Staffing woes force Sunday closures for capital city library

November 2, 2021 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The library system serving Ohio’s capital city and some surrounding suburbs will close on Sundays for at least the next two months because of ongoing staffing shortages related to the coronavirus pandemic, library officials said Tuesday.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library normally employs about 870 full and part-time staff but currently has almost 160 unfilled positions, said library spokesperson Ben Zenitsky. The system furloughed more than 600 workers last year following stay-at-home orders that shuttered businesses across the state.

The library will close its downtown facility and 23 neighborhood and suburban branches on Sundays beginning next week at least through the first week of January when officials will assess the employment situation.

Columbus isn’t alone in facing staffing problems, said Michelle Francis, executive director of the Ohio Library Council. The council’s internal job posting service is averaging 100 open library jobs statewide each day compared to 30 before the pandemic, and the overall need is likely much higher, Francis said.

All employers are experiencing trouble hiring workers, “and we are no different,” she said.