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