Library laying off 11 workers

Eleven people will receive layoff notices this week from the City-County Library, according to Library Director Brian Reynolds, as the library system seeks to adjust to the withering economy.

Reynolds said the 11 people account for seven full-time positions.

The cutbacks come at a time when there is greater demand on the library system.

Not only is demand up in existing libraries on a day-to-day basis, “but we are anticipating larger/newer library buildings in Cambria, Atascadero, Cayucos, and perhaps even Templeton,” Reynolds wrote in an e-mail to The Tribune.

“Increased demand likely doesn’t imply increased revenues,” he added. “So, we are looking at doing more with less, at being innovative for the long haul.”

Reynolds said he hopes volunteers can take up some of the slack.

“There is a renewed emphasis on using volunteers in new ways,” Reynolds wrote.

“We use close to 600 volunteers in a given week, which equates to about 12 FTE positions,” Reynolds wrote.

“I’m certain that we can use volunteers more efficiently ... and this is what I’m committed to.”

Reynolds stressed that library volunteers “are not intended to replace paid staff. Rather, they are intended to help us cope with increased demand and lower revenues.”

County Supervisor Frank Mecham made the same point at a Board of Supervisors meeting last week when a library administrative assistant complained to supervisors that volunteers were taking her and others’ jobs.

“There has never been any intent to replace staff with volunteers,” Mecham said, adding that the volunteer program is a separate issue.