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  • The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/0888-045X.htmBL24,4 The recession, budgets, expectations and realities Charles I. Guarria200 Brooklyn Campus Library, Long Island University, Brooklyn, New York, USAReceived 21 July 2011Accepted 1 August 2011 Abstract Purpose – This article seeks to provide insight on how librarians managed through the recession. It aims to highlight key areas of concern such as budgets and personnel. It is the culmination of two surveys administered in the succeeding summers of 2009 and 2010. Design/methodology/approach – The library community was notified of the surveys and provided the surveys’ link via numerous library listservs. The same listservs were used for each survey. The responses received were from representatives of academic, special and public libraries. Findings – An examination of the surveys reveals that budget cuts were worse in fiscal year (FY) 2009 than they were in 2010. Suggesting the cuts enacted in FY 2009 were effective thus less severe cuts were needed in FY 2010. Stress levels were high for FY 2009 and inched higher in FY 2010. There was no significant help, in terms of cost sharing for purchases, from the departments within the organizations the libraries served. Best practice suggestions were offered in many areas to include communication, purchasing and personnel. Originality/value – When the economy experiences a contraction, businesses, governments and the general population begins to rein in expenses. This affects libraries of all types, special, academic and public. The article explores how the library community dealt with this issue and provides information that generates problem solving ideas for those in budgetary and leadership roles. Keywords Budgets, Economy, Recession, Libraries, United States of America, Librarians, Economic cycles, Cost reduction Paper type Research paper Introduction and literature review The National Bureau of Economic Research determined that in June of 2009 the US recession had come to an end and a recovery was beginning (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2010). However true this may be, the recovery, labeled as slow growth by many economist, has been complicated by an increase in gas and food prices. A recent Gallup poll ending July 17, 2011 reveals that 69 percent of Americans believe the economy is getting worse (Gallup, 2011). Suffice to say, libraries are in effect dealing with their own slow growth recovery. It is true that budgets are stabilizing and may even improve (Kaser, 2011). However, library budgets typically lag behind the general recovery of the economy ( James-Gilboe, 2010). This is borne out in a recent survey showing 72 percent of public library respondents indicated that their budgets have been cut (Kelley, 2011) as well as the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) listing budget challenges as one of the top trends in academicThe Bottom Line: Managing Library libraries (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2010).Finances Librarians have experienced this phenomenon before. In tough economic times,Vol. 24 No. 4, 2011pp. 200-217 library budgets are cut while service typically increases as the public seeks skillsq Emerald Group Publishing Limited training, uses the library for job searching, or to save money by utilizing free services0888-045XDOI 10.1108/08880451111193299 such as an internet connection (Fiels, 2009). Similarly, library services are
  • advantageous to those seeking small business opportunities (Morales, 2011). The The recessionpositive of an economic slowdown driving usage up is it presents an opportunity to and realitiesbuild user loyalty (Public Library Quarterly, 2011). Typically, when the economy is in adownturn, enrollment in higher education increases as people seek retraining througheducation. This tendency continued; in 2008, freshman enrollment was up 6 percent toa record 2.6 million and the US Government’s preliminary data for 2009 showed therise to continue to a new high (Yen, 2010). 201 Because of the recession, librarians were in a position of striving to keep budgets atacceptable levels so that they could maintain the services their patrons seek. Moneybecame scarce, endowments suffered a sharp drop in value during the recession due tothe stock market’s decline (McCaslin, 2010), the Foundation Center estimated that 43percent of their surveyed foundations expected to reduce the number of grantsawarded (Taylor, 2010) and the state budget crisis, already at levels not seen since thegreat depression (Herbert, 2010), has had a deleterious effect on the money statesallocate to libraries. The two surveys that constitute this study did not find fundraising to be aprominent topic. The literature reveals that libraries did turn to or increased theirfundraising efforts. It was suggested that this can be a multi-faceted approach throughuse of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. TheAmerican Library Association (ALA) identified three opportunities for librariesthrough the ARRA, the state stabilization fund, the senior community serviceemployment program and broadband programs. Creative approaches to fundraisingmay be attempted such as the ALA’s Adopt a Library program (originally designed tohelp libraries in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina) or perhapsestablishing your own adopt programs such as Adopt a Database (Taylor, 2010). Another