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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Jan 14
RT @joemihevc: Toronto has grown up, and it’s time to pay the cost https://t.co/4V1iQ1YWI0 via @torontostar
Jan 14
RT @wylie_alan: What's not being talked about re Carillion is the damage they've done to the 4 public library services they manage or manag…
Jan 14
RT @torontolabour: Labour Council's Mohammed Hashim helps Muslims and Jews find common ground in faith, hope — and security https://t.co/XK
Jan 14
RT @cartwrightTO: Tell Trudeau that #Trump not welcome in Canada. Sign the @CouncilofCDNs petition + pass it on! https://t.co/2ssTnrM5D0 No…
Jan 14
RT @wylie_alan: Jeez how many times do I have to say this I'm NOT opposed to volunteers assisting library staff as long as it's within clea…
Jan 13
RT @myonlinelifenow @torontolibrary @CTVNews It's impressive to see just how much our the TPL does for it's residents in communities acros…
Jan 13
RT @myonlinelifenow @torontolibrary @CTVNews It's impressive to see just how much our the TPL does for it's residents in communities acros…
Jan 11
RT @m_layton @laurasfash @torontolibrary @Local4948 @reblackatweet I’ve tracked down clarification. Issue debutant raising was with a 2016…
Jan 11
RT @rankandfileca: Congrats to @OPSEU on organizing roughly 20,000 PT college support staff workers! What a great day for #Ontario workers!…
Jan 10
RT @MichaelPolanyi: Diane Dyson shares how much pre-amalgamation services (good pools, libraries, museums, school snacks and childcare) hel…
Jan 10
RT @torontolabour: Congratulations to part-time #CollegeWorkers who just gained a union voice with @OPSEU - largest organizing victory in C…
Jan 10
Coming soon to Swansea and Todmorden @torontolibrary Sigh Big sigh @Local4948#precariouswork @cupenat @CUPEOntariohttps://t.co/8tlQXxFQfI
Jan 10
RT @rankandfileca: Congrats to @OPSEU on organizing roughly 20,000 PT college support staff workers! What a great day for #Ontario workers!…
Jan 10
RT @jpags.@planningtoronto's Sean Meagher: "Council spent hundreds of millions of dollars putting the Gardiner Expressway on stilts from…
Jan 10
RT @OPSEU: Historic victory for precarious workers! Thousands of college part-time support staff join OPSEU after mammoth organizing drive…
Jan 10
RT @betterlivesto: Is subsidizing polluters a bigger priority than serving seniors? - Asks @sean_meagher of the #TOBudget
Jan 10
RT @neville_park: "It is disturbing to hear decisions of Council called 'nice-to-haves'"—Sean Meagher(@sean_meagher) It's a funny thing a…
Jan 10
RT @betterlivesto: Very concerning says @sean_meagher that #Toronto is asking City Council to fund what it has promised to do and are being…
Jan 10
RT @ElizCro: Libraries in the news inc @mygibbo challenges government’s creation of ‘English hubs’ to address literacy when the public lib…
Jan 10
RT @wylie_alan @4948President @Local4948 @cupenat @CUPEOntario most uk councillors/politicians only care about footfall & other quantitati…
Jan 10
RT @MeanwhileinCana: Dear @TimHortons There is an easy way out of this ugly mess. Create a corporate policy wherein all franchises must p…
Jan 10
RT @macleans: Imagine a coffee chain that thrived on thousands of coffee breaks every day cutting out paid breaks for its employees: https:…
Jan 10
RT @MichaelPolanyi#Ward 31 resident Murray Lumley: what if, at the beginning of the budget process, we set goals like ending homelessness…
Jan 10
RT @LauraThompson82: Shame on @TimHortons & all employers using a raise to the minimum wage as an excuse to rob workers of their rights & b…
Jan 10
RT @stats_canada: The CEO of Tim Hortons makes 21,000% more than the average Ontario part-time employee
Jan 10
Need analytics about staffing in libraries. Shockingly absent for the most part in Canada We provide the value adde… https://t.co/VoW0ASTkH4
Jan 10
RT @dblackadder: ON: Tim Hortons regulars launch #NoTimmiesTuesday over minimum wage response-The National Post https://t.co/zCRQuK5CRp
Jan 10
RT @kateofcanada: Maybe @TimHortons could run one fewer commercial an hour on TV and pay their employees. Honestly, we know about the grill…
Jan 10
RT @MichaelPolanyi#Ward 26 resident Allan McCartney: The Mayor's insistance of a sub-inflation property tax rate, regardless of community…
Jan 10
RT @kshahrooz.@DyanooshY , a smart municipal activist, on what TO's shelter crisis teaches us: that deep economic inequality can't be sol…
Jan 10
RT @cupelocal79: We can make #Toronto better — but it takes collective action! Great video from @betterlivesto#TOpoli https://t.co/VktbH
Jan 10
RT @CrLaffa: Well done article @DyanooshY#TOpoli #OnPoli The shelter crisis forces us to ask hard questions about society, by @DyanooshY h…
Jan 10
RT @MichaelPolanyi: Elin Goulden of @anglicandioTO: Why does the mantra of keeping property tax below inflation trump everything else? Why…
Jan 10
RT @neville_park: "I am tired of watching people die and I am tired of coming here two or three times a year to say I am tired of watching…
Jan 10
RT @MichaelPolanyi: Reverend Maggie Helwig: "I am tired of coming here each year to say I am tired of watching people die." Urges a budget…
Jan 10
RT @Local4948 @4948President “Library Workers are so dedicated to providing service - we continue despite skeleton staff #stafflesslibrar
Jan 10
RT @MichaelPolanyi: June Hall reports on survey of 119 Toronto daycare centres: 96% had their budgets cut in 2017. Quality of child care at…
Jan 10
RT @MacLabour: Listen to @stephross_mac on @cbcradio The World at 6 & @CBCTheNational on the need to unionize fast food and why it’s so har…
Jan 10
RT @jryerson1: and that is the question, low taxes achieved on the backs of lowest income or might we use the feudal term "peasants @bet
Jan 10
RT @MichaelPolanyi: Eli Aaron: why do millionaires in mansions pay the lowest residential property taxes in the GTA while Toronto's poverty…
Jan 10
Budget Consultation - City Hall - January 10, 2018 - Part 2 https://t.co/kPxPkEaEUe via @YouTube Check out… https://t.co/6gPX8RKH2B
Jan 10
Budget Consultation - City Hall - January 10, 2018 - Part 1 https://t.co/8kUu9uVJaM via @YouTube Check out my deput… https://t.co/mCVFIoccxj
Jan 10
“We need bold political leadership that will not make empty promises and just another strategy but will lead with c… https://t.co/1Dais5mbeZ
Jan 10
RT @jpags: Budget committee is back from lunch with more public speakers. David Suzuki's Gideon Forman, urges council fully fund TransformT…
Jan 10
RT @jpags: "We shouldn't have to do this," Forman says of competing with those fighting for funding of poverty reduction strategy and other…
Jan 10
RT @rinabang: The future is Olive! This library loving kid reviews all the books she reads on Instagram and my heart is coming out of my fa…
Jan 10
RT @RichardAPeddie: The 2018 budget increase for @torontolibrary doesn’t even cover inflation. And defintely misses out on the opportunity…
Jan 10
RT @neville_park: The speakers were like "…uh we don't have an official position on that?" And then Burnside got up and left. Boiling down…
Jan 10
RT @billyonthelake: I just renewed my @torontolibrary card in full day-drag and not a single librarian or patron batted an eyelash (false o…