Library of Virginia Reading Room Closures

The following message was posted to the Virginia Roots mailing list:

Basic CMYKThe reading rooms of the Library of Virginia will be closed on Saturdays and Mondays starting November 14, 2016. The move is a result of the drop in recent revenue projections, which led to Governor McAuliffe reducing the operating budgets for executive agencies by 5 percent for the current fiscal year. The Library had no option but to turn to staff cuts to absorb the 5 percent operating budget reduction. With the loss of 18 employees, the Library is unable to keep the reading rooms open six days a week. Effective November 14, 2016, the reading rooms will be open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

“The decision to close the reading rooms was made reluctantly but providing effective service on Saturdays and Mondays for patrons without adequate human resources was no longer possible. Since the Governor’s announcement of the staff reductions at the Library of Virginia I and other members of the Library Board have been contacted by members of the general public who are very upset about these staff reductions,” said R. Chambliss Light, Jr., chairman of the Library Board.

Librarian of Virginia Sandra G. Treadway said, “Closing on Saturdays and Mondays is necessary because of the loss of 12 full time and 6 part time employees. Suspending our Saturday hours and closing our reading rooms on Mondays is heartbreaking for us, but is necessary. It will make it difficult for citizens who do research in the Library’s unique holdings; however, we will continue to offer our constituents alternative avenues to information. When the Library is not open, citizens can still access numerous reference and research resources through the Library’s main website (www.lva.virginia.gov) and also via Virginia Memory (www.lva.virginiamemory.com).”

Other service areas will also be affected. It will take longer, for example, to fill orders for digital images of material in the collections. Training for state and local records officers will be offered less frequently, and response times for records management-related questions may be extended. Moreover, it will take longer to provide access to new collections, and the Library’s ability to offer programming will be diminished.

The agency will remain open from Monday through Friday. Full-time public service staff will continue to respond to mail, email, and telephone requests and will pull materials to fulfill research, photocopying, and digitization requests. This work will primarily be done on Mondays, since there is not sufficient staff coverage to complete this work when the reading rooms are open to the public.

If you would like more information about the Library, please visit our website, www.lva.virginia.gov.

6 Comments

Library usage is up all over the country, even in Virginia. Revenues, however are down. Of course the case could be made that public libraries are non-profits and are one of the great benefits of living in a democratic society that believes in helping even the less fortunate to have access to information and resources.

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    ” … one of the great benefits of living in a democratic society that believes in helping even the less fortunate to have access to information and resources.”
    I’ve started to doubt that many people believe this anymore … on it’s way out, , I fear, along with public education and separation of church and state.

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The same thing happened in our State Library here in Pennsylvania years ago. They cut back to 3 days a week, no Saturdays. Through lobbying, and some juggling on their part, they are now open ONE Saturday a month. It’s tragic that our “leaders” are so short sided regarding the value of our libraries.

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I have used this Library’s resources and they are excellent. Fortunately for the Library they purchased about 30 scan pro 3000’s before the cuts came. One of the best enterprises in the country for Genealogist.

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Yeah, this is sad, IT happened to us in S.C. too a number of yrs. ago, and the thing that gets me, is that the “bosses” seem to believe that IT helps THEM, but not us the public if they close the Library’s on SATURDAY’S…. IT would make more sense to CLOSE two days during the week and take the staff and use them on being open on Sat.’s….. as a lot of folks only get a chance to travel at the end of a week, and usually on a Friday and Saturday if planning a trip that would USE a library resource…. I have never understood this logic, except that perhaps as a “human” thing, workers seem to believe that they deserve every SAT & SUN off….. well in many businesses and plants that is NOT TRUE and it’s not the nature policy! So why would not the Library of VA powers that be consider closing on Mon/Tues, or a Mon/Wed and or even a Mon/Thurs. and having the staff work on Satuday!!!! ?? or are VA’s state employees too good to work on a Sat.??? Closing on Sat.’s do not help folks who want to use at LEAST ONE WEEKEND DAY to do research in a LIBRARY as most of us “working stiffs” have to work a five day week too and plan our off-days around a weekend day (if we want to travel and do research)!!!!!!! THIS decision helps NO ONE!!!!!!!!!
Scott T. – VA

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This is never the correct decision. Libraries exist to serve the public, so it makes no sense to only be open at the same times that employed people are working. If I were in charge libraries would be open continuously from 5 pm on Friday to about 9am on Monday, and M-Th from 5pm to midnight. Terribly inconvenient for librarians, but perfect for researchers.

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