Toronto Public Library Workers Union

Who We Are

The Toronto Public Library Workers Union represents about 2300 full and part-time library workers across the city in 98 branches as well as in administrative and technical support services.

Our Roots

Our roots as a union go back nearly one hundred years to the early days of the 20th century, when Toronto Civic workers began organizing. We are affiliated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees as Local 4948.

Our Members

TPL staff serve the world's busiest library system, with 18.5 million visits a year. Our members are highly educated and dedicated professionals who reflect the diversity of our city and who devote their careers to preserving, organizing, enhancing and making more accessible the vast reservoir of human knowledge found in our libraries. Collectively, they are one of Toronto's most valuable public resources.

Joanna Pinpoint  DSC1083R01
Joanna Cristini

Joanna began working at TPL in 1985 and is a full-time Public Service Assistant. Even after all these years, she continues to love working "in a learning environment" and enjoys "the opportunity to work with other great staff, to help people on a daily basis and to meet new people." She deals with over 200 people a day. The self-checkout machines are not as helpful as had been hoped, Joanna says. "You miss speaking with at least half the number of regular patrons that we used to interact with unless there is a problem with the equipment or their card."

She also finds the security alarm often goes off when people try to self-checkout. They end up having to come back to the staff. 

 

Ryan Pinpoint  DSC0991R01Ryan Saavedra

Since 2009, Ryan has been a full-time librarian who works with children. He was first hired by TPL in 1999. He went to work for TPL in his teens because "it is a great job for high school kids and book lovers." He wanted to become a librarian because he enjoys helping people succeed and improve themselves. He feels that a librarian can play a role in this. "I've seen how much help the library can be to families, communities, newcomers, kids and all sorts of people." Ryan interacts with at least 100 patrons per day. His least favourite things about the TPL are the bureaucracy that stalls new initiatives and the fact that it is a large organization where you'll never meet everyone in every branch.  

 

Eliseo Pinpoint  DSC1480R01Eliseo Zompanti

Eliseo, Branch Head of Rexdale Library, was born in Italy. He immigrated to Canada when he was four years old and has lived in Toronto since, growing up in the Rogers/Weston Road area. In 1980, Eliseo applied for a part-time position as a Page at the York Public Library System, which became part of the TPL after Toronto amalgamation in 1998. In the beginning, working at the library, "…wasn't anything I ever thought I'd stick with," says Eliseo. Despite this, he kept his job all throughout high school and college where he earned a diploma in classical animation from Sheridan College, eventually working his way up to a full-time position.

Eliseo's favourite part about working at TPL is the interaction with people, especially with children who love reading. 

Fitz Pinpoint  DSC0940R01Fitzgerald Steele

Fitzgerald is a full-time Shipper and Driver who has worked for TPL since 1991. When he was first hired, it was just as a job, but he has grown to love his work and the contribution the libraries make to the community. "I enjoy working with the diversity of people at TPL. The quality of service they provide to the public is outstanding. I see it every day," he says. Fitzgerald typically deals with 100 people from the public daily. Since amalgamation he has seen a noticeable decline in the number of staff, which puts a lot of pressure on those who are there to serve the public. "They do a great job but there aren't enough of them. We need more people." Fitzgerald's favourite books are all of the A.K. Lewis series. 

 

Kathleen Pinpoint  DSC1044R01Kathleen Tong

Kathleen is a part-time Answerline Assistant at the Toronto Reference Library. She was hired in 1995. She wanted to work at TPL because she loved the book collections available in one of the world's great library systems. Kathleen's favourite things about working at TPL is the variety of jobs available, working with various groups of people and serving the public. She works with many people every day over the telephone and through the email and chat service.

Her least favourite thing is not being able to help or solve problems for customers. "In any large organization, changes, improvements and solutions often take a very long time to be implemented," she says. "It's no different here." 

Siddhant Pinpoint  DSC1446R01Siddhant Nambiar

Siddhant has been a Page since 2008. He applied to TPL in order to earn money to help put himself through school (he is studying Television Broadcasting) because "I am customer service oriented, enjoy the interaction with patrons and help them find what they need." On a typical shift he helps dozens of library users. Siddhant has observed that the RFID self-checkout systems don't help many patrons in his branch. "They mostly prefer interacting with staff. There's no substitute for the human element."

Siddhant's favourite books are about technology. 

