April 13, 2010
National Library Week (April 11-17) is a time to celebrate our public libraries and the people who keep them running. On April 13, communities across the country will also celebrate National Library Workers Day, in recognition of the important work of these employees.
This year’s theme: “Libraries Work Because We Do!”
But 2010’s celebration is also about contemplation as local officials reduce library hours and even shut their doors to balance budgets.
Look at Los Angeles. Encouraged by city officials who are trying to close a $485 million budget shortfall, at least 107 library workers have signed up for early retirement. The move is wreaking havoc. “We can barely get by,” says Roy Stone, president of AFSCME’s Librarians’ Guild Local 2626 (Council 36).
AFSCME, which represents more than 25,000 library workers nationwide, is working to save public services, including libraries. We’re also fighting for pay equity for librarians, most of whom are women.
“At a time when we should be putting people back to work, short-sighted lawmakers are taking away the very tools that will restore the health of our economy,” says AFSCME International President Gerald W. McEntee. “The books and Internet resources found there provide a foundation to build a better future for millions. Our library workers are indispensible.”
To learn more, check out the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA), a nonprofit professional organization established “to promote the mutual professional interests of librarians and other library workers.”