The Needs of the Many….
Driving into work, wondering what will be the official word from the Branch Manager’s meeting, a certain phrase popped into my head, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.” Those who know this famous phrase will remember watching Spock saving the Enterprise from certain doom from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. And to boot, another phrase from the same movie, “How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life, wouldn’t you say?” This was the line delivered by then Admiral Kirk to a young hottie Lt. Saavik played Kirstie Alley earlier in the same movie. Just as those who follow the bible or some other religious text, they use these principles to help guide themselves through life’s more challenging times. I use scifi references which has no less merit.
As you may or may not know, Miami is facing a $400 million budget gap. For the past several years, this gap has existed and somehow, the library has managed to stay pretty much intact. However, the ex-mayor Carlos Alvarez was voted out of office for his raising of property taxes earlier this fiscal year. The new mayor would not only have to repeal those increases but issue further saving measures; this is exactly what is taking places. Of course, this will have to go the commissioners to be voted as well as several public hearings before the final vote.
In my past entry, I noted that on the proverbial chopping block, 13 public libraries will be closed including mine. There will be no Sunday hours, no S.M.A.R.T. (free tutoring) and reduction in bookmobile services. In addition, 191 positions will also be eliminated. This year, the threat will become an actuality; in my opinion. So, how does the two scifi quotes fit in?
When dealing with the needs of the many, I saw this as two-fold. First, there are many staff members that are close to retirement. If their benefits remain the same or is slightly less, I would say to those few…leave. Leave your position now to help save those who need long term employment. This is not to say so long and don’t let the door hit you on the way out but they exodus will help lower the number of other staff members being let go overall. It’s not as if, we are going to make those who retire or take early retirement into Soylent Green; right?
What I just talked about was an internal need of the many; now there is an external need of the many. In the face of the budget gap, as much as I believe that library services are as important as other higher county priorities, the library needs to take a hit. There needs to be closures of libraries in order to preserve critical services such as fire, police and health services. In the face of losing my position, I say this, just as Spock sacrificed himself, so will I. Spock the saw the larger picture. As a business major in college, I see the big picture and closing some branches is better than closing all the branches.
On to the last quote, “How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life, wouldn’t you say?” It is important to note that we never want to be in a situation where our thoughts and fears of losing a job should promote one to act negatively or be harsh to others. For example, I am writing on this blog to express myself in a rash and calm demeanor. Plus it is an outlet for my thoughts to live some place else instead of my mind only where it can fester. If I were to write or say the first thing that comes to mind about this issue, there would be more, as Spock would say, colorful metaphors to convey those feelings. I don’t want to tread down that avenue.
What if I blogged the fact that I did not like the fact that administrators get paid more than I do by two – three times? I freakin’ hate it but that is not the issue. Yet, some attacks on them are taking place on local news article because of that point. There is plenty of blame to go around but I would rather argue that based on their salaries, if there were to be cuts, one admin salary would help save two – three position in the library. I would STRONGLY support that point in my blog. Again, this goes back to the needs of the many points I mentioned earlier. And until the final vote has passed, as much as I feel demotivated right now, I have to continue to press forward as a librarian who continues to show his passions and the service to his community as if I my library was still here tomorrow. This is how I will choose to act in the face of potential personal doom. How about you?