creative approach to fundraising available to academic libraries are thealumni who have taken distance learning courses. Though many of these studentshave never physically visited the library they have used the library online and may bewilling to be a benefactor. What helps in this regard is that libraries have made thedistance learner feel connected to the university. Further, these students are typicallyolder, more financially secure and therefore in a better position to be philanthropic. Inactuality, this is not an unheard of practice as up to the decade of the 1950s privatefunding was commonplace for publicly-funded libraries. Slowly, over the last threedecades, there has been a shift back towards libraries seeking private benefactors(Casey and Lorenzen, 2010). It should be noted that fundraising need not be just forimmediate financial needs but can also lay the groundwork for a lasting relationshipbetween the donor and the library (Miller, 2010). It is suggested that the effectiveness offundraising would be an interesting topic for further research. Fundraising is a form of advocacy. Advocating for your library may also entailproperly marketing your services. This is significant as a lack of awareness of libraryresources is a barrier to use ( James-Gilboe, 2010). A lack of use could lead to lesslibrary support. KPMG library in Washington, DC marketed their services in such amanner as to make the library unique enough to not only avoid being closed as othersin the firm were, but to have the material from the libraries KPMG were closing sent tothe library in Washington, DC. Communication was a key element as the librarian incharge was in constant contact with the managing partner, department heads, andfunctional groups, to analyze what their research needs were and how the library could
  • BL fill those needs. On the other hand, Apple Corporation could not stop the elimination of24,4 seven workers from the 14 in their library as it failed to communicate (which is what marketing your services is) to management the value of having an in-house library over outsourcing the work (Fletcher et al., 2009). The library community was better prepared than in the past to advocate for themselves. Libraries used various types of media to get the word out that their202 budgets should not be cut (Fiels, 2009). South Carolina public libraries used social media as well as traditional means of communication to convince state lawmakers to overturn the Governor’s veto of funding equal to $6.37 million (Goldberg, 2010). Endowments, as well as tax revenue, were cited as major factors in two surveys on the topic of budgets and the worldwide economic contraction. Both surveys were conducted by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The first survey was for the FY 2008-2009, the results showed that 19 of the top 20 ARL institutions had budget declines ranging from 15-30 percent while the one outlier had a budgetary decrease of less than 15 percent. Operations and staff took the most severe cuts while acquisition was generally flat. The second survey was for the FY 2009-2010, it indicated that the situation continued to decline as acquisitions, operations and staff experienced budgetary cutbacks (Lowry, 2010). Over the past four years a majority of states have reported cutting funding to public libraries while academic libraries are facing stagnate budgets due to declining state support (American Libraries, 2011). Despite many states increasing taxes, further budget cuts are in the offing (Herbert, 2010). At times, negotiations between unions and states or municipalities have been very contentious. However, solutions can be found. As was evidenced in Hartford Connecticut where employees of the Hartford Public Library consented to roll back agreed to pay raises and hours worked for fiscal year 2008-2009. Had this not been done, additional employees would be laid off. Also, this agreement may enable two branches previously closed to reopen. Similar to the recent Wisconsin labor negotiations, the Hartford board stated that some of the budgetary distress was the fact that the city took back responsibility for the library pension system (Blumenstein, 2008). In Philadelphia, where librarians are also represented by a union, a three year debate has ensued regarding the closing of library branches. In 2008, Mayor Michael Nutter announced the closing of 11 of the 54 branches in the Philadelphia library system as well as a reduction in hours for other branches. This was part of an effort to bridge a $1 billion dollar budget gap (Eberhart, 2008). It was reported in March of 2009 that a judge had overruled this decision based on a suit filed, in part, by the local union of municipal employees (American Libraries, 2009). As recently as the fall of 2010 library officials successfully convinced the state legislature to not force the closure of all 54 library branches (Zankey, 2010). The issue of funding is not exclusive to big cities. A suburb of Boston, the town of Saugus, was temporarily shut down for approximately one month because of the possibility of the entire budget being whipped away. The voters rejected a tax override leading the town’s manager to announce that he was whipping away the entire library budget. However, after about a month the town took money from other departments to allow the library to open 15 hours a week (Flagg, 2007). Since then the library was increased it hours to 50.4 per week (American Libraries, 2007).
