The Harvard University Library Executive Director Helen Shenton just announced a plan to restructure the Harvard library system and make it more "efficient."
She plans to fund this by laying off some workers and restructuring the jobs of others. She threatened to cut jobs by “voluntary and involuntary means,” leaving library workers anxious by refusing to provide details about the plan and recommending that they upload their resumes online.
Unemployment rates are still at record highs, making it nearly impossible to find new jobs, especially for older workers. At the same time, Harvard’s endowment just jumped 21% to $32 billion.
Harvard's libraries are not overstaffed: in fact, they're still recovering from staff cuts three years ago. Our university has the money to keep all of its workers employed.
A petition started by a library worker notes that “college and university librarians and library workers contribute to the advancement of scholarship of the academic community.”
As members of the Harvard community, we care both about the academic quality of our libraries and the ethical quality of our university. Thus, we demand that Harvard not lay off library workers while it has the money to keep them and that any restructuring of the librariestake place with consideration for the workers who staff them.
We students, faculty, and staff join Harvard library workers in demanding: NO LAYOFFS AT HARVARD LIBRARIES.