Toronto Public Library Workers Union

Logos

The Toronto Public Library Workers Union (TPLWU) will tomorrow begin conducting a public information picket to warn of the hazards of "staffless libraries," an experimental project now being launched by the Toronto Public Library (TPL) Board at two branches, Todmorden Room in the east end and Swansea Memorial in the west end.

TPL is adding several additional open hours to these branches when they would be otherwise closed under current schedules. During these additional hours, there will be no library staff on-site to assist or come to the aid of patrons.

TPL management intends to conduct the experiment for one year to determine public acceptance before deciding whether to expand the staffless concept to other branches. There are 100 branches in the TPL system, one of the world's largest and busiest.

Access to these staffless branches will be restricted to patrons 18 or older who must pre-register and indemnify TPL before being granted permission to enter them.

Patrons must sign away their legal rights in order to use a staffless library branch

In order to use the library during staffless hours, patrons must agree in writing that the library and the City of Torontowill not be responsible for any damages or injuries that may happen to them while they are in a branch with no staff. The registration form for entry to such branches reads:

"I release the Toronto Public Library Board, the City of Toronto and all their respective employees, officials and representatives from all claims in respect of injury, loss or damage to me, any children accompanying me, or my property, arising due to my attendance at the library branch during extended hours."

The union says that this "We're not liable for anything" clause in the registration agreement is a warning to patrons that they have no rights that they would otherwise have if there were actually staff in that branch. In fact, you have more rights walking outside to the branch than you do by being inside it.

"There is no other city service that requires you to sign away all your rights to hold the City accountable for injury or similar claims," says Brendan Haley, President of the union, "even if the injury happened because of the library's negligence or failure to provide enough security. This is very disturbing and we will advise City Council to look closely at this attempt to deprive patrons of legal rights they would otherwise have."

The initial union information picket will be held between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, Monday, December 3 at two locations: East York Community Centre, 1081-1/2 Pape Ave, (Todmorden Room is adjacent to the Centre), and at the S. Walter Stewart branch, 170 Memorial Park Avenue (the registration site for Todmorden Room).

"This staffless concept is a truly terrible idea for several reasons but the most important is the issue of public safety," says Haley. "If a patron is being harassed during these staffless hours, there will be no one there to come to their aid. Security cameras are to be monitored by a single security guard who will be located at the Toronto Reference Library at Yonge and Bloor. Good luck with the response time."

"To make matters worse, these video cameras will only monitor video, not audio," Haley added. "How are we to monitor verbal abuse and harassment within these branches?" 

"It is unbelievably irresponsible, in a city of three million people, to have no staff presence in public spaces used mainly by individuals. And the idea that an access card available to virtually any Toronto resident 18 or older constitutes "security" would be laughable if not so serious."

"The union has not been consulted 'even for a few minutes' on the potential problems with this experiment. Our warnings are falling on the deaf ears of TPL management."

Haley says the union will be reaching out to the public and City Council in various ways throughout the experiment.

"More access to one of the world's great library systems is a very good idea. Doing so without professional, reliable and trained staff to assist and protect patrons and library assets is definitely not a good idea."

MEDIA ACCESS and INTERVIEWS
TPLWU President Brendan Haley will be available for interviews on Monday at the following locations and times:

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
East York Community Centre 
1081-1/2 Pape Ave
(Todmorden Room is inside the Community Centre)

12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.  
S. Walter Stewart Branch
170 Memorial Park Avenue
(Registration site for Todmorden Room)

SOURCE Toronto Public Library Workers Union - CUPE Local 4948

For further information: Brendan Haley, 647.217.8372

Librarian Glasses

Members Login Here:

