April 12, 2011
Today, in the midst of budget cuts to libraries across the country, we celebrate National Library Workers Day and recognize the important services provided by library workers under increasingly difficult circumstances.
The American Library Association issued their State of America’s Libraries 2011 report yesterday, noting that Americans are using libraries more than ever to get help finding a job or launching their own business. The report also details the funding challenges faced by libraries — 19 states reported cuts in state funding for public libraries, and of these, more than half saw cuts greater than 10 percent. But there is some good news: when the issue is brought to a ballot, voters overwhelmingly choose to entrust libraries with tax dollars.
In a recent Washington Post story, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Lee A. Saunders warned against shortsighted plans to privatize libraries:
“Privatization often sticks the community with the risk while privatizing the profits. Private contractors can — and too often do — shortchange the public by cutting corners, hiring less qualified staff and paying lower wages”
For valuable information about libraries and library workers, check the AFL-CIO’s Library Workers: Facts & Figures 2010 fact sheet. Follow @AFSCMELibraries on Twitter for more throughout National Library Week.