Volume 6, No. 5 • May 2009



  • The Green Knight: Sustainability @ the Library

    A library wears many hats: information center, life-long educational institution and community advocator, to name a few. Now, it seems, that environmental activist can be added to that list. And for good reason: libraries, by reputation as well as by practice, are leaders in the information landscape, from the early adoption of emerging technologies to the active defense of intellectual freedom. As words like ‘green living’ are increasingly entering the public consciousness, libraries are once again rising … Read the rest


  • Indianapolis (IN) Librarians Use Patience to Win Union Battle

    Because Indiana law does not give collective bargaining rights to public employees, workers at the Indianapolis Marion County Library waged a four-year battle with the library board to pass a resolution allowing collective bargaining. With the aid of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the 225 library employees organized and won board approval, and in April 2009 they signed a collective bargaining contract.

    AFSCME Council 62 Executive … Read the rest

  • Budget Roundup: Seattle (WA) Library to Close for a Week To Save Money

    As a part of efforts to reduce its budget by $13.3 million, the City of Seattle City Council will close the Seattle Public Library [AFSCME Local 2083] for the last week of August.

    The library, in addition to this furlough, will receive a budget cut of $1 million. According to The Seattle Courant, libraries are among those hardest hit by loss of real estate tax revenue.… Read the rest

  • Library Locals (NY) Slam Post Lies

    The presidents of three New York City library locals firmly reject recent claims that retired NewYork library employees receive disproportionately large pensions.

    The claims, made by the New York Post in a February 24 editorial, were refuted by AFSCME AFL-CIO District Council 37’s Carol Thomas (New York Library Guild Local 1930), Eileen Muller (Brooklyn Library Guild Local 1482) and Margalit Susser (Queens Library Guild Local 1321).

    According to The Post, “some of … Read the rest

Career Advancement

  • Coping with Changes in Job Descriptions: A Survival Guide

    While those of us lucky enough to have jobs might feel guilty complaining about workplace stress, employees throughout the nation face the strain of changing job descriptions. Restructuring of employee organization, reduction in work hours or even downsizing may shift the balance in an organization. My library, which is a small organization to begin with, lost one of our full-time staff members to a career change. Budget issues have not allowed for a replacement and, as a … Read the rest


  • Becoming a Better Public Library Manager with CPLA®

    The American Library Association (ALA) wants to help. In addition to the myriad of professional development offerings from ALA divisions and units, ALA is the sponsor of a national certification program for public librarians who want to improve their management skills. The Certified Public Library Administrator Program (CPLA®) is a key tool for librarians who envision management in their futures, who are already managers but need to acquire or refresh their skills. Candidates and graduates cite many benefits to the … Read the rest

  • Certified Public Library Administrator Program (CPLA®) Seeks Courses and Instructors

    The American Library Association is the headquarters for the Certified Public Library Administrator Program (CPLA®) which is a national certification program. The CPLA® program model focuses on giving public library managers competency in nine standard areas:

    Core Competencies

    • Budget and Finance
    • Management of Technology
    • Organization and Personnel Administration
    • Planning and Management of Buildings

    Elective Competencies

    • Current Issues
    • Fundraising
    • Marketing
    • Politics and Networking

    Service to Diverse Populations

    The program invites all state libraries, state associations, library schools, trainers and independent consultants … Read the rest

HR Practice

  • Ethics, Chocolate and Beer

    Business ethics is a way of approaching business decisions systematically, a tool for helping managers to make choices that are often difficult. It involves articulating a coherent set of values for a business and trying to set decision making within the context of these values.

    —Elizabeth Vallance

    The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

    —Groucho Marx

    We all deal in business ethics so often that … Read the rest


  • Learning Online: A Report on Distance Education in LIS Programs

    With the advent of increased technology and better means for appropriating that technology, online LIS programs have become increasingly viable for library school students and increasingly valued by the employers who hire those students. Students may now attend schools with fewer limits on where the school is located and whether they have the time and physical means to attend traditional classes. In her article, “eLearning: Libraries Increasingly Help Steer the Ship,” Ericka Bennett discusses the perceived status … Read the rest


  • National Library Workers Day Statistical Wrap-Up

    National Library Workers Day worked because you did! ALA-APA received 735 Stars nominations this year, an increase of 150% over last years’ tally, 490. Library employees and patrons from across the country and around the world shared the stellar qualities of their local library workers. This year submissions of great supervisors and students were encouraged.  In fact, a library school student at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information, Rachael Medina, was our public relations … Read the rest

Support Staff

  • Thelma

    Editors’ note: In celebration of National Library Workers’ Day and the bonds library workers form with their communities, we profile library paraprofessional Doris Bragg. Her story illustrates how the library brings together those with different needs—and, sometimes, with different numbers of legs.

    In October of 1999, I began work as a clerk at the Madison County Library in Danielsville, Georgia. It is a small library in a mostly rural area with a very friendly population. In the … Read the rest


  • National Library Workers Day: How Did Your Library Celebrate?

    Thank you for dedicating time, money, resources and thoughtfulness to celebrating National Library Workers Day! This year ALA-APA received 150 percent more Stars submissions than 2008 (a record 735, up from 490!). In addition, we received emails describing ways that libraries around the nation celebrated employee contributions on Tuesday, April 14th. Below we profile the ways libraries chose to make merry. Whether NLWD is a time-honored tradition at your library (this is the sixth celebration year), or … Read the rest

HR Law

  • Gender Pay Gap Narrows among Federal Employees

    A new study indicates that the long-recognized pay gap between men and women is shrinking, at least among employees in the public sector.

    Between 1998 and 2007, the pay difference between male and female federal employees decreased from 19 cents to 11 cents on the dollar.

    According to the Government Accountability Office, who released the report, 4 cents of the 11 cent gap may be attributed to quantifiable factors including the type of jobs held and differences in education levels.… Read the rest