Thursday, June 17, 2010

Black Thursday

Despite valiant efforts by staff and supporters, over 100 Los Angeles Public Library employees were laid off today.

As they came in to work, supervisors gave them their packets, explained that their positions had been eliminated, and asked them to clear their desks and leave. It was excruciating for the laid off workers, for their supervisors, for their co-workers, and for all of us at LAPL. Many of us wore black to mark the day.

I haven't seen a list of all the employees who lost their jobs today and we won't know the final tally until everyone has been notified. It is certain, though, that among them are many librarians who have served youth in their communities with passion and creativity. My heart is breaking that the City has torn these librarians away from us and the young people and families of Los Angeles.

If that isn't bad enough, Central Library and all of our 72 branches will be reduced to 5-days-a-week service starting July 6, after having had our Sundays and 2 nights cut last April.

I do think that there are some incredible innovations and improvements in store for LAPL in the next couple years. We have new administrators who are brave and creative, and good things are already in the works.

But I'm in anguish that we must go forward without our brothers and sisters who have been laid off today.

June 17, 2010 - Black Thursday.


  1. Thanks for mentioning our heartache.

  2. I grieve for the laid-off library workers and for the people in Los Angeles who will miss their services. What an awful day.

  3. Also, Eva, we lost more than 100. There were 100 FTE positions and 60 of them were messenger clerks who work half time, so we lost 120 messenger clerks, 20 clerk typists and 20 librarians. Truly a sad, sad day.

  4. Librarians and the people who work in libraries are so very needed by the communities that they serve. It's tight times, just about everywhere it seems. What a hideous and short-sighted decision to let go of so many. My thoughts are with everyone at LAPL, people staying, and those who are leaving.

  5. One of the really bad elements of this whole procedures was that it came just at the beginning of the Summer Reading Program. The Children's and YA Librarians that were laid off will leave a huge hole in the activities for those summer reading programs. I fault the library administration for not pushing for a delay simply because of these important programs.

  6. I agree with the previous comment - the timing was terrible. I was personally supposed to go on a class visit to a preschool that day, I was supposed to go a block party for SRC sign-ups today, and I was laid off a week before my programs officially began. I'm really the most upset about not being able to even start my summer reading club, which I've spent months preparing for. The library administration should've petitioned for us to stay through these programs.

  7. Black Thursday-- the day "L.A." became an abbreviation for Library Abolition.