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The Blue & Gray Press | December 15, 2017

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Understaffed, Library Struggles to Keep Up

By Sarah Sanders

Despite recent obstacles in staffing, the Simpson Library will maintain its regularly scheduled hours of operation this semester.

A little less than a month prior to the start of the academic year, the Simpson Library staff suffered major losses in staffing with the resignation of a reference librarian, whose name will not be released, and the hospitalization of Circulation Services Supervisor Beth Perkins due to a heart condition. It is unclear when or if Perkins will rejoin the UMW library staff

The loss of these two central employees has left the Simpson staff with only two full-time staff members to cover the circulation services and the weekly 91 hours that the library is open for use as well.

In order to make up for the lack of staff, the library was granted permission to hire two part-time librarians until further arrangements can be made.

“We were very lucky…if we weren’t able to hire somebody so quickly we would have definitely had to change our hours,” Reference and Sciences Librarian Christie Glancy said.

For students in search of work, the library employment troubles have not affected the number of students hired by the library this semester.

As usual, over a dozen students were hired to assist in both circulation and reference areas on a part-time basis.

While both Glancy and University Librarian Roy Strohl stated that no changes would take place regarding operating times, the library may not be out of the woods yet. Strohl said that they have yet to hear the final news on budget cuts for this year.

“The middle to the end of next week is when we will find out what cuts will be made,” Strohl said.

Until this report is in, Strohl and his staff have no idea what cuts and adjustments will have to be made.

As news of the possible budget cuts have begun to circulate about campus, students have expressed their concerns over the potential effects of these cuts.

Mark Katy Hancock, a junior resident of Bushnell, is still concerned with changes in library hours of operation, despite reassurance from library staff.

“I’m pretty much here till close every day,” Hancock said. “My dorm has no air conditioning, and the library is also a place where I can get away from my noisy suitemates.”

Any changes the library may go through will be announced following the analysis and release of this year’s budget report.