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San Jose City Councilman proposes replacing retiring library workers with volunteers

San Jose Mercury News – “In an effort to preserve the cash-strapped city’s budget, a San Jose councilman wants to replace retiring city library workers with community volunteers or face the more serious alternative of outsourcing the libraries altogether. “We have beautiful libraries, and if we allow volunteers to augment current city staff, our libraries would be open more days per week,” said Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio, who has consistently sought to outsource the city’s union employees with less expensive contractors. “The reality is, 95 percent of the library patrons use self-check out. It’s not the library you and I grew up with. I want a model where the doors are open.”

2 Responses to “San Jose City Councilman proposes replacing retiring library workers with volunteers”

  1. gourd
    December 23, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    ‘free labor or privatization’ is the dumbest worst dichotomy, I’m always vaguely ashamed on behalf of the people that present it. fuck off, councilman Oliverio.

  2. Dagny
    December 24, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    Actually, having a volunteer-driven library makes a lot of sense. A public library exists for the benefit of its community. It is fitting that the community support the library in both tax revenues and volunteer services.

    Many successfully run volunteer service organizations such as Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (90% volunteer 10% paid staff) and American Red Cross exemplify how good, thorough volunteer training, leadership, and management can be used effectively to maximize operating resources. It can be done.

    Let’s be honest. Do you want the doors to stay open? The library’s mission is to serve the public, not to provide job security to library staffers. It’s called non-profit for a reason. (And yes, I am a library worker. Let the hate begin…)

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