National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota

Resolution A08-01

 

WHEREAS, The Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library in Faribault, referred hereinafter as the Library, has for more than fifty years been the public library for blind and other persons who cannot read the printed page; and

 

WHEREAS, there are currently more than twelve thousand active patrons while there are many more who do not know they are eligible to use this library under the law; and

 

WHEREAS, over seventy percent of those served by this library are also senior citizens for whom this service has added significance as they often have lost their vision later in their lives; and

 

WHEREAS, this library circulates nearly three hundred thousand books and magazines in braille, talking book, and large print formats each year; and

 

WHEREAS, the Library has, in theory, 11.5 positions with which to provide this service even though library standards suggest that they need more than twice that number to handle this level of circulation; and

 

WHEREAS, circumstances over the past four years have resulted in the Library most commonly operating with three unfilled positions with these positions being continuously unfilled since the end of 2006; and

 

WHEREAS, the library received permission after clearing a number of hurtles to fill these positions in January, 2008, only to once again be caught by circumstances in the form of a state hiring freeze which prevented this from happening; and

 

WHEREAS, this hiring freeze appears to be interpreted differently by various parts of state government, with some believing it is intended to limit staff expansion while others believe it prevents the filling of positions that simply happened to be unfilled at the time of the freeze as is the case for the library; and

 

WHEREAS, two of the three positions the Library is prevented from filling are funded by federal dollars and therefore do not even impact the state budget; and

 

WHEREAS, this on-going problem of unfilled positions is resulting in a reduction of service and heavier workloads for the remaining staff with no end in sight:  Now therefore

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention assembled this fifth day of October in the city of Rochester, Minnesota, that this organization call upon the Department of Education and the office of Governor Tim Pawlenty to allow the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library to proceed to fill the three positions that happened to be unfilled at the time of the hiring freeze, only one of which impacts state dollars; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if some resolution of this problem is not set in motion before the end of 2008 that this organization seek a solution through legislative activity by raising the awareness of the legislature regarding this unfair situation or by causing legislative action to be taken.