  • Highlighting some of the budgetary concerns of academic libraries underscores The recessionACRL’s listing of budget challenges as a top trend. In FY 2010 Yale University library and realitiesreduced its collection budget by 15 percent (Macklin, 2010). Between the FY’s of2007-2008 and 2010-2011 Florida Atlantic University had a 5.1 percent budgetreduction (Florida Atlantic University, 2010). Emory University libraries cut 1.8percent from the FY 2008-2009 collections budget and estimates that an additional cutof near 6 percent will needed for FY 2010-2011 (Kniffel and Bailey, 2009). Finally, 203California Governor Jerry Brown is proposing $500 million in cuts to the University ofCalifornia (UC) system for FY 2011-2012. This has led to possible budget cuts of $96million at University of California at Los Angeles, $81 million at UC Berkeley, $31million at UC Santa Cruz, $38 million at UC Riverside and $27 million at UC SanFrancisco (Gordon, 2011). Good news can be found. The author’s survey results did show some librariesreceiving budget increases and this is reflected in the literature as well. In 2008, despitethe fears of a recession, voters approved funds for the Atlanta Fulton County PublicLibrary system to either build a new central library or refurbish the existing mainbuilding (Goldberg, 2008) as well as build new libraries, consolidate, expand andrenovate others (Fox and Edwards, 2011). Voters in other areas of the country approved tax increases for their libraries inspite of the recession. Though there has been some delay in releasing the money to thelibrary system, (Slavin, 2011) voters in Oregon’s Clackamas County approved apermanent property tax increase to keep the library operating (Goldberg, 2008).Michigan’s Jackson District voters also approved a property tax increase, for the years2009-2017 to keep all 13 branches open (Goldberg, 2008). The economic problems many towns, cities and states are facing are also being feltat the federal level; thus reducing or keeping flat funding to school libraries. In fiscalyear 2009, though increasing public library funding, President Bush kept schoollibrary funding at the same level as FY 2008. It is interesting to note that this is lessthan the funding for FY 2006 and 2007 (School Library Journal, 2008). The problemcontinued under the Obama administration, for FY 2010 he too proposed keepingspending for school libraries at FY 2008 levels while increasing spending on publiclibraries (Whelan, 2009). His budget for FY 2011 allocates $400 billion in education,while eliminating school library funding (Whelan, 2010). Naturally, this has strainedschool libraries as approximately a third reported budgets cut in 2010 and half wereflat. However, an eighth did realize an increase (Farmer, 2011). Symptomatic of this isthe Mesa Arizona school board’s plan to eliminate every school media specialistposition and replace them with library aides (American Libraries, 2008). It should bementioned that some of the school media specialists will be reassigned to classrooms(Whelan, 2008). It is instructive to note that even though the focus of this article is on the recentrecession in the USQ, many economies throughout the world experienced a recession(Kidd, 2010). As Kidd (2010) points out, the UK grappled with budget cuts and howacademic libraries would be able to support both teaching and research in light of thesecuts. In March 2010 the UK’s Research Information Network noted that largeuniversity libraries expected to run budget deficits averaging, 400,000 British pounds(Kidd, 2010) or 607,932 US dollars.
