Workforce Reduction at the Vermont Department of Libraries

To: The Vermont Library Community
From: Martha Reid, State Librarian
Date: March 17, 2009
Subject: Workforce Reduction at the Department of Libraries

The Department of Libraries has received calls and emails from many of you concerning state budget cuts. I hope this memo will help answer some of your questions and concerns:

Last Wednesday Secretary of Administration Neale F. Lunderville was joined by Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee, Human Services Secretary Rob Hofmann, and Natural Resources Secretary Jonathan Wood at a press briefing to discuss state workforce reduction proposals and the Administration’s counter offer to the Vermont State Employees Association (VSEA.) As you know, the proposed position cuts are spread across state government and will have serious effects on services to Vermont citizens. The total workforce reduction plan for the Department of Libraries includes the loss of 4 positions: 3 positions proposed for FY10 and 1 position in FY09.

Please note: this is not an announcement of regional library closings.

We have known for some time that there could be deep cuts made to our FY10 budget and that we might face a reduction in our workforce. We did not know until last week exactly how many positions we would be asked to cut. To prepare for this possibility I have had lengthy discussions with the Leadership Team at the Department and we have reviewed all of our programs and services to see where we could absorb budget cuts. We have also looked ahead to what services we want to focus on in the future – and how best to deliver these services in a time of diminishing resources. The team gave me their recommendations which will help me as I make final decisions. As many of you have heard, the Department may close one or both of the two remaining regional libraries: Midstate Regional Library (Berlin) and Northeast Regional Library (St. Johnsbury.) At the very least, we may choose to end service to the general public at these regional libraries.

For the immediate future the Regional Libraries will remain open and we will conduct business as usual.

In the event that we close the Regional Libraries:

  • Interlibrary Loan service will continue;
  • Individuals from the general public will be directed to their local public libraries;
  • We will assess the materials collections and make decisions about the disposition of books and AV materials;
  • Regional consulting and continuing education services will not change;
  • We will keep the Midstate building and the Gates Computer Lab; services provided by the Special Services Unit (Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) will not change.

I deeply regret the potential loss of these four positions – and the loss of the dedicated employees who now work in these positions. Should I make the decision to close our regional libraries I know it will significantly change the face of our Department. Such action will certainly disappoint those of you who rely on services that have long been a part of this Department.

I am mindful of the valuable benefits of our regional libraries, particularly to small school and public libraries.

At the same time, I am charged with providing support services to libraries statewide. I remain committed to excellent library service for all Vermonters and I have every confidence that the Department of Libraries will continue to find effective ways to work with all of you to make that happen.

If you have questions or comments, I invite you to contact me directly at: / 802-828-3265 or to contact one of the Department’s library consultants.

Martha Reid
State Librarian
Vermont Department of Libraries
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-0601
Tel: (802) 828-3265
Fax: (802) 828-2199