Grand Rapids Public Library Restructuring

The Grand Rapids Public Library is planning to restructure its internal operations beginning July 1, 2014. Using the guidelines set forth by the Board of Library Commissioners, the library will minimize the impact on the citizens of Grand Rapids by not closing any branches or cutting open hours. The library will transform its staffing model to centralize many functions. This will set the library on a sustainable path for the next five years and beyond.

Reason for the Restructure
The library is faced with a new financial reality. After years of making cuts and making do with less, the library now faces a $914,000 deficit in the next fiscal year that is projected to continue for the next five years. This deficit is due to a multitude of reasons, including reduced property tax income, tax captures, and increased expenses in part due to city specifications that all departments demonstrate sustainability in terms of operations and asset management.

Aside from these financial considerations, the way that the public uses and perceives the library is changing. We have created many innovative services, programs, and technologies to address these changes. However the way we provide service to the public must also transform and become leaner so that the library remains a healthy and vital institution for future generations.

Our new financial and social realities have led to a restructuring of the budget, as well as a new model for staffing which adheres to the principles of collaboration, centralization, standardization, and creativity.

Staffing Restructure
All library locations will be fully staffed during open hours. Some familiar faces may change, but the library will still be here and ready to serve the public. The restructuring calls for the elimination of twelve office assistant positions and six librarian positions. Six clerical aide positions and seven library assistant positions will be created, as well as two assistant circulation supervisor positions. We are working with impacted staff to help them find new positions, either within the library or with an outside organization.

We appreciate our community’s support as we go through this difficult transition. For more details on the restructuring plan, please read our Restructure Fact Sheet.

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