VIEWPOINT: Proposed library budget cuts through the eyes of staff
For 15 years I have been an employee of the Rhinelander District Library. I am privileged to not only work with co-workers who share my passion for reaching the needs of our community but to be able to engage with and serve our patrons daily. As a library, we have had to “make due” for far too long and now we are facing cuts that could indeed hurt the library which in turn will affect our patrons.
We ask only what’s needed from our townships and other entities to be able to serve our community in a way that will effectively benefit everyone and ensure the staff is able to adjust to the increased cost of living as well without taking a pay cut. Some of the resistance we have encountered is due to powers that be that have not regularly visited the library and have no idea of the amazing services we implement every day; whether it’s providing computer services so patrons can seek employment or helping new families transition into the area and much, much more.
We invite you to spend part of a day observing our interactions and service to the public. What that looks like is an ever-changing landscape in terms of materials, technology and programming. These changes call for staff time and yes, money.
What people are not aware of is that most the staff at the library work multiple positions. For example, I not only do storytimes, children’s outreach and other daily clerical duties, but am also in charge of the music collection and managing the website and social media account. This is common for most of us, so talk of cutting personnel hours is our last resort. We are doing double duty and are stretched thin. Our director has been very vocal at sharing all the vital, free services the library provides to patrons and families, and we hear regularly from our patrons how important those services have been to them. If you have been impacted by the library, I encourage you to talk to your township/city leaders and let them know why cuts to the library would hurt this community.
Sarah Jessica Parker so eloquently said, “If libraries are the heart of the community, then librarians keep the heart beating.” Help us to keep the library’s heartbeat healthy and strong.
Denise Chojnacki, Rhinelander