 

Jinkie Pinpoint  DSC1158R01Jinkie David

Jinkie began working at TPL in 1997 as a student and when she completed her university degree she stayed on "because of the great opportunities, the great staff and the great public we work with." She is now a full-time Administrative Support Assistant in Room Bookings. Jinkie was around during amalgamation and says the decrease in staff since then is very noticeable. Although the larger system allowed for more opportunities, she finds that the resources and time you are given to achieve your job have declined, making it not only stressful but impairing her ability to help library users. "You're less engaged with patrons and the library experience suffers. It's not as much of a service as it once was." Nevertheless, she carries on and does her best every day, knowing how vital the library is to so many people. 

Russell Pinpoint  DSC0831R01Russell Hanley

Russell began working at TPL in 1985 and is now a Senior Branch Head. He applied to the library after a stint at a bookstore because he loves reading and connecting people with the materials they want or need. Russell's favourite thing about working at TPL is helping people not only find what materials they want but also helping them with library services, such as helping them learn how to use a computer.

His least favourite thing is the lack of time to spend with patrons who need extended help. "The busyness and the pace of change, combined with staffing shortages can make it difficult to properly serve the public." 

Stephanie Pinpoint  DSC1335R01Stephanie Pagnello

Stephanie has worked part-time as a Public Service Assistant since she began at TPL in 2005. On an average day, she assists 200-300 patrons and enjoys making the library more accessible and useful to users. Her B.A. in Psychology and Certificate in Behavioural Science have helped equip her for interacting with a very wide range of library users and their needs. Like many other part-time library workers, Stephanie hopes to eventually get a full-time position at TPL so that she can settle on library work as a career and put her training and experience to even better use. But staff reductions mean that full-time jobs are few and far between. Indeed, there are fewer full-time positions at TPL today than when she started six years ago, despite steadily growing library use in Toronto. 

 

