Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Denver Public Library closings...

So here's the deal Mayor Hickenlooper struck with the City Council regarding library closures (briefly):

  • All schedule changes will take effect on December 1, 2010
  • Bear Valley, University Hills, Woodbury and Montbello will remain open 48 hours per week
  • Schlessman will be reduced from 40 to 36 hours per week, but will retain 4 hours of service on Sunday
  • Hampden and Byers will go from 40 to 32 hours of service per week
  • The Central Library will lose 4 hours of service on Saturday mornings. Central will be open on both Saturdays and Sundays from 1 - 5 p.m.

So essentially he threw the City council their reelection a bone and they caved and gave him his fiscal campaign strategy as I see it. Either way you look at it, they all played ball quite nicely with each other and did what they wanted to do without regard for the people of Denver. Never mind that library services being cut always have affect the poorest of the city first, but when so many are facing economic hardships middle class families use the library quite a lot too. I am surprised that I haven't heard more outcry. At least not yet. Probably not until they drive up to the doors and they expect us to be open! People are too busy with their football games and their television shows to read the newspaper and think about how things will affect them until they get to the library one day, bored and in need of a DVD. Oh well... 

For me personally it means driving some distance for a few hours of work (4 hours one day and 4 hours another) to make up my 8 hours each week which means just basic unpleasantness but not devastation. But it's frustrating and irritating that supposedly a Democrat -- a mayor who LOVES (I wish I had some truthiness quotes on blogger) libraries has gutted the library the way he has in the past few years.   

But it bodes ill for our city/state in general. We have cut jobs at the library and in the city in general and we have perpetuated the problem that places the city into the death spiral of less and less revenue in the first place- after all, the fewer jobs, even city workers you have, the fewer residents you have paying taxes. Denver school system is looking at deeper cuts and with no job creation in the city in public or private sector it is hard to see how tax revenue in the state or city can go anywhere but down. 

So where does all this lead? Probably nowhere good for a while and possibly a long while. But begrudgingly I guess I feel lucky to have a job. My coworker's husband has been out of work for a year now and is having to face the reality he may not find work. He's a professional man. They are a middle class family and she has her masters in library science but can't get a reference position (she's a part time circulation clerk- like me) because the library has few positions open and when there is one open there are a bunch of applicants and they tend to go to the younger librarians (I learned belatedly that the only way to "move up" in the library is to get your MLS- otherwise there is NOWHERE to go- you remain a peon shelver or, at best, a circulation clerk for all your days and when you're not getting yearly raises, well that means your not making much money either. So it's a cliche to work at the library and be in school.). 

Wish I could sell my first best selling novel.... :)

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