Today my library hosted one of a number of statewide legislative breakfasts, this one was very well attended both by concerned members of the library community and by members of the state’s Berkshires delegation. It was informative, it was a wonderful experience, it was depressing as hell. The state of the state is clearly awful.
Two of my favorite people in the library community had to speak of our current hardships. Janet Schraeder from C/WMars told the story of the Fitchburg library, one of my favorite cautionary tales. A library that suffered an over 60% budget cut, and which was briefly reduced to serving as a pet shelter. And Jan Resnick from my consortia, WMRLS, used the opportunity to announce their first (and hopefully [but unlikely] only) round of layoffs.
Afterwards the legislators themselves spoke, quite frankly of the state’s current economic climate. These are not good times. We’re looking at record deficits, some cuts have to be made and there is not any fat left to trim. Libraries are likely going to be in a lot of pain in the next year, but everyone else will be too.