lying under a pendulum
"Hi all, The news is not good. Our budget for part time hours has been reduced. I am revising the February schedule to reflect the cuts. According to the new budget numbers, we ran 40-50% over budget in January. The hours have to be reduced to essential scheduling only. This is the case in all departments with part time employees, Circulation, pages, custodial, and Reference. The materials budget was cut as well. I wish I had better news."
When the remainders of my audio visual budgets were cut in October, I was ok with it. I had done a lot of purchasing earlier in the year, and what I didn’t get then I figured I would get after the New Year and our budgets are replaced. My audio visual (DVDs, books on CD, read-a-long book/CD sets and Playaways) budget last year was $16,000. THAT IS ENORMOUS! (SIDE NOTE: I actually applied for a job not long after I took the job at Library X and when speaking of responsibilities we chatted budgeting and collection development, and the Director almost fell over when I told her how much money I was responsible for.)
This year my audio visual budget is $7,000—less than half of what it was last year. When friends outside of Michigan have asked how the Michigan economy effects me at work, I use that as an example. That was the first example.
Now there is another example. The emails that floated around last week, followed by a discussion with the head of Adult Services where I was informed that I am going to be responsible for a lot more reference shifts, are further proof of the economic crunch here. From the time I was hired in (last January—woot woot First Anniversary!)—until now I have worked about 27 hours a week at Library X. Of those 27 hours, 6 were spent at Reference, 21 were spent in Children’s. Now, due to the cutting back of the Adult Reference Librarians, I am responsible for 19 hours of Reference and only 8 hours in Children’s. I am by no means complaining, because as a fast-growing adage in Michigan these days goes, “Be glad you have a job!” And I am. It is just hard to feel anything but stressed out these days as things continue to change and possibly shift again.
As if I wasn't feeling worried enough already, today we received another email, this time from the Director of Library X, mentioning what Govenor Granholm talked about in her State of the State address this week. The email read:
"A number of you heard that the Governor has proposed the elimination ofthe Department of History, Arts and Libraries and have asked me aboutit. The most troubling part of this cut for us is the possible elimination of State Aid. State Aid to libraries is two pieces, 1. the direct money that we receive, which in 2008 was about $27,000 for our budget, and 2. the money the state pays to our coop (XXX) for services to support our library, which in our case pays for XXX delivery. The Michigan Library Association has been monitoring the situation and released a fact sheet..."
I am going home to watch some less than cheerful movies which I rented this week:
"The Rape of Europa" (which I can't wait to watch) and "Schindler's List."
My roommate asked my why I rented such depressing movies; that when things are as bad as they are these days in the economy, etc., she likes to watch happy things. Hmmm...I think it is for two reasons:
1. Because there is much in commiserating with characters that are going through hardships (though my hardships are OBVIOUSLY nothing compared to a Concentration Camp!!)
2. Sometimes at the end of hard and sad things there is truth and beauty and hope.
So, thinking of all this unknowing at work and the prospect of my depressing movies got me to thinking about Edgar Allan Poe, so I did some reading (this is starting to sound like If you give a mouse a cookie--which is BRILLIANT--by Laura Numeroff) and thought this passage was appropriate:
"I saw clearly the doom which had been prepared for me, and congratulated myself upon the timely accident by which I had escaped. Another step before my fall, and the world had seen me no more and the death just avoided was of that very character which I had regarded as fabulous and frivolous in the tales respecting the Inquisition."
~ Edgar Allan Poe, "The Pit and the Pendulum"
Now...off to find some hope and truth in my movies...