Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Projected Cut to Library Staff in Ed Long's Advertized Budget.

On February 17, 2015 County Executive Ed Long submitted his Advertized Budget to the Board of Supervisors.

See page 41 of the Executive Summary for the cuts to the library:


Of great concern is that this proposed FY16 budget eliminates 21 (14 FTE) circulation aide positions from the library branches.  

Circulation aides are a necessary component to running a public library. Their duties include supervising volunteers, assisting patrons with technology, processing holds/deliveries/transfers, mending books, processing periodicals, overseeing handouts, dealing with lost/damaged items, processing library card applications and entering patron data, sweeping, straightening, marking items that are used in house, helping investigate and clearing up items on patron accounts, ordering supplies, putting up signs for holidays and closings, clearing the book drop, giving directions, helping with surveys, handling book bag sales, assisting with programs, booking the display case, providing readers advisory, assisting patrons in other languages, searching for items on various lists including "missing," "claims returned" and holds.

Despite the opinion voiced in the Executive Summary, circulation aides are not superfluous nor have they become irrelevant with automated technology purchased by the Library Administration.  They are a necessary component of a functioning library.  

Currently about 70 positions, including the 21 (14FTE) circulation aide positions, have been held vacant by Department of Management and Budget resulting in a four-fold increase in overtime hours since last year to maintain hours of service at the branches.  

Reliance on overtime is not sustainable and talented staff are leaving to work in other libraries that are adequately supported by their counties and cities.  

In addition to abolishing the circulation aide positions, $300,000 was cut from the budget and it would be useful to know just what will be lost with that portion of the cut.  What other library functions might be compromised?  

Fairfax Library Advocates encourage library patrons to write their county supervisors to restore library funding to preserve staffing levels.   Ongoing staff reductions will ultimately lead to reducing service hours and branch closures.

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