October is Canadian Library Month, a time to celebrate library workers and the vital public services they provide to all Canadians.
The pandemic is shining a spotlight on the important role that library workers play in keeping our communities connected. In March, libraries across the country shut their doors to the public in response to COVID-19. Many CUPE library workers were temporarily laid off while others were told to work from home. Libraries have since reopened, many with limited services.
But despite the interruption, library workers have stepped up in response to the increased demand for online and digital services including e-books, online orders and reservations. Library workers are posting children’s story time and sing-a-longs on YouTube, are reaching out to vulnerable populations including the homeless, are offering curbside pickup of library materials, are delivering books and DVD’s to child-care centres and other care facilities, are helping people apply for jobs and government services online, and are taking the time to clean and disinfect book covers, DVD’s, and physical surfaces to safe-guard public health and safety.
Library workers deliver quality programs and services that are at the heart of the community. But library workers face challenges that negatively impact service delivery including reduced funding, program and service cuts, reduced staffing levels, increased workloads, and precarious work. But library workers are fighting back and winning!
So, as we celebrate Canadian Library Month, a big thank you to the thousands of CUPE library workers who have gone the extra mile to provide services to Canadians. We also encourage members and locals to celebrate Canadian Library Worker Day on October 16. Campaign materials include a bookmark and poster with our theme Library Workers Bring Your Library to Life, which are available at https://cupe.ca/library-workers-bring-your-library-life.