Last week, 91 University librarians and library staff eligible for retirement — with the exception of senior managers — were offered retirement incentives by letter.

The letter was sent by University Dean of Libraries Paul Courant and stipulated that library employees who agree to retire before Aug. 31, 2009 will be paid an amount equal to nine months of their salary, starting from the effective date of their retirement.

All eligible employees who wish to receive the incentive are expected to communicate their acceptance by July 15, 45 days after receiving the letter. They must also agree to forfeit reemployment eligibility with the University for two years after their retirement date.

Those who accept the offer may receive their nine month salary in two installments or as a lump sum 21 days after retiring.

The letter cited recent and forthcoming library reorganizations and anticipated budget changes as reasons for an expected long-term decrease in library employment.

Despite the recent economic woes, Courant said the economy did not influence library administrators’ decision to offer the incentive, which would ultimately cut down the size of the library staff.

“This was not driven by short-term budget issues at all,” Courant said.

Courant wrote in an e-mail to all University library employees that “the only way for the Library to advance and continue to employ the best people for the right jobs is to gradually shrink the size of the staff over time.”

An official University library budget for the next fiscal year has not been composed, but the University Board of Regents is expected to discuss the issue in its June meeting.

Group informational meetings will be held Fri., June 12, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and Tues., June 16, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Hatcher Gallery of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library to help employees decide whether or not to accept the offer.

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