Joe Hodnicki at the Law Librarian Blog has a disturbing status report on the situation at Tulane University Law School, and specifically the law library:
Relative to the consequences to the Law Library staff, here is what one person posted on a library listserv yesterday:
I just got off the phone with a friend from Tulane (who was in tears) and [the] news is true. I believe that 9 people were fired from the law library and 12 are left. It is definitely a campus-wide situation and many from Tulane's main library have been fired also. People are scrambling to get health insurance and make other important life decisions. They have been told that all non-essential personnel are being fired; length of service has nothing to do with the decision! How sad for us all.
Non-essential. Pleading poverty. This situation just does not pass my smell test.
The Law Library Before Katrina
The Law Library lost its director in 2004. The committee, under under the recommendation of one of its members, the University Librarian, declared its search a failure and appointed said University Librarian to run the operations of the Law Library, removing the law library's then-Head of Public Services as acting director.
The University Librarian's management has not been pro forma--leaving the law library to be run by the law librarians--but rather he has taken the opportunity to institute many changes. Morale at the law library has been very low, which is very well known. All this was before Katrina.
Immediately before Katrina, the Law Library had extended an job offer to a new head of access services, which it then withdrew. It has since eliminated every department head, to wit: it now lacks its Director, Head of Public Services, Head of Access Services, and Head of Technical Services. There appears to be no commitment to fill any of these positions. Moreover, the University Librarian has decided to outsource all binding operations for all libraries (hence the firing of all those personnel), and there is talk about merging the cataloging and technical services.