Budget cuts limit library jobs

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September 28, 2007

6:16 PM

When I returned to school last month, I heard about new things on campus, such as the freshmen receiving track bags during orientation and the construction of the Jimmye Laycock Football Center and Lake Motoaka Amphitheater. I was happy when I learned about them because I thought that our school had an increased budget. Not too soon afterward, however, I learned that Gov. Tim Kaine was considering to cut the budget by 7 percent. I did not think too much about it until I found out that it would affect me directly.

p. I heard there were going to be cuts at Swem Library where I work. Hiring was going to be limited, as well as the money available to pay students. Even if I wanted to, I could not work over eight hours a week. Although the minimum wage has gone up, I also learned that I would not be receiving an immediate raise because, at six dollars an hour, I am above the new minimum wage. This means that recent hires are being paid almost as much as I am, even though I have been working in the library for one-and-a-half years. This was not too bad, but it did not make me happy.

p. Then I learned that the department of the library that I work in, the government department, was going to be integrated with technical services. The government department is in charge of the government stacks and microfiche next to its desk. Beyond filing and processing, the employees commonly help students find information for their government papers and help other patrons with directions within the library. The employees also get books and brochures for faculty and serve as the go-between for interlibrary loans and patrons who want a government document from another library. I learned that it will take at least a semester for this long-standing department to be integrated with technical services in the basement and for the staff to be distributed throughout the library.

p. Along with the rest of the department, I was saddened by these decisions. Everyone in the department was going to be placed in different areas of the library. If I decide to stay, I’ll be placed in the basement, joining technical services. The considerable government department workload will then move down to technological services, which is currently understaffed and overloaded with work. How is the work expected to be done when it is incorporated into another department that will not consider the government work a priority?

p. The budget cuts keep the library from hiring, having longer hours and giving raises to students. It has also been the cause of closing a useful department within the library. Is there another area at this institution which has had so much taken away from it? We use the library all the time. Budget cuts should affect something that we do not use.

p. The budget cuts affect everyone here, not just the employees of the library. The library is no longer open as long as it used to be, and it will not be as efficient as it once was. The library is a very important part of everyone’s education here at the College. What will happen to it after all these cuts take place? They already affect us considerably, and they have not even been completed yet.__

p. __Candyce Collins is a junior at the College.__

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