Resolution 2012-03: Regarding staffing problems at the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped


WHEREAS, the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH), located in the Division of Library Development and Services, Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), is the major provider of reading materials for blind children, adults and senior citizens throughout the state; and


WHEREAS, LBPH serves over ten thousand patrons, and requires the services of a competent director to manage its many complex operations; and


WHEREAS, from May 1, 2012, LBPH has been forced to operate without a full time director, and MSDE has only belatedly begun its search for qualified candidates to fill this position; and


WHEREAS, from 2010 to the present, MSDE has found it expedient to implement a makeshift  arrangement whereby the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) provides some funding for LBPH, and  in return LBPH staff must provide direct services to DORS clients; and


WHEREAS, since the beginning of this arrangement, DORS has increased its demands on LBPH staff, and if unchecked, these demands will continue to increase; and


WHEREAS, this arrangement, while advantageous to DORS, has a detrimental effect on LBPH services, because it currently prevents at least four LBPH staff members from performing their regularly assigned duties, such as staffing the reference desk, duplicating digital books and mailing them to patrons; and


WHEREAS, the textbook program at LBPH, intended to assist college students to procure textbooks in alternative formats, has also been seriously damaged by this arrangement because the director of this program is now required to spend three work days of each week at DORS; and


WHEREAS, since the textbook program is operated only by a director and an assistant, MSDE has further failed in its responsibilities by not replacing that assistant who vacated this position in August 2012; and


WHEREAS, for many years, LBPH has also been grossly understaffed according to guidelines recommended by the American Library Association; Now, therefore,


BE IT RESOLVED, by the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, in Convention assembled this eleventh day of November, 2012, in the city of Annapolis, Maryland, that this organization insists that MSDE immediately take steps  to hire a full time director for LBPH, and also take prompt action to fill other vacancies at LBPH; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this organization strongly urges MSDE to examine how it funds LBPH in order to eliminate the regressive and damaging partnership between DORS and LBPH so that LBPH may carry out its mission to serve the reading needs of blind Marylanders.