Wednesday, April 18, 2007

On National Library Workers Day, AFSCME Vows to Press Fight for Critical Funding

— America’s largest union for library workers today commemorated National Library Workers Day by calling on federal, state and local lawmakers to properly fund library services and honor the professionals who educate our youth and nourish the minds of readers of all ages.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, represents more than 20,000 library workers nationwide and has been a leading advocate for pay increases for library workers and for adequate funding for the public facilities they operate.

“In these challenging economic times, libraries are being used more than ever, even as their budgets are cut and workers are laid off,” said AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee. “It’s time for our leaders to recommit to funding libraries as a critical investment in our future by providing library workers with the pay, support and respect they deserve.”

National Library Week began on April 15, and AFSCME took the opportunity to recognize children’s author Susan Patron—a senior librarian with the Los Angeles Public Library and a member of AFSCME Local 2626 (Council 36)—for her latest literary achievement.

In Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, AFSCME took out an ad to celebrate the special accomplishment of Patron, whose newest book, “The Higher Power of Lucky,” was awarded this year’s prestigious John Newbery Medal, the highest honor in children’s literature.

“Library workers are among the most talented, dedicated and resilient public employees serving our communities,” McEntee said. “They are fighting to ensure the privacy rights of readers while promoting reading and lifelong learning. They have deftly adapted to the demand of the digital age while keeping libraries running on shoestring budgets. On National Library Workers Day, we are proud to pay tribute to these extraordinary public employees for all that they do.”

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