Library Workers Say It's Not Too Late To Save Branch Locations

Nov 20, 2020

The Rockford Public Library workers put out a list of alternatives to layoffs and the closure of two library locations that serve the south and west sides of the city.

The Rock River and Rockton Centre library branches will close permanently by the end of the year and lay off eight employees. Janella Harper Herbig is president of the union representing the library workers Local 3350. She says there are a number of common sense solutions that would address the budget shortfall without laying off staff. 

“Because any one of the several things that we've proposed, would be able to save those eight employees to keep them employed,” Harper Herbig said. “Because they were saying it would be like $78,000, they would be saved by laying off the pages.”

Among a number of possibilities, the union is suggesting the library reduce the number of associate directors from two to one, or eliminate an outsourced IT Remote Help Desk which they say is not being used. Advocates say either change could save nearly $100,000.

The union has also suggested several different grants available to cultural institutions in crisis.

Advocates say either change could save nearly $100,000. Beginning this week, due to an increased positivity rate in COVID-19, all Rockford Public Library locations will be closed through December 2.