This post comes from Roger Taylor, a librarian in Somerset who has just been made redundant.
I work currently as Performing Arts Librarian for Somerset Libraries. This involves management of the sectoral department responsible for all library matters (loans, information, research) relating to music and drama. In April 2009 I voluntarily reduced my working hours from full- to part-time (37 to 24 hours weekly). I have worked as a professional music librarian since December 1974, since March 1976 for Somerset. My post has recently been identified as no longer necessary, its deletion contributing to a general target saving of £330,000 from “senior professional and backroom” staff ostensibly without frontline duties. [For myself this is wrong: I regularly work frontline direct with the public. My loss is immediately causing timetable difficulties staffing my sectoral department.] Threatened with compulsory redundancy sometime after 1st April 2011, when redundancy terms are due to be halved, I have elected to take voluntary redundancy with effect from 31st March 2011 at terms that are slightly more advantageous. Somerset offers minimum terms of 60 weeks of final salary: I will be 63 in June, two years away from entitlement to State Pension, therefore facing financial survival with a lump sum half the salary I would have earned by my 65 birthday. I had in any case signalled my intention, health permitting, to work beyond 65.] My last day of employment will be Thursday 24th March.
I am sad that my post (albeit part-time) is being deleted, so that I will not be replaced. There will therefore be no professional sectoral input within Somerset Libraries. The knowledge I have accrued over many years of specialist work will be lost, and no-one with be recruited to replace this. Sectoral users will therefore loose my expertise. My staff team will continue without my specialist knowledge, supervision and management. It is in this respect that I submit that the economies imposed, which have resulted in the deletion of my post, are incompatible with the provision of a “comprehensive and efficient library service”.