  • BL South Africa suffered its first recession in seventeen years (Theunissen, 2009). It24,4 began in May 2009 ((Saurombe, 2010) and ended in September of 2009 (Theunissen, 2009). However, due to a grant by the South African Department of Arts and Culture designed to upgrade libraries from 2007 thru 2013, most of the provincial (public) library directors were of the opinion that the impact of the recession was moderate. The libraries were affected to the extent that the recession forced publishers and agencies to204 go out of business limiting the availability of library resources (Saurombe, 2009). An interesting fact that both Kidd and Saurombe mention is how the exchange rate decreased the value of the currency resulting in less purchasing power. This is not an occurrence mentioned within the two surveys examined below. Fiscal year 2011 began looking much like the preceding three years a mix of some budget victories, some partial victories and some defeats. On the plus, New York Public Library avoided a $37 million budget cut in part due to a letter writing campaign. Similarly, public libraries in Los Angeles, Charlotte and Boston were able to avoid deep budget cuts. It was a partial victory for New Jersey to the extent that the public libraries staved off a $10.4 million budget cut but still had a budget cut of $6 million. Unfortunately Pennsylvania public libraries suffered a 9.1 percent cut after absorbing a 28 percent cut in FY 2009-2010 (Goldberg, 2010). Survey findings The two surveys combined received 479 responses. Given that number of responses, the surveys represent a 95 percent confidence level that the margin of error is 4.48 percent. Question one. What type of library do you represent? There were 478 responses to this question with one person electing to skip the question. Academic libraries accounted for 86.82 percent of the responses, public libraries were 7.53 percent and special libraries accounted for 5.65 percent (see Figure 1). Question two. In the preceding fiscal year was your library budget cut, kept flat or increased? Of the 295 responses in the 2009 survey 33.22 percent of responders indicated that their budgets were cut, that percentage was exceeded by an additonal 10.50 percent in 2010 as 43.72 percent of the 183 responders expected their budgets to be cut. Inerestingly, inFigure 1.What type of library doyou represent
  • 2009 and 2010 those expecting a flat budget were nearly identical at 40.00 percent and The recession40.98 percent respectively. While increased budgets had a significant drop from 26.78 and realitiespercent in 2009 to 15.30 percent in 2010 (see Figure 2).Question three. In the current fiscal year has your library budget been cut, kept flat orincreased?A look at the responses for 2010 reveals a slightly optimistic sign as cuts were less, 205year over year, and budgets remaining flat increased (see Figure 3). In 2009, 58.64percent indicated that their budgets were cut, in 2010 a slight decrease, 54. 64 percentindicated a budget cut. Further, those responders indicating a flat budget grew by 7.85percent. In 2009, 27.12 percent of responders indicated a flat budget. That number grewto 34.97 percent in 2010. Naturally, budget increases were hardest to come by as thatfigure dropped 3.86 percent from 14.24 percent in 2009 to 10.38 in 2010.Question four. For the coming fiscal year do you expect or have you been told that yourbudget will be cut, kept flat or increased?Across the board the pessimism of 2009 was less so in 2010. A more positive responsewas recorded for each answer; cut, remain flat or increase (see Table I). This can be an indication that budget cuts in 2009 were sufficient enough to allowfor a certain amount of easing in 2010. The author proposes that this is an interestingtopic for further analysis. Figure 2. Preceding fiscal year budget Figure 3. Current fiscal year budget
  • BL By subtracting out those who chose the response not told, the positive tone was even24,4 greater (see Table II). Question five. If increased, what is/was the most recent increase? The following increases were available for selection:206 . 1-5 percent; . 6-10 percent; . 11-15 percent; . 16-20 percent; . 21-25 percent; . 26-30 percent; and . . 30 percent or unknown. Despite the dire economic conditions in 2009 and 2010 there were some libraries that received budget increases. The 2009 survey received 86 responses while the 2010 survey garnered 52 responses (see Figures 4 and 5). Eliminating those who responded unknown, most responses were in the smallest percentage ranges that being a 1-5 percent budget increase. The outliers were two responders, in both years, who replied that they received a 30 percent increase in their budgets. The story that the numbers tell is optimistic, in 2009, 54.65 percent received a budget increase of between 1-10 percent while in 2010 59.62 percent reported a budget increase of between 1-10 percent. After subtracting answers for the 1-5 percent, 6-10 percent and the unknowns, the balance of the responders indicated a marginal increase of 0.71 percent from a 2009 figure of 6.98 percent to a 2010 figure of 7.69 percent. Question six. If cut what is/was the most recent budget cut? The following decreases were available for selection: . 