Library Budget Cut
How do people survive with library budget cut?Several local cities are backing the library budget cuts to meet the state legislature’s mandate to back local tax rates. Almost all libraries in the country are suffering from budget cut and the situation would not get better unless people raise their concerns. Library staffs are losing their jobs and the libraries are operating in fewer hours. Mostly during the weekend, the libraries remain closed.
However, these reduced operating hours due to budget cuts do not imply reduced reading hours. The paper focuses on the strategies that the stakeholders can adopt to survive with library cuts.Describe the investigation you did relevant to the problem or issueOn March 11, 1986, several students, writers and scholars held a noisy sit-down demonstration in the main reading room of library of congress. They were protesting against budget cuts that forced the elimination of the library’s traditional evening hours. Approximately 100 protesters remained on their desks after the new 5:30 P.M.
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closing time demanding the library to remain open until the normal 9:39 P.M. closing time. They expressed their grievances through a series of speeches, which were meet by applauds. The whole scenario highlighted the effect of reduced hours on users forcing them to adjust to new schedule.As each speaker rose to address the protestors, they criticized President Reagan for overseeing the largest ever in the world budget cut on libraries.
To reduce the federal budget deficits, he reduced the library budget by $ 18 million. One of the protestors equated the president Reagan proposal as turning body politics into mentally retarded body. The library of congress administrators responded by ordering reduction in services, which included closing the library reading rooms weekdays except on Wednesday, and on Sunday and Federal holidays.Use your research/ investigation to represent your problem/ issueAccording to Mr. Boorstin, the library of congress head, the act of budget cut was antidemocratic and anti-knowledge and act of self-destruction. Instead of budget cut, he proposed an increase the federal budget on the libraries.
He could not understand why a facility, which had operated since 1898 housing 81 million books and rare objects, could not continue to offer its services normally. This led to a formation a group, The Books not Bombs Campaign to save the library of congress. According to its leader, Russell Mokhiber, said that the library users were protesting against the upside-down priorities of the Reagan administration. The administration was spending billions and billions on weapons of mass destruction while in the mean time ignoring the basic human services. He suggested that libraries are a strong defence against poverty, crime and illiteracy.
Libraries are sacred and vital institution and the main issue is; can we operate without them? Through the numerous visits to the library, one can note the effect of budget cut on the quality of the services offered. It is common to see the few computer in my library taken and only one or two staff to help everyone. In addition, there is usually several people who need other help; obviously, the service can’t be satisfactory with this ratio. This is a common tale in many libraries nowadays.Name two common assumptions held in regards to your problem/issueOne of the major assumptions held; is that library is an income generating facility.
Libraries are not income generating investment but they earn a city a pride, enrich lives and most important help people get survivor skills. In hard times, they should expand their operating hours instead of applying strategies such as reducing the hours. Consequently, the added hours will help increase the number of people served while at the same time improving the quality of services offered.Another issue president Reagan assumed in enacting the budget cut was the effect on the poor people. This category of population depends on the library to offer free services, which according to them cannot afford elsewhere. Like spending quality time on Sunday afternoon utilizing the entrainment facility in a library.
List three possible solutions/resolutionsExperience have shown that Radio Frequency Identification Technology can improve the patron services even when libraries are facing staff shortage and budget cut due to decreased funding from federal and state government. As noted by Griffin, director of Berkeley Public Library, library had capital funding to double the size of their building but they do not have corresponding increase in operating budget. To server more people without increasing the number of staff they need to turn to technological solutions. Berkeley Public Library was able to re-open on Sundays and return their book-purchasing budget to normal after adopting the RFID technology, which resulted in considerable labor saving. The users benefitted from the fact that despite the budget cut, they had no loss in service and the number of publication did not reduce.
As public library continues to face budget cut, openness to providing cost-effective services cannot be underestimated. Considerable benefits results through the use open application such as Koha, OpenOffice and WordPress as well as open education resources. These technologies improve the service delivery by introducing new operating techniques. The size of the collection in a library does not provide a measure of the quality of service offered but success in providing information quickly and accurately. Hence, libraries should priorities access more than ever in the time of budget cut.
There is emphasis on improving methods of library management as a way of coping with budget cuts by adopting information technology. The application of modern business management techniques to library management will improve the quality of service offered.List three unintended consequences of enacting your solution/resolutionHowever, the solution offered above requires huge initial investments by the libraries. In some cases, they require huge maintenance cost, which may interfere with the quality of services offered especially in times of budget cut. Introduction of new technology requires addition training of the staff or acquisition of specialists, which add to the overall cost.
Technologies usually result to reduced number of staff leading to job losses.In conclusion, the federal government should revise its priorities and increase its funding for public libraries. Libraries equip people with basic life skills to survive and in hard times, the funding ought not to decrease. However, it is responsibility of the management of any public library to institute measures to reduce the operating cost without interfering with the quality of services offered. By adopting appropriate technologies, considerable operating cost reduces while at the same time improving the access and the quality of services.