January 25, 2022

Miami-Dade County Will No Longer Close Any Public Libraries But 169 Librarians Would Lose Jobs, Hours Reduced

From the Miami Herald:

Six weeks after cautioning it could shutter 22 public libraries, Miami-Dade County has found a way to keep all 49 facilities open at least some of the time, offering stripped-down services.

In all, 169 librarians would lose their jobs by Oct. 1, and libraries would operate about three-quarters of the hours they do now, Mayor Carlos Gimenez informed county commissioners late Friday

More in the Complete Article

UPDATE: The Miami Herald has published an op/ed by the Mayor of Miami-Dade, Carlos Gimenez.

Here’s what he has to say about libraries.

All libraries will remain open: We finalized a two-year plan that will keep all libraries open. Additionally, we have reduced the number of layoffs from 251 to 169. However, there will be reduced staffing and fewer service hours — 1,624 per week versus 2,016. To move toward a sustainable library system, we must take a transformative look at how our system operates and is funded. Dissolving the current restrictive library tax district to provide for countywide funding would allow for the flexibility needed to respond to the entire community’s priorities. We will work with community partners to study and assess our options.

A Few Thoughts from infoDOCKET

We need to learn more details about precisely which jobs will be cut.

Does librarian mean professional librarian with MLS/MLIS degrees or all library employees. Regardless, while the number of people losing jobs has been reduced to 169 from 251 it’s still quite disturbing on multiple levels.

We shared some comments about school librarians losing jobs in Harrisburg, PA (all librarians let go) and NYC (reduction in the number of librarians in schools) in this post.

Is a public or school library really a public or school library without professionals building collections (print and ebooks for adults and children), selecting electronic services (from research databases to 3D scanners), training library users (e.g. digital literacy, web search), etc.

As we pointed out a few weeks ago on infoDOCKET, the library community has done a poor job of explaining what librarians do (both in and out of the library facility) and why they are more valuable today than ever before.

We must do a better job marketing ourselves and promoting our skills and abilities and demonstrating (this is key) why they are important. If we don’t do this no one else will. This needs to be done in a community wide-effort (regardless of library type) but also by each one of us, individually, with those we come in contact with including both friends and family.

More about this in a future post.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.