1-5 percent; . 6-10 percent; Cut Remain flat Increase Not told Total Year (%) (%) (%) (%) (%)Table I.Budget expectations all 2009 56.95 15.59 5.09 22.37 100.00responses 2010 47.54 22.95 8.20 21.31 100.00 Cut Remain flat Increase Total Year (%) (%) (%) (%)Table II. 2009 73.36 20.09 6.55 100.00Budget expectations 2010 60.42 29.17 10.42 100.01minus those who werenot told Note: There is a slight rounding error of 0.01 percent for 2010
  • The recession and realities 207 Figure 4. 2009 budget increases Figure 5. 2010 budget increases . 11-15 percent; . 16-20 percent; . 21-25 percent; . 26-30 percent; and . . 30 percent or unknown.Budget concerns are not only the by-product of the cycles in an economy. Even prior tothe recession, which began in December 2007, librarians mentioned stressed budgets asbeing a persistent challenge. In the 2007 Library Journal Job Satisfaction Survey 28
  • BL percent of academic librarians responded that budgetary constraints were their biggest24,4 challenge. They commented that budget lags resulted in unfilled job lines, which puts more responsibility on those still who are still employed (Albanese, 2008). This persistent challenge mentioned in 2007 was borne out in the survey results. Both 2009 and 2010 saw relatively the same responses within each percentage category. The majority of cuts fell in the 1-5 percent and 6-10 percent range. In 2009,208 the largest response, 28.94 percent, was in the 6-10 percent range while in 2010 the largest response, 29.01 percent, was in the 1-5 percent. It is encouraging that the largest response was in a lower percentage range in 2010. Somewhat pessimistically, in 2009 8.51 percent had budget cuts of greater than 20 percent while in 2010 that number rose slightly to 9.93 percent (see Figure 6). Question seven. If cut, which areas of the budget have been cut? The following choices were available for selection; capital, salaries, benefits, supplies, materials, travel expenses, across the board, other, please explain. In both 2009 and 2010 the leading areas for budget cuts were materials, travel expenses and supplies. It is interesting to note that when ranked, three of the first four largest cuts occurred in 2009, while three of the four smallest cuts occurred in 2010. As mentioned earlier, the apparent easing in 2010 may be a result of sufficient budget cuts in 2009 (see Figure 7). In general, the choice “Other, please explain” had multiple responses commenting on hiring freezes. The following are a few more of the responses: No personal computers for students or staff, no promotions. State funds have been cut and tuition increase funds [have been] claimed by the state and not given to the university. All areas of operating and materials budget were cut. All employees had to take a ten-hour unpaid furlough. Otherwise, salaries and benefits were not cut. Ten positions that were unfilled at the time were eliminated. Professional development money was zeroed out.Figure 6.Budget cuts
  • The recession and realities 209 Figure 7. Specific budget lines cut Registration is down; cuts are coming. Libraries closed and librarians let go.Caution should be given to the fact that when material budgets are cut at academiclibraries the organizations national ranking may suffer as a result of fewersubscriptions (and books) which in turn may affect recruitment (Taylor, 2010).Question eight. Please select any of the following that have been impacted as a directresult of the economic slowdownThe following were available for selection: . salary freeze/smaller increases in pay raises; . hiring freeze/slowdown in the pace of hiring; . cutting student workers; . reduction in benefits; . reduction in hours the library is open; . travel expenses frozen/cutback; . decrease in morale; . establishing new workflows for better efficiency; . environmental initiatives (e.g. energy saving); . miscellaneous (bottled water service cancelled); and . other, please explain.As opposed to question seven which focused primarily on specific line items in thebudget, question eight is geared more towards the day-to-day operations of the library.There is some overlap, for example, salaries and travel, however, this question alsoelicited responses in hours the library is open, staffing, environmental issues andmorale.