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May 21
RT @CUPEOntario: The BBQ/rally in solidarity with CUPE 1600 members at the Toronto Zoo was pure PANDAmonium! Visit the support page: https:…
May 21
RT @CUPEOntario: Amazing solidarity action for @cupe1600 today as their team heads back to the table this afternoon #fairdeal #ourTorontoZo
May 21
RT @CUPEOntario: CUPE 1600 is on strike for a #FairContract. Visit the strike support page: https://t.co/Pd4GA0NEmb#OurTorontoZoo https://…
May 21
RT @CUPEOntario: CUPE 1600 is on strike for a #FairContract. Visit the strike support page: https://t.co/Pd4GA0NEmb#OurTorontoZoo https://…
May 21
RT @CUPEOntario: CUPE 1600 is on strike for a fair contract. Visit the strike support page: https://t.co/Pd4GA0NEmb#OurTorontoZoo https://…
May 21
RT @CUPEOntario: CUPE 1600 is on strike for a fair contract. Visit the strike support page: https://t.co/Pd4GA15fKL#OurTorontoZoo https://…
May 21
Another question: who was TPL Board Chair during 2012 library strike who also ignored Torontonians' support for… https://t.co/1ENWpuicRb
May 21
RT @FredHahnCUPE @cllrainslie @cupe1600 @CUPEOntario I read your update - too bad it doesn't reflect reality - spending part of my Victori…
May 21
RT @dmrider: Zoo strike news - union, zoo met today. Zoo demanded more concessions, union said no, talks broke off so strike continues inde…
May 21
RT @CUPEOntario: Important update on the fight for #OurTorontoZoo -- Head to picket lines this weekend if you can :) Read more: https://t.c
May 20
RT @rogerbannisters: Hopes for a quick end to zoo strike dashed https://t.co/CBpsHXpMQC via @torontostar
May 20
RT @janeschmidt: Yesterday, I did more thinking about the next sacred cow I want to tackle. Calling out ineffectual literary philanthropy i…
May 20
RT @clpoolecotnam: Time 2 boost support for @cupe1600 after not reaching a deal at bargaining table yesterday. Picket lines are up this wee…
May 20
RT @CUPE129#OurTorontoZoo workers are amazing - support @cupe1600. Don't downsize @TheTorontoZoo. https://t.co/sQQ3RVuE2k
May 20
RT @CUPE9112#OurTorontoZoo workers of @cupe1600 were willing to compromise they will NOT agree to @theTorontoZoo concessions that threate…
May 20
RT @dmrider: That direction remains confidential but obvious from discussion board voted to not accept union's last offer; want more conces…
May 20
RT @dmrider: So it appears the @TheTorontoZoo will remain closed for the long weekend, no end of the strike in sight at the moment.
May 20
RT @dmrider: Without being able to reveal what that stance is, De Baeremaeker said zoo is "going to war" with its own staff and prolonging…
May 20
RT @tracey_at_5200: Workers who have job security prosper but so do the communities they live & spend in! I support Toronto Zoo Workers! @…
May 20
RT @Local4948: Friday #Solidarity picket @cupe1600#ourTorontoZoo #librarywarriors urge #topoli to ensure fair contract now @4948President
May 20
RT @Local4948#topoli Fairness *now* for @cupe1600#ourTorontoZoo workers @4948President @CUPEOntario @cllrainslie @JohnTory https://t.c
May 19
RT @CUPEOntario: CUPE 1600 is on strike for a fair contract. Visit the strike support page: https://t.co/Pd4GA15fKL#OurTorontoZoo https://…
May 19
RT @CUPEOntario: CUPE 1600 is on strike for a fair contract. Visit the strike support page: https://t.co/Pd4GA0NEmb#OurTorontoZoo https://…
May 19
RT @CUPEOntario: CUPE 1600 is on strike for a #FairContract. Visit the strike support page: https://t.co/Pd4GA0NEmb#OurTorontoZoo https://…
May 19
RT @CUPEOntario: CUPE 1600 is on strike for a #FairContract. Visit the strike support page: https://t.co/Pd4GA0NEmb#OurTorontoZoo https://…
May 19
RT @CUPEOntario: Amazing solidarity action for @cupe1600 today as their team heads back to the table this afternoon #fairdeal #ourTorontoZo
May 19
RT @CUPEOntario: The BBQ/rally in solidarity with CUPE 1600 members at the Toronto Zoo was pure PANDAmonium! Visit the support page: https:…
May 19
RT @cupe1600: LISTEN HERE @cupe1600 prez Christine McKenzie tells @mattgallowaycbc what the #ourtorontozoo strike is all about https://t.c
May 19
RT @cupe1600: Toronto Zoo May 11-not taking away employee job security Toronto Zoo May 12-Imma say opposite of what I said yesterday #ourto
May 19
RT @Local4948#Solidarity @cupe1600 4948President @Brandon4948 @CUPEOntario @cupenat#ourTorontoZoo @CUPE2974 @Cupe1989 @Local4948#toront…
May 19
RT @Local4948#Solidarity #ourTorontoZoo @cupe1600 announce going back to bargaining table! Keep up the pressure @cllrainslie @4948Presi
May 19
RT @Local4948#Solidarity @CUPE1600! Huge support for wrkrs #OurTorontoZoo Back to barg table #topoli @cllrainslie @JohnTory @4948Preside
May 19
RT @Local4948#ourtorontozoo @cupe1600 @cupeont#topoli https://t.co/HXnrQmjw1l
May 19
RT @Local4948: Show solidarity with @cupe1600 buffalo-ing them on Twitter @4948President https://t.co/BOJp5k1MUf@CUPEOntario#ourTorontoZ…
May 18
Show solidarity with @cupe1600 buffalo-ing them on Twitter @4948President https://t.co/BOJp5k1MUf@CUPEOntariohttps://t.co/AtnxgsnCZX
May 18
#Solidarity @CUPE1600! Huge support for wrkrs #OurTorontoZoo Back to barg table #topoli @cllrainslie @JohnToryhttps://t.co/dNigoC983C
May 18
#Solidarity #ourTorontoZoo @cupe1600 announce going back to bargaining table! Keep up the pressure @cllrainsliehttps://t.co/A8iOIWX3AY
May 18
RT @cupe1600: LISTEN HERE @cupe1600 prez Christine McKenzie tells @mattgallowaycbc what the #ourtorontozoo strike is all about https://t.c
May 18
RT @cupe1600: Toronto Zoo May 11-not taking away employee job security Toronto Zoo May 12-Imma say opposite of what I said yesterday #ourto
May 18
You otter be coming out to support Local 1600 today 11 am for solidarity picket + BBQ @4948President @CUPEOntariohttps://t.co/ftWOWAPgiq
May 17
RT @kristynwongtam: May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia #MessageOfTheDay https://t.co/Ke1qwBjreN
May 17
RT @CUPEOntario: Don't forget to join us this Thursday for a solidarity BBQ/Rally with Toronto Zoo workers #OurTorontoZoo RSVP: https://t.
OFL
May 17
RT @OFLabour: Show Zoo workers some Solidarity: Thurs May 18, 11am - 1pm at the main Zoo entrance off Meadowvale.@CUPEOntario https://t.co/