On July 1, The Providence Public Library became a different institution. As has been reported in the news, we have turned over the 10 neighborhood branches to a group calling themselves the Providence Community Library (GIVING them all the books, computers, and furniture in the buildings and leasing those buildings for minuscule sums). While everyone hopes they can make a go of it (because NO ONE likes it when a library closes), there are simply no guarantees. But the branches are now their problem.
The Central Library, where I work, and which contains over 1 million items, has experienced an almost 70% staff reduction, and so a crew of 32 people are attempting, rather valiantly, to do what more than 80 people did a few weeks ago.
So, my posting has slowed down because I have more work to do in general. Readers can add our story to the nationwide plight of libraries–all libraries–no matter what funding streams or sources (private or public) they have, what leadership they are under, or what socio-economic slice of the public they serve.
In this emerging time of trimmed budgets, streamlined functions, and general re-tooling, I am often under a bit more pressure to explain why special collections is still vital–and I suppose I’ll be using this blog as more of a think-through-it venue than a “look what I found” dump, which is how it started.