October 24, 2014

Librarians question Kander’s motives (AUDIO)

Missouri’s librarians are wondering what the Secretary of State’s real reasons are for eliminating ten people from the state library staff.

Missouri Library Association President Carol Smith of Warrensburg says Secretary of State Jason Kander’s claims that he’s shifting resources to provide more help to local libraries is suspect.

The state librarian, who works under Kander, told ten staff members last Thursday that their positions are being eliminated at the end of the fiscal year. Kander has not made himself available to explain his actions. His spokesman has released a statement saying the shifts will make more federal and state funds available to state libraries.

Smith says it’s peculiar that Kander would take these actions without saying consulting with libraries about their needs. “We do not have a full picture but nor do they seem willing to provide one,” she says.

The Senate appropriations chairman says cutting staff does not guarantee the legislature will appropriate their salaries for some other purpose in the next state budget.

Smith is asking Kander to meet with association leaders to explain his plans.