Message from Inyo County Librarian

inyocourthouseA Message from your County Librarian

Many of you have read the news about the 27% budget cut the Inyo County Free Library experienced this year, and the additional proposed cuts being discussed for next year. There is no doubt that the draconian cut this year has had an impact on library service. If further cuts are implemented, I would like to assure you that the remaining Library staff and I will make every effort to continue to supply internet services, new books and media, public information and reference, even if it is at a diminished level.  The County Libraries not only serve as repositories of knowledge, but are our communities’ living rooms, where people gather to learn, discuss and study. They enable anyone of any economic level to gain an education through their own effort, or even on-line through the internet. Libraries are the underpinning of a free country, embodying the values of freedom of information and free speech.

Recognizing this value, supporters in the community such as the Sunrise Rotary Club, Inyo First Five Commission, Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium, the Inyo County Superintendent of Schools, the Friends of the Library in the various towns, the State Library and others have contributed a great deal of money and effort this year toward facilities, automation, collections, and internet access. We have made tremendous strides toward modernization of the Library this last year with the great effort and dedication of the staff and community.

The most important thing is to ensure that the libraries are open – with books and other materials to support the Library’s mission. In support of that goal, I will be asking the Inyo County Board of Supervisors to accept a donation from me of $200 per month, equal to the amount of the recent raise of 4%, expressly to fund additional hours of staff time. Although this is a small amount, I am hoping others will join me in donating for this purpose.

The outpouring of public support for the Inyo County Free Library as we move through the budget crisis has been overwhelming. I thank you, and will do whatever is necessary to advocate for our Library.


13 Responses to Message from Inyo County Librarian

  1. Yaney MacIver July 1, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    Hi Fed Up,

    I pulled down the Salary Schedule as well. My learning is that the whole CAO staff makes $543,804 where as the museum and library combined are at $364,344 at least assuming only one person in a position at the library.

    I did some crunching of the numbers and found out that if every employee took two furlough days off each month, the two million shortfall would be nearly taken care of.

    Conclusions I reached are:
    It seems to me that if everyone took two furlough days a month (that is two days without pay—whether they work our not, the two million shortfall would be met. This is just with the listed job categories and the $$ they make yearly and assuming only one person per position. I arranged the salaries high to low and took out the following because I figured they didn’t work yearly:

    total compensation (302 employees–260 days/yr) $19,664,148.00
    total compensation (236 days/yr per employee ) $17,848,995.88
    savings $1,815,152.12

    Anyway this is letter I sent to the Supervisors:

    “Dear Inyo County Supervisors,

    I am concerned about the two million shortfall and thought I might look at something that has been done in Benton County Oregon where I reside for now. When Benton County was faced with a similar problem they instituted furlough days. Attached is my first thoughts on how that might work for Inyo County. Basically this is two furlough days per worker for the year. The savings come close to the two million shortfall. Please note my caveats below (above here). Of course no non exempt employees should be expected to work on furlough days whereas exempt employees most likely will. Also you might consider not putting furlough requirements on employees earning under the median wage of around $42,000 a year, which seems to me to be the minimum income to afford housing in the Owens Valley.

    On my recent trips back home to the Owens Valley the Eastern California Museum has been invaluable. The nearly weekly offerings are excellent and having lived in Berkeley, I can’t remember any museum there doing any such thing. You have a jewel there, keep it going!”

  2. Fed Up June 29, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital. — Thomas Jefferson

    The people of Inyo County possess two treasures: their libraries and museum. The budgets for these have always been relatively small and have always been supplemented by concerned citizen groups. To see greedy officials and appointees attacking these institutions is shameful. But there is a solution. Simply stop over-paying these incompetents and vote out of office the supervisors who allow this to happen.

    Start with the CAO. He is paid over $161,580 a year. That is insane. (See ) His staff is paid $314,580. That totals $476,160 before benefits. Next, recall the supervisors. They are each paid $50,772 and each has an assistant paid $64,464. That totals $576,180 for our 5 districts. That is also insane.

    These are the people who would completely foul up the two intellectual treasures of Inyo County to pad their wallets at our expense and to the detriment of our children and every citizen who wishes to use these institutions to better their lives. We have the power to change this. Let’s get angry and do it.

  3. Phiilip Anaya June 26, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    The Bishop Library is wonderful. Thank You and all the contributors for making that happen and Thank You for all your efforts to keep the doors open. Somehow I think that this will all work out . I can’t believe the Supes would ever diminish access and availabilty of knowledge .

    • Waxlips June 27, 2014 at 11:02 am #

      I can’t believe a lot of things the board does!

