“Vermont’s State Librarian Discusses New Report on Status of Libraries, From Funding to Technology”
From Vermont Public:
Libraries provide more resources for communities than just books — free WiFi, computer access, COVID-19 tests and a warm place to be are just some of the roles libraries play in communities across the country.
Vermont recently published a more than 200-page report documenting the state of libraries. The report was put together over two years, and looked into every area of library service. Some big findings in the new report look at pay and the way technology is changing libraries.
Funding and commensurate pay
Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup, executive director of Vermont Humanities, was a part of the working group created by the Vermont Legislature to put the report together. He said the findings of the report mirror the role libraries play in the community, like accessing health care or finding full time work.
“The stories of libraries in Vermont are really the stories of Vermont communities at large,” he said. “All of those stories were really similar to the policy discussions we’re having writ large in Vermont. And I thought that was very moving, to see that through the library lens. I will also say, of course, there were some special things as well about libraries that are very unique, and that really is about how we build community in Vermont and how we access information.”
Catherine Delneo, the Vermont state librarian and commissioner of libraries, said the topic of pay was important because the pay may not be commensurate with the difficulty of the role.
“It really seems to mirror what we’re seeing in general information that in important jobs, sometimes folks are struggling to make ends meet,” Commissioner Delneo said. “But really, for me, when we look at the chapter about the library structures and organizations, it really comes back to a funding issue.”
The scope of librarians’ roles have changed over time. Librarians are often expected to act as social workers in addition to fulfilling their daily library services.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.