For Immediate Release
Contact: Nick Voutsinos

AFSCME’s Saunders on National Library Week: Now more than ever, library workers must have a seat at the table

WASHINGTON – AFSCME President Lee Saunders released the following statement recognizing National Library Week, which runs from April 23-29, 2023:

“Whether they’re introducing us to our next favorite book or teaching new skills like how to code or start a business, library workers are the backbone of our communities. So much of the important work they do is behind the scenes – from managing online collections to archiving our history to building bookshelves and maintaining libraries’ physical space.

“While these workers have ensured the library is a welcoming space for all, they deal with tremendous challenges. When the opioid epidemic spiked, library workers learned how to use Narcan so they could save lives. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many libraries stayed open to ensure that people were able to access the vital services they provide. Now, these front-line heroes are facing both budget cuts and censorship threats that hurt their ability to protect their communities and preserve our freedoms. If that’s not enough, widespread staffing shortages are making library workers’ jobs harder than ever.

“This National Library Week, we must respond to this moment by continuing to organize for respect and dignity. With a seat at the table, union library workers have the power in numbers they need to negotiate for improvements that benefit themselves and their communities. For many Americans, the library is one of the only places where they can seek refuge and find help, and they’re counting on us to keep library doors open.”