Library strike ends after 251 days
By Jessica Moore
The 14 libraries in Essex County have reopened after over eight months of being closed due to a strike.
The strike consisted of issues between corporate and librarians and the process to resolve all of the issues was lengthy. Corporate refused to come to an agreement with the issues brought up in meetings and the lack of communication between the parties had led to the strike.
Desk clerks were laid off just before summer when it was too late to apply for most summer jobs, while librarians were striking in front of the most visited libraries.
Librarians and desk clerks returned to work Feb. 23, dealing with logistical matters and placing books back into their respective places on the shelves.
According to Sara Hinch, a former desk clerk at McGregor Public Library, desk clerks had only received a few letters indicating that a strike could occur.
“It put me in an awkward position,” said Hinch. “I didn’t know whether I should look for a new job or stick with the library in case we didn’t strike.”
Hinch and all other desk clerks in the district were laid off suddenly, leaving them without jobs for most of the summer. She said she received little to no information on the strike besides what she heard from media. After waiting the whole summer, she made the decision to seek out employment.
Frequent library visitors were deeply upset by the strike. Students had to find different spots for studying if they did not have a quiet place at home. Madison Bottle, a student at Toronto Film School, used the library to work on assignments and catch up on reading and said she is pleased to be able to go back to her favourite study spot.
“I’ve been going to Tim Hortons instead of the library and I can say I’m glad to be going back to my quiet library,” said Bottle. “I’m one of those people who needs complete silence and I honestly missed it so much.”
Regular visitors are heading back to the libraries and are now updating their cards, according to a librarian who asked not to be named. The librarian said business has been picking up and will likely continue to expand.