Our libraries are much more than just a space to house books and reference material. They are important community and cultural hubs that play a vital role in promoting important democratic values and life-long learning.
But the quality of services is being undermined by the increasingly precarious nature of work. Precarity is now extremely common in the library sector. Nearly 45 per cent of CUPE library workers are part-time, while that number is over 70 per cent for library clerks.
The rise of precarity jeopardizes the provision of quality services. It is challenging to recruit new workers and retain existing library staff when the compensation is poor and the work is insecure. The loss of skills and de-professionalization is another negative fallout of precarity.
CUPE, which represents 22,000 workers in libraries across Canada, has raised this issue on a number of occasions, including at the Canadian Library Association’s annual conference.
For more information on precarious work in libraries, have a look at this fact sheet, produced by CUPE Research.