Missing: Librarians

While a functional library may be imperative for a diligent college student, changes in Case Library have made a fully functional library seem like an extremely unlikely possibility. Among other things, the library does not have enough staff to operate regular hours.

Due to changes made to compensate for the construction, there is no staff for an extra 90 to 100 hours per week. Compared to last year, the library is open about 10 less hours a week, often closing two hours earlier than it did last year.

“We feel really badly about having to curtail the hours, because the library is all about the students and putting the students at the center,” University Librarian Joanne Schneider said.

Changes in library operations have made that challenging.

“We needed staff to cover the LASR hours,” Head of Circulation at Case Library Karen Austin said. “Staffing LASR took away hours from the circulation desk that were not replaced.”

Normally, the circulation staff would operate LASR, but the move to James C. Colgate Hall has necessitated a second circulation desk exclusively for the operation of LASR. Library employees cannot be in two places at once, and LASR must be operated for up to 100 hours per week.

Because of a University hiring freeze, the library had to find existing staff to work at LASR on the construction site. For safety reasons, at least two people must be working LASR at all times. Since no new employees could be hired, existing staff had to be transferred to LASR from general circulation and cataloguing.

In addition, two library staff members resigned over the summer.

“We’re working really hard to fill vacancies,” Schneider said. “We’re doing as much as we can by cross-training some of our existing staff to work in these other areas.”

The library is in the process of hiring to fill the vacancies. Once these positions are filled the library hopes to be able to resume full hours.