We Lost Two Giants in the Library World

This year, we lost two giants in the advocacy fight for pay equity for library workers. Michele (Mike) M. Leber and Margaret Myers both passed away this year.

Michele (Mike) M. Leber was particularly active as the leader of the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) working to close the wage gap. She also served on the Better Salaries/Pay Equity Task Force which was created by American Library Association President (2002-03) Maurice (Mitch) J. Freedman. The mission of the TF was to provide librarians and library workers with the information, resources, and tools to enable them to advocate and negotiate, individually or collectively, for improved compensation and pay equity. Mike worked tirelessly as an active advocate for pay equity issues. Mike passed away on January 1, 2021. Find more information on Michele M. Leber visit this page

Margaret Myers served as director of the ALA Office for Library Personnel Resources – OLPR (now, the ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment – HRDR) from 1974 to 1995 when she retired to join the Peace Corps.  She also served as part-time executive secretary for the former ALA Library Education Division from 1974-78.  She was staff liaison to several ALA committees and roundtables, including the Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship (COSWL), the Committee on Education (COE) and Committee on Pay Equity. She also worked with members in establishing the Library Support Staff Round Table (LSSIRT). Just as Leber did, Myers too served on the Better Salaries/Pay Equity Task Force. Myers received the first ALA Equality Award in 1984 for her leadership in promoting equal opportunities for women and minorities.  She authored numerous articles on library education and human resources. Margaret Myers passed away on February 5, 2021.

Both Leber and Myers received numerous accolades from various organizations. In 2008, both were honored as ‘ALA-APA Angels’ because they helped ALA-APA grow and flourish in its missions of providing certification and supporting better salaries. They touched so many lives and paved the way for generations of library workers. They will be missed.

Photo of the first Better Salaries Task Force

Front Row from Screen Left: Mike Leber, Margaret Myers,
Kathleen de la Peña McCook, 2002-2003 ALA President Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman, Task Force Coordinator Patricia Glass Schuman, Patricia Smith

Center Row from Screen Left: Harriet Selverstone, Sha Fagan, Jenna Freedman, Rosemary Mesh, Joan Goddard, Donna Mandel, Carol Brey, Cathy Bremer, Yvonne Farley, Jill Uncyk

Far Back Row from Screen Left: Norm Jacknis, Tom Wilding, Gene Kinnaly