CHICAGO – America’s library workers remain valuable community assets during tough economic times.
On National Library Workers Day, Wednesday, April 13, 2010, communities across the U.S. will recognize the contributions made by all library workers – including librarians, support staff and others who make library services possible.
“With more businesses – including a majority of America’s leading retailers – requiring online job applications, job-seeking resources are among the most critical and popular resources available in U.S. public libraries,” said American Library Association president Camila Alire. “Libraries don’t just offer the hardware, but also offer the expertise of librarians in helping teach people how to use the Internet and find the information they need quickly. While Google can give you 50,000 responses to your inquiry, your librarian can help you find the one answer you need.”
“Library workers are responsible for a wide variety of services that patrons come to expect from their libraries. They are in charge of more than just checking books in and out of the library. Library workers catalog and shelve materials; handle requests and send them to other libraries; answer phone calls and e-mails; organize programs and events; administer computer networks; update the library’s Web site; select and obtain books, CDs, videos, and databases; and much more. On this day, library workers can show the value of staff and the library to their communities,” says Jenifer Grady, director, of the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA), an affiliate of the American Library Association,
This year, there is a special emphasis on the need for pay equity for library workers, even in this economy. Data from the U.S. Census and a survey of beginning librarians show that female librarian salaries continue to be lower than male library employees. The wage gap for the nation remains with women earning 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Library employees also continue to receive lower salaries in comparison with traditionally male occupations with comparable education requirements and job responsibilities, according to Grady.
In 2008, the ALA-APA passed a resolution endorsing a minimum entry-level salary for professional librarians of $40,000 that is adjusted annually according to the latest cost of living index/CPI data; and a living wage for all library employees of $13 that is adjusted annually in relation to the Federal poverty guidelines. In the current economy, these figures are $42,181/year for professional librarians and $13.52/hour for library employees.
To learn about how you can plan a National Library Workers Day celebration in your community, please visit http://www.ala-apa.org/about/nlwd.html for more information.
The ALA-APA is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to promoting the interests of library workers. ALA-APA established National Library Workers Day in 2003 in order to acknowledge the efforts of library workers nationwide. The theme for National Library Workers Day is “Libraries Work Because We Do,” which focuses on how library services depend on the important work done by each library staff member and department.
For more on National Library Workers Day, here is a podcast with ALA-APA Director Jenifer Grady.