  • BL The economic crisis accelerated trends that would have emerged more slowly24,4 otherwise (Lowry, 2010). Many examples of this are found by responses stating that either environmental initiatives or the analyses of workflow efficiency began in earnest. It is reasonable to assume that these actions would have taken place in the normal course of business if the recession had not happened. However, it appears that they were done quicker because of the recession.210 It would not be unusual to think that the hours a library is open would be a frequent target of budget cuts. Survey results in 2009 show a reduction in the hours of operation was chosen by 23.71 percent, rising 6.89 percent in 2010 to 30.60 percent. However, both years rank near the bottom third for frequency of occurrence. One reason for this may be that reducing library hours is a true indicator of financial stress and comes with the social cost of possibly causing ill will with library users (McCaslin, 2010). Staffing concerns ranked in four of the top five responses. Number one was hiring freeze/slowdown in the pace of hiring 2009 (73.88 percent) number two was salary freeze, smaller increase in pay raises, 2010 (68.89 percent), number four was hiring freeze/slowdown in the pace of hiring 2010 (66.70 percent) and ranked five was salary freeze, smaller increase in pay raises in 2010 (66.67 percent). Staffing issues can certainly have a negative effect on moral. Not too surprising, morale was ranked just behind staffing issues at sixth in 2010 (59.40 percent) and eighth in 2009 (53.61 percent). All staffing and moral were ranked at or near the top (see Figure 8). Responses to a reduciton in benefits for 2009 and 2010 were ranked last and second to last, respectfully. It would be interesting, as further research, to explore why this is the case. There were some positive comments mixed in with the foreboding in the responses to “other, please explain.” The following is a sampling of the comments:Figure 8.Day-to-day operationsaffected by the economicslowdown
  • Our registration has been up greatly in the last two years. We are a two-year, The recession regionally-accredited for-profit college. and realities Our small college was failing and was acquired by a proprietary institution. We are already very thrifty and efficient. There’s not much to cut, but we haven’t really felt any “new” pain, either. We did have to go through a reduction in journal or book spending with departments for the third time in five years. To be honest, though difficult, I don’t think it has 211 adversely harmed our program in a significant way, but we have an excellent interlibrary loan system and state support for database access was not cut.Increased workload. Fears of job loss, fears that we will reduce travel, fears that we’ll cut information resources and services to students, fears that the position of library dean will not be replaced. (I’m currently interim dean, and I don’t think there’s any basis for this last fear, but it seems to be a wide-spread rumor.) Sustainability initiatives have been introduced along with the financial planning. The college has taken a long-term view of this issue, involved everyone, communicated well, and not had to do layoffs, (yet) . . . so morale has generally been good. Though I can’t actually say a decrease in morale overall, I would say that there is an increased sense of anxiety. I have yet to find out the full impact on employees as they are in union negotiations at the moment. Libraries in the Pasadena Unified School District closed and all librarians let go. My school was closed and I cannot find another job. Nothing is more important than finding a job.Note: an example of miscellaneous would be the cancelling of bottled water service orvoicemail cancellation.Question nine. Please select the choice that best fits the stress level that you may haveperceived in your library because of the economic slowdown and/or budget cutsThe following were available for selection: . significant increase; . marginal increase; . no change; . marginal decrease; and . significant decrease.The uncertainty of what might happen next during an economic slowdown maycontribute to increased stress for staff. Not surprsisingly, the overwhleming majorityof responses were that stress increased. In 2009, those slecting either a significant ormarginal increase was 85.43 percent while in 2010 those same choices were selected87.78 percent of the time (see Figures 9 and 10). There was almost no decrease in stressin 2009, as evidenced by a 0.68 percent response to questions concerning that topic.However, the same questions in 2010 showed a 2.78 percent decrease in stress levels.Aproximately four times greater than 2009 a possible indication that people werebeginning to cope with the ramificatrions of the recession.
  • BL24,4212Figure 9.Stress level 2009Figure 10.Stress level 2010 Stress can also come from being asked to do the work of departments that are not operating at full capacity. For example, if the materials budget is cut the workload in inter-library loan and course reserves may increase (McCaslin, 2010). One way to counteract stress is to build moral through teamwork. The initiation of a recycling program at Valdosta State University’s Odum Library had an uplifting effect on moral (Fisher and Yontz, 2007). Note that the trajectory in each chart is nearly identical. Question 10. Has any other department offered to pay for, or share the cost of, a service (online or in print) that was formerly paid for entirely by the library’s budget? As responses indicate, not surprisingly, nearly no entity would share costs to help maintain services (see Figure 11).
