In response to an expected 45% cut in funding from the state, St. Paul-based Minnesota Historical Society Press (MHSP) announced this morning that it will decrease its annual book production by 30% and eliminate four positions from its 11-person staff. The Minnesota Historical Society, of which MHSP is a part, is expecting a 16% cut in its entire budget. A final decision on the budget is expected in late May or early June when Governor Tim Pawlenty and the state legislature announce an overall state budget for the upcoming biennium, which begins July 1.

Pam McClanahan, MHSP’s publisher told PW that the four positions to be cut pending final approval of the state’s budget will include two in editorial, and two in administrative support. She did not disclose the identities of those employees whose jobs have been identified for elimination should the budget cuts be approved by the legislature. The press, which has published books in 15 categories, will focus on publishing books in five core areas: Native American Studies, Environment and the Land (which also includes nature/travel and tourism/food and cookery), the Immigration Experience, Scandinavian Studies, and teaching Minnesota history, primarily at the high school, community college, and university level.

Looking on the bright side of a gloomy situation, McClanahan said, “This will make our staff numbers more in line with other small presses, like Graywolf. We feel confident that by reducing the number of books we publish, we’ll come out okay.”

MHSP released 30 titles last year, of which five are Minnesota Book Award nominees. The press grossed $1.4 million in sales in fiscal year 2008.