At the recommendation of Secretary of State Tre Hargett, State Librarian Chuck Sherrill has replied to an e-mail that I sent him summarizing my arguments in this blog post. His e-mail hewed closely to what Gordon Belt posted on Monday, but with some additional information.
First, Sherrill noted that TSLA will have a Tu.-Sat. 8:00-4:30 schedule that will only reduce the hours of operation to 42.5/week, not 37.5 as specified in the proposed budget. Second, he outlined that one librarian (out of four) and one archivist (out of five) will be let go as part of the staff reduction. He also indicated that the loss of 12 total positions over two budget cycles necessitated the reduction in hours of public access.
I understand the reasoning that Sherill presents. What I would like to see is justification from the Haslam administration for the reduction of personnel, since those cuts are driving the change in hours of public access. Academia is in the throes of assessment and transparency, where we have to demonstrate clearly why and how we do things, what we expect to produce as a result, and our future plans. I would like to see the same thing concerning this issue. I freely admit that I may be speaking from a position of ignorance, but if the justification for the cuts is available to Tennesseans, which it should be, then let us know where to find it so that we can see for ourselves why these reductions are being made.
I appreciate Mr. Sherrill’s willingness to address these concerns. It’s good to know that a Tennessean can express a concern about the government and not simply be ignored. Continue to spread the word and make your voices heard on this important issue.