  4. George June 26, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    All nice to think about. Let’s face it, it’s a new digital world, we need to change with the times. Time to shut the doors and purchase servers to house books. Before you critize, the reality is that many folks that utilize the library services don’t even pay taxes to keep the doors open. Reality and progress…

    • Ken Warner June 26, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

      George: What I think is that I’m glad you don’t make the decisions about things like libraries. You sound like you spend too much time on your “smart phone”.

      The amount of taxes one pays is an absolutely terrible way to judge whether or not a person gets a community service. Kids in school don’t pay taxes either. Should all schools be closed too?

    • Ken Warner June 26, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

      George: Get up and walk around…

      It has led to what she calls “multi-screen use,” which could see a person watching a show on a TV screen, while doing homework on their laptop and texting their friends using their smartphone. It’s a phenomenon that experts say requires further study.

      “It’s been such a rapidly changing dynamic,” she said. “If you’re engrossed in a program, you’re not moving, you’re not getting up and you’re potentially not going outside for a walk, and you’re increasing your sedentary time.”

    • Allen Berrey June 27, 2014 at 6:32 am #


      I take your point but disagree with it for the following reasons:

      1) The current threat to the funding of the Inyo County Free Library has much less to do with the advent of the Digital Age than it does with fiscal mismanagement by the Inyo County Board of Supervisors; had they not granted raises to their employees with money they did not have, they would not be putting the squeeze on the County Library. THAT, my friend, is “reality.”

      2) This is not, or at least should not be, a zero-sum game; many public libraries, at least those managed with some degree of fiscal competence and foresight, have BOTH state-of-the-art high-speed internet access, e-books, etc. AND actual books (as musty as they may be), newspapers, archives, etc. for those who simply enjoy that medium or use them for research; there is no legitimate reason why the Inyo County library cannot do likewise.

      3) My definition of “public” includes the have-nots as well as the haves; and I know it is kind of kooky, but I think a poor person should be able to read a book or look at a newspaper in a county library along with those more fortunate. But I realize the fight between/among the classes is another “age” into which our country is quickly and tragically regressing. And THAT, brother, is not “progress.”


    • Waxlips June 27, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      George let’s think about it, not everybody has Internet, let’s think about it, not every book is online, let’s think about it, a lot of people would rather read a book than a computer. Let’s think about it it, doesn’t matter if they pay taxes are not everyone is entitled to gain knowledge.

  5. Art La Cues June 26, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    Nancy, you exemplify the dedicated public employee. You and your staff provide outstanding service and should be commended for same, especially in light of the major reduction of your budget. As the previous writer commented, many, if not most of us, support you in your efforts to retain an essential county function and will be expressing that support at upcoming board of supervisors meetings. Keep up the good work!

  6. Miss Daisy June 26, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    Those of us who have been at the Courthouse at night know the hours Nancy Masters keeps trying to keep the Library going with little staff and utilizing temporary employees. I would be curious to know what other Department took a 27% cut in this last budget year. I remember the amount of Library staff back 20 years. It has been death by a thousand cuts.
    If any of you out there go to Library branches and find them closed, then it is up to you to write or call your Supervisors and let them know you want the Library funded. The Dump closures happened without much public protest. Don’t let this happen to our Libraries.

  7. Judy Palmer, Shoshone June 26, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    I echo the above thanks to Nancy Masters and her staff for their tireless efforts to bring first class library services to our communities. Those of us from the Death Valley/Shoshone/Tecopa area of SE Inyo County especially appreciate these efforts. Many of our residents out here are low income and rely on the branch libraries in Tecopa and Death Valley for access to books and internet.

    The libraries are also an outstanding repository of historical information about Inyo County. Countless scholars have utilized these resources and made significant contributions to the understanding of the county’s colorful past–the resulting articles and books greatly increase interest in the area and draw in tourists, which benefits us all.

    Also, in my years of spending time in the library, I have been impressed with the helpful assistance the staff provides school children working on class assignments, and the kindness shown to seniors who come to read newspapers or check out books.

    The public library has always been an important institution that ensures everyone has equal access to information—this has never been more important than it is today.

  8. Allen Berrey June 26, 2014 at 6:59 am #

    Thank you Nancy for your report on the status of the Inyo County Free Library. And thank you for your years of dedicated service to the residents of Inyo County in keeping the light of literacy, learning, and enlightenment burning in Inyo County.

    Your tireless efforts are the hallmark of the true public servant; and, although the word is easily bandied about these days, I think you are a hero (one of mine anyway).

    I know how demoralizing it must be for you to see your thoughts, efforts, and proposals so cavalierly ignored and cast aside by the County administration.

    But please know there are many here among us who do and will support you; and we will certainly make our objections known should any sort of retaliation be taken against you for your efforts to keep our libraries going.



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