Information about the Harvard Library Reorganization

Harvard administration has announced a plan to restructure the library system that will make libraries “more efficient” which will include a “smaller workforce.” The jobs of hundreds of staff currently employed by the libraries are threatened; measures include cuts and restructuring by “voluntary and involuntary means.” High unemployment rates make finding a new job nearly impossible, especially for older workers.  Harvard’s endowment grew 21% last year, to $32 billion, and the library operating costs represent only 3.3% of the annual budget.

Further Reading:

Crimson Editorial: No Layoffs for Harvard Libraries
Harvard Magazine: Harvard Library Reorganization: President, Provost, Protests
President Faust’s Statement: Reflections on the Future of the Harvard Library
Provost Alan Garber’s Statement: Letter from Provost Garber on the Harvard Libraries
Library Town Hall Presentation by Mary Lee Kennedy and Helen Shenton: The Harvard Library Transition

Occupy Harvard Stands in Solidarity

A massive layoff and restructuring is underway, and we at Occupy Harvard stand in solidarity with those whose jobs are threatened by these unnecessary measures.

Petitions You Can Sign

Please sign one of the following petitions to express your support, and consider joining the No Layoffs Working Group at Occupy Harvard by clicking here.

For members of the Harvard community, click here to sign the following petition:

The Harvard University Library Executive Director Helen Shenton just announced a plan to restructure the Harvard library system and make it more “efficient.”

She plans to fund this by laying off some workers and restructuring the jobs of others. She threatened to cut jobs by “voluntary and involuntary means,” leaving library workers anxious by refusing to provide details about the plan and recommending that they upload their resumes online.

Unemployment rates are still at record highs, making it nearly impossible to find new jobs, especially for older workers. At the same time, Harvard’s endowment just jumped 21% to $32 billion.

Harvard’s libraries are not overstaffed: in fact, they’re still recovering from staff cuts three years ago. Our university has the money to keep all of its workers employed.

A petition started by a library worker notes that “college and university librarians and library workers contribute to the advancement of scholarship of the academic community.”

As members of the Harvard community, we care both about the academic quality of our libraries and the ethical quality of our university. Thus, we demand that Harvard not lay off library workers while it has the money to keep them and that any restructuring of the librariestake place with consideration for the workers who staff them.

We students, faculty, and staff join Harvard library workers in demanding: NO LAYOFFS AT HARVARD LIBRARIES.

All are welcome to click here for or here for iPetitions.


2 comments on “Information about the Harvard Library Reorganization

  1. Library Staffer says:

    I would like to see them release more numbers. They had Deloitte and Touche consultants all over the libraries, but never released any information about what was found- how many library staffers are there anyway? How many in each functional area? How much of a reduction in force are they talking about? Where are the reductions going to be?

    All the library staff have been making educated guesses at where redundancies exist or where there is insufficient levels of staffing, but no one has shared any kinds of numbers.

    How did they measure “too many”? How did they measure productivity? How did they measure satisfied customers? I’d sincerely like to know.

  2. Jeff says:

    How much is the Harvard Corp. paying Deloitte? The amount could surpass any so-called “savings” in costs from layoffs. So, why cut jobs and services? For the ultimate, long-term goal of a contingent, non-union workforce and a transfer of funds from libraries and other academic endeavors to more profitable, straight-up business investments.

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