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Yiddish institute YIVO, facing budget shortfall, lays off its library staff

(JTA) — The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, which preserves and promotes the study of Eastern European and Yiddish culture, has laid off four librarians to make up for a budget shortfall.

The news was first reported by the Forward, which reported that the layoffs constitute the entire library staff.

“Despite this very difficult decision and the loss of valued staff, the YIVO library will remain open to the public and scholars with the support of other YIVO staff until such time as we can rebuild our library staff,” the institute said in a statement posted on social media.

The institute’s archival staff, “who have an intimate knowledge of the workings of the YIVO Library,” will assist with the library in the meantime, the statement said.

YIVO had a $550,000 revenue shortfall in 2019, since most of its revenue comes with donor restrictions, according to the Forward. The institute had 39 employees before the firing and reported spending of $5.1 million in 2018.

Its library contains 400,000 books, newspapers and other publications, according to the Forward. It is separate from the archive and its 23 million items.