All too often we are reporting reduced hours and access to archives, libraries and other repositories. It's nice for once to report that what were reduced hours will be expanded hours come July!
Per The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, March 2017, reprinted here with the permission of the Virginia Genealogical Society, we learn …
VIRGINIA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
by Peter Broadbent
The Virginia General Assembly concluded its regular session on February 25 and, thanks to the efforts of the genealogical community, provided enough increased funding for the Library of Virginia to allow it to re-open six days per week, commencing in July.
The final budget amendments added $428,000 to the Library’s budget for the year July 1, 2017- June 30, 2018, to allow it to hire 9 staff to re-open six days per week. In addition, a separate amendment added $150,000 for the same period to allow the Library to hire 2 critical mid-level personnel. The Library had originally requested $300,000 to hire 4 key personnel, but in a bad budget year, getting all that the Library asked for in the re-opening amendment, and half for the key personnel amendment, has to be deemed a significant victory.
Librarian of Virginia Sandy Treadway has indicated that if she only received funding for two of the key positions, these will be the private papers archivist and the digital collections manager. The sole private papers archivist to be hired will face a backlog of 4,500 cubic feet of private papers to be catalogued and made accessible. In addition, there was budget language added that if future budget reductions are necessary, the Library’s rent which it pays to the Department of General Services (and which accounts for a large proportion of the Library’s core budget) will not be exempt as it currently is. Hopefully no further budget cuts will occur, but if this language is continued in future budgets, it could be very helpful to the Library long-term to reduce the impact of any future cuts (a 5 % nominal cut to the Library’s budget has resulted in a 6.5 % or more actual cut since the Library has not been allowed to cut its rent).
The Library of Virginia budget amendments are neither controversial nor relatively large, so it would be very surprising to have the Governor veto them. So we can reasonably expect that these budget amendments should go into effect on July 1.
The funds under the state budget will become available on July 1- so the Library cannot re-open six days a week until then - but the Library can start to plan and make hiring effective as of that date.
The genealogical community owes special thanks to its House budget amendments patron, Del. Jimmie Massie of Henrico County, and its Senate budget amendments patron, Senator Jill Vogel of Fauquier County. While all of the House Appropriations Committee members supported the Library’s amendments, special thanks are due to Delegate Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights (designated to be Speaker of the House commencing in 2018) and Delegate Tag Greason of Loudon County, who as House budget conferees responsible for education, were able to help push through the House amendments for additional key LVA personnel.
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