Twitter icon

Recent Tweets

Dec 05
RT @wylie_alan: Groundbreaking' community library opens in the Chew Valley https://t.co/H7m35qDz6Z - this volunteer-led ‘library’ is house…
Dec 05
RT @FredHahnCUPE: A great way to spend a #Saturday #Solidarity is a verb #peopleforposties @CUPEOntario @fairwagesnow#onpoli https://t.c
Dec 05
RT @Lindainred @Local4948 @4948Warriors Where can I get one of those signs
Dec 03
#LibraryWarriors out at #stafflless #TodmordenLibrary today. Community members not supportive of library w/o staf… https://t.co/oRbTMA0tBS
Dec 03
RT @4948Warriors: Not to mention that local dollars are being funnelled to a Swiss based company instead of employing young people in our c…
Dec 03
RT @4948Warriors: Alan thank you for all of your work on behalf of our public library. Sadly @torontolibrary world’s busiest urban library…
Dec 03
RT @wylie_alan @4948Warriors @torontolibrary @Local4948 @vbowlestpl @JohnTory @torontolabour @cupenat Solidarity, we have at least 119 ‘st…
Dec 03
RT @wylie_alan @4948Warriors @torontolibrary @Local4948 @vbowlestpl @JohnTory @torontolabour @cupenat The ‘open+’ (staffless library) mode…
Dec 03
RT @4948Warriors: Todmorden and Swansea - for now @Local4948#TOpoli #torontolabour https://t.co/UvpMnkdEql
Dec 03
RT @4948Warriors: Even gets around contract language because no staff is being harmed because there is no staff! Lost opportunities for yo…
Dec 03
RT @LibraryJournal: Toronto Public Library Workers Campaign to Bring Awareness About Dangers of "Staffless Libraries" https://t.co/AjGPSaz8
Dec 03
Toronto Public Library Workers begin campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of #stafflesslibrarieshttps://t.co/Q20AKyyvlF
Dec 01
RT @bravo_alej: The future of a fair city right here https://t.co/IxbC7qeIGj
Dec 01
RT @4948Warriors: Library Warriors at@progresstoronto⁩ event. Growing a progressive voice in TO Here we come #TOpoli @local4948@broadb
Dec 01
RT @4948Warriors: Celebrating a progressive vision of our city with@Brandon4948⁩ and@GShankz⁩ at@progresstoronto⁩ event@Local4948⁩…
Nov 16
A huge thank you to @CUPEOntario and to the awesome @FredHahnCUPE + to all the activists @4948Warriors who spoke… https://t.co/B96YDEMp1X
Nov 15
Respect to @iatse58 members for their courageous fight against a terrible employer. You fought the hard fight.… https://t.co/I3WrM1axK5
Nov 15
RT @TiffanyBalducci: Happening TOMORROW!! Send a message NOW if you haven’t yet! #OMERS #MyOmers https://t.co/AEbh2z35qD
Nov 15
RT @cupe932: Retired and this doesn't affect you? The Ontario Pensions Act is the only thing standing between you and these proposed change…
Nov 15
RT @CIPPOttawa: Today is your last chance to tell the OMERS SC Board to vote NO! to the Proposed Pension Changes visit https://t.co/TigJZ7c
Nov 15
RT @torontolabour: Respect to the members of @iatse58 who stood strong for all these months to defend their contract. We were honoured to s…
Nov 14
Urgent: sign and share! https://t.co/hyQoh5X0FC to stop the cuts to your OMERS pension! The vote is taking place o… https://t.co/Jqb2OcTpZy
Nov 14
Another painful chapter for Longueuil library workers https://t.co/qwBPNYYUdd#longueuil @cupeont @4948Torontohttps://t.co/2JMW9gYP7u
Nov 07
Calgary Library Workers are awesome #NSCC2018 #LibraryWarriors @CUPEOntario#respect https://t.co/qW7ZjuZK9F
Nov 07
RT @fairwagesnow: VIDEO: Here's why #15andFairness is a way BETTER DEAL for #OnPoli's lowest paid workers, than Premier @fordnation's t…
Nov 06
Email your MPP - Fight for $15 and Fairness #NSCC2018@CUPEOntario⁩ Do it now #onpoli @4948toronto#15andFairness… https://t.co/bWqLIsrUVd
Nov 06
@FredHahnCUPE⁩ at #CUPE2018 with fiery address on the dangerous rise of right-wing populism built on hate +divisiv… https://t.co/xrdKYmgpvq
Nov 06
RT @bersonphoto: Excited @CUPEOntario members line-up for start of annual 4 day convention in Toronto #cupe2018 @cupenat#Toronto https://t
Nov 01
Artist Marta Minujín's awesome recreation of the Greek Parthenon constructed from banned books. Built on site of Na… https://t.co/u4iJKK0nRG
Oct 30
RT @cartwrightTO: Huge turnout at Toronto vigil for victims of #PittsburghSynagogueShooting Labour Council joined so many in our city to be…
Oct 30
RT @kristynwongtam: At Mel Lastman Square standing shoulder to shoulder with Torontonians in solidarity with the Jewish community in Pittsb…
Oct 30
RT @m_layton: Toronto standing with Pittsburgh against hate #TogetherAgainstAntisemitism https://t.co/bjhgk0dXT1
Oct 19
#LibraryWarriors all across #onpoli celebrated Ont Lib Wk Oct 14-20 inviting the public to celebrate libaries + th… https://t.co/kXH5fQcmyd
Oct 19
RT @4948Warriors: Monday is Election Day! Go out and support @jen_keesmaat to be the next mayor of Toronto. Municipal elections matter. T…
Oct 15
RT @Brandon4948: It’s #CanadianLibraryMonth. Canadians are most avid readers in the world after Denmark. Continue to visit your local #lib
Oct 15
RT @4948Warriors: Library administrators not only undermine us but show little respect for the work we do. Staffless library case in point.…
Oct 15
Check out "Toronto Mayoral Forum on Affordable Housing and Homelessness" https://t.co/QzfrkttgOw@Eventbrite
Oct 11
RT @jen_keesmaat: The advance polls are officially open! Vote today until Sunday and help me build a Toronto that has better transit, more…
Oct 07
RT @4948Warriors: Our sleigh is full with loaded USB bracelets full of election info going out to Library Warriors @Local4948 across TO. Fo…
ETT
Oct 04
RT @ElemTeachersTO: Live in Scarborough and have a free Saturday? Want to take action for real change instead of tweeting about it #ETT
Oct 04
RT @torontolabour#Election2018 is on OCTOBER 22 Labour Council endorsements for #Toronto & #YorkRegion - https://t.co/OKmLbzHKZj Downlo…
Oct 04
RT @CUPEOntario @FredHahnCUPE: "Bill 148 was brought in to protect the most vulnerable workers in our province. Scrapping it does more tha…
Oct 04
RT @wylie_alan: “Some libraries could be taken out of council hands and given to the community so they can be kept open without draining th…