  • The recession and realities 213 Figure 11. Cost sharingQuestion 11. Please share any best practices which you feel may help other librariesmanage during this economic downturnThere were 86 responses in 2009 and 61 in 2010. In an attempt to lend some structure tothe narrative style of this question the answers were categorized. Some answers, allencompassing as they were, were placed into more than one category. The categorieswere; communication, environmental, personnel, purchasing, service, technological,workflow and miscellaneous. The breakdown is as shown in Table III). Communication is paramount. Though purchasing was equally important in 2009,by 2010 it slipped from 26.74 percent of responses to 18.18 percent. Communicationalso slipped though not as steep from the same 26.74 percent of responses in 2009 to25.00 percent. Clearly, communicating with staff, patrons, political figures, vendorsand administration is a top priority. Reponses suggested that communicating with staff will keep moral up, also tocommunicate to your patrons that in tough economic times, if a service is not used itwill be cut and lastly communication leads to transparency and ensures that “rumorsdon’t get out of hand.” An effective use of communication was demonstrated by Bridgeport ConnecticutLibrary Director, Scott Hughes. He was faced with a budget deficit of $1.1 million; hecommunicated with patrons through a telephone campaign, used the law to his benefitClassification 2009 2010 TotalCommunication 23 22 45Purchasing 23 16 39Personnel 11 15 26Miscellaneous 10 15 25Workflow 8 10 18Service 5 7 12Environmental 3 2 5Technology 3 1 4 Table III.Grand 86 88 174 Best practices
  • BL by getting a referendum on the ballot and had library supporters at the polls to vote for24,4 the referendum. The result was a budget increase of 44 percent from $4.8 million to $6.9 million (Berry, 2010). When the responses for the two surveys are combined (see the Total column in Table III), purchasing is a close second to communication. Best practice suggestions for purchasing include, joining more consortiums to leverage discounted pricing,214 discontinue underused databases and those databases that have a high degree of overlap. In the area of personnel it was suggested that a “we are all in this together” atmosphere is important as well as maintaining professional development and cross-training so staff can do other work if or when the work within their department slows down. Workflow suggestions centered on consolidating duties, re-examining position descriptions, and more than any other idea, prioritize. Specifically, align priorities in accordance with the institutions mission. Best practices for service were mostly to market your services such that your patrons feel they cannot do without them. The press was an unwitting helper in marketing library services as they reported on the increase usage at libraries during the recession (Fiels, 2009). The implication being there is a wealth of content (information) at your library (Kenney, 2009). Librarians have advocated that the recession was a fortuitous time to begin environmental initiatives. Such initiatives included cutting back on printing, which also results in less ink being used. Responses also included the shutting down of computers and printers at the end of the day. The literature revealed an interesting angle, to have a formal energy audit or do you own (see energystar.com) to discover where energy is leaking out of your building (Johnson, 2009). Conversely, the recession forced other industries to slow their environmental initiatives. For example the publishing industry, tied closely to libraries, slowed their environmental initiatives due to the high cost of recycled paper (Milliot, 2010). Suggestion in the area of technology were to use Web 2.0 tools, use free services such as directories found on the internet, use open access and “develop more in-house software.” Within in the miscellaneous category suggestions were to keep a sense of humor, remain patient, be friendly, stay enthusiastic, be flexible, be efficient and make the library vital by being useful to other departments. Conclusion Even though promise can be found in areas such as increased efforts in environmentalism, the media’s positive portrayal of libraries and in select cities, the support shown by the people, it still has been a trying period. Libraries have suffered along with the economy through decreased funding which has had an effect on many areas including hiring, pay and acquisitions. In turn this decreases morale and forces librarians to cut programs and services all of this contributes to the reported higher stress levels. Veteran librarians has seen this cycle before, given that, perhaps the best advice from the survey results is to be prepared, for when the economy turns around, with your requests for what was lost.
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