The writer and poet T.S. Eliot once called libraries the “best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man.” But judging by the concerns of Toronto workers staffing the world’s largest public library system, the future is looking pretty grim.
Jobs have been slashed by 17 per cent since 1998, according to the city’s library worker union, despite a 30 per cent increase in circulation. And while the number of public library managers on the Sunshine List has skyrocketed, around 50 per cent of non-management library jobs are part time — leaving many strapped with irregular hours and limited access to benefits and pensions.
With good job creation a staple of the City of Toronto’s proposed poverty reduction strategy, library workers say the city needs to start by looking at its own standards.