I’m worried about Libraries here in Michigan. We’re facing the increasing reality that the state is going to cut 50% of all Library funding in Michigan because a bunch of misguided politicians have decided that Libraries really don’t need that funding.
The reality of it is, if they cut this funding, they’ll kill almost every Library Cooperative in the state. Library Coop’s in the SE Michigan area are already facing the reality of this because they can’t get anyone to work as their Director. SLC and TLN will be without a Director shortly. Just swell… I know the politicians, and even some Librarians in places of power believe that Cooperatives are useless, but they’re not.
Here in Northville, we will suffer immediately if our Cooperative crashes. Who’s going to catalog the books? Who’s going to deliver materials? Who’s going to provide Interloan? We don’t have staff for most of these purposes because we, like many libraries in the area, pay the cooperative to do this. It keeps our operating costs DOWN to share the costs for these services with 55 other libraries in the area. The state funding provides these services, and without funding, the Cooperatives will crash out and leave every library in the state scrambling.
I’ve worked with TLN for 11 years now, and I have had the ability to see both the large, fancy libraries and the small “hole in the wall” libraries. Each is valued by the patrons it serves, and I know without a doubt, those small libraries have their charm and their fans… and nearly all of those small libraries is going to suffer, and possibly be forced to close, or provide extremely reduced and stone age level support to it’s patrons because they simply cannot afford to hire new staff to take on all the duties once handled at an acceptable cost by cooperatives.
Our library wasn’t designed with all these employees in mind. We don’t have ANY ROOM LEFT. How are we supposed to do our cataloging, ILL, BDBS, Acquisitions, etc without TLN? Man… Disaster Planning.
I should note these are my thoughts alone, and not any official statement from any of my employers. Simply me ruminating on what a mess my job may become…