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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

My Last Column, for awhile

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, December 27, 2009

This will be my last column for a few weeks, as I take a break from being the Director of the library system.

 

In August, as we were dealing with the 31 percent cut in the library budget caused by a combination of reduced collections for the Public Library Fund and a cut in that Fund, I was looking at every possible option to address the budget reduction.

 

The library had to address an $ 835,000 reduction in the budget, a sum that will grow over the two year duration of the state budget.

 

I offered to the Library Board, that they allow me to “break service” and retire at the end of 2009, and return in the same position with a lower salary.

 

I am the senior employee of the library system with more than 35 years in the Ohio Public Employees System.

 

The savings to the library would be over $ 35,000 in 2010.

 

The Board accepted my offer, and I started the paperwork in September.

 

I am required by OPERS to “break service” and remain off-the-job for a period of at least 60 days before returning at the lower salary.

 

The paperwork is done and I will retire Dec. 31, and returned to the position of Director on March 15, 2010.

 

I am glad to be able to do this, and save money for the library.

 

I am also excited to be able to stay home during the winter months and observe the snow, rather than having to worry about what to do with it.

 

This is the first time that I have not been part of a library staff since 1970.

 

I have cleaned out my office (which really needed it) and planned for the time that I will not be part of the library.

 

According to OPERS rules, I am not permitted to speak or write on behalf of the library system, which will likely be the hardest part of this whole process.

 

Having spoken to other librarians who have done this, they all indicated that they return with a renewed vigor and excitement.

 

I am particularly proud to have a staff than can handle this situation.

 

Assistant Director Mike Gray has been named Acting Director during my absence.

 

Sandy Day, our Local History and Genealogy Librarian, will be writing a Sunday article while I am gone.

 

I was thinking back to my first day on-the-job here, back in 1983.

 

Following my interview with the Library Board, I went out the front door of the Main Library and promptly fell on the odd step that used to be right at the threshold of the front door.

 

That step was eliminated just this past spring.

 

I couldn’t find a parking space and circled the block twice.  Today, the Main Library has 87 parking spaces along the street and in off-street lots.

 

All the branch libraries have been renovated or replaced, and all have telephones.

 

Yes, we had three branch libraries that didn’t have a telephone.

 

The Main Library building is still not accessible except by narrow and lengthy stairways.

 

We have computers that need upgraded, and the collections always need to be reviewed.

 

There is always plenty to do at the library, and I’ll be back in March.

 

But remember, if you see me before then, I can only discuss the weather!