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V&A Walks Back Planned Cuts to National Arts Library Staff

V&A Walks Back Planned Cuts to National Arts Library Staff


V&A Walks Back Planned Cuts to National Arts Library Staff

London’s Victoria & Albert Museum bowed to public pressure after its announced plans to combine the V&A Research Institute, the National Art Library (NAL), and the V&A Archives to form a centralized research unit—which would mean shuttering the library for a year and cutting two-thirds of its staff—sparked outrage, The Art Newspaper reports. More than ten thousand people signed a petition protesting “cuts and access restrictions at the NAL,” prompting the museum to announce that all library staff, as well as those working in the theater and performance archives, will retain their jobs through the government’s furlough program.“Since the consultation launched, the government has subsequently announced the extension of the furlough scheme,” said the V&A in a statement. “Thanks to this additional support, we have brought an improved proposal to staff and TU [trade union] colleagues—to keep all 30 National Art Library and Theatre & Performance archive staff on board, utilising the furlough scheme.” All twenty of the jobs that would have been axed under the previous plan have been confirmed safe.The museum has said that it will instead appoint a senior librarian consultant, who will assess library and visitor experience services. The V&A is expected to reopen in May, with the NAL tentatively scheduled to reopen in December once the assessment is complete.The initial plan was part of the cash-strapped institution’s larger initiative aimed at trimming roughly $14 million from its annual budget by 2023. Director Tristram Hunt outlined a program that would cost 20 percent of staff their jobs and would involve the combining of departments and the chronological restructuring of the museum’s collections, which have to date been organized by material.


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