by Kurt Weber
A likely contract between Library Systems & Services, LLC and Jackson County, Oregon would reduce annual operating costs from $8.75 million to $4.3 million. The 15-branch Jackson County Library Systems has been closed since early April, due to the anticipated end of a federal timber payments program.
The $4.3 million contract is approximately one-half of two library bond measures that area voters rejected last May and November 2006. Local 503 of the Service Employees International Union had also submitted a bid for the work.
Library hours will be shortened. However, according to an August 22 article posted on TheUnionNews.com, “Jim Olney, executive director of the Jackson County Library Foundation, told the [Medford Mail Tribune] that, without a union contract, volunteers could do more library work.”
Absent a union contract, more volunteer opportunities open up? I have not read the union contract(s) of which Olney speaks. That said, it is nice to know book lovers in Southern Oregon will probably soon have more opportunities to volunteer at the library.