COVID-19 and FY2021 Budget Impacts
Arlington Public Library continues to work closely with the Arlington County Government leadership and the Department of Public Health to make decisions about Library operations. These decisions are made carefully and in consideration of a range of factors including budget, staffing models, demand for services and community health conditions.
As the economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic continue, Arlington County is working to close a projected $28 to $39 million budget gap between County expenses and revenues in the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2021. To close the FY 2021 budget gap, the County will use a number of approaches including service reductions and delayed facility openings. (Please see the County’s full press release to learn how the entire FY 2021 budget gap will be closed and for information on how to give feedback to the County Board.)
What Does This Mean for the Library?
The Library is operating with significantly less staff than pre-pandemic and will continue to do so for the remainder of the fiscal year. The Arlington County Government hiring freeze, in place since March 2020, affects the Library’s ability to fill vacant positions and to use temporary workers to achieve our typical staffing levels.
Why Can't We Do More?
At present, current staffing levels allow for the operation of the 7-day a week Holds Pickup service at Central Library and book drops at six branch locations. The Holds Pickup service is a more labor-intensive staffing model than our normal way of doing business, due to health and safety considerations for patrons and staff.
What Are Our Next Steps?
Providing equitable access to our services remains a priority for Arlington Public Library. Library leadership will work to reevaluate and rebalance offered services to increase access to Library collections.
Any additional services would be offered at limited locations and for limited hours and will mean a reduction in the hours of the Holds Pickup service at Central Library. Stay tuned for an update on services in December.