home a copy of the budget to read.  It is in my bag.

It was well worth attending..

Web Bits

Harvard Announces Research Planning Initiative for a Digital Public Library of America

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