Library and archive workers face multifaceted and complex labour issues, many of which have been exacerbated by COVID-19. Additionally, the year 2020 has seen protests and increased action against state violence, eroded social services and community supports, and funding cuts for many organizations. These developments have highlighted the growing disconnect between services provided by libraries and what is expected from their communities, whether they happen to be students, members of the public, researchers, or administrators.
The theme of this year’s New Librarian Symposium is Libraries and Labour: Organizing for Action. This year, we would like to interrogate what labour challenges the profession currently faces. What questions do you want to explore around labour, working conditions, and power structures? What does action look like for you, in the context of your role or organization? How are current provincial, statewide, or federal governments impacting labour? What are the most pressing labour issues our profession or its organizations need to address in order to survive? What does labour mean to you and how do you engage in asserting or fighting for your rights?
Submissions should take a critical approach to this topic, and address issues not discussed at other conferences in the field. Proposals from BIPOC and LGBTQ folks, as well as people with disabilities are strongly encouraged. Applicants are welcome to self-identify where they feel comfortable doing so. We would like to see as many diverse voices and perspectives as possible.
Topics for lightning talks may include, but are not limited to:
Labour unions and their service to their membership
Power structures and their influence on early career professionals
The impact of a global pandemic on expectations around service and job performance
Civil rights advocacy from within/without a stable position or union protection
Precarious employment and labour
Interrogating employer rhetoric around labour, worker rights, work-life balance, and wellness
The influence of organizational health on individual workers and service quality
Personal stories about getting engaged in labour issues and why this work matters
Library leadership and labour
Caregiving, work-life balance, and their intersections with labour
Emotional labour, hope labour, or other forms of invisibilized labour
Contract / collective agreement negotiations
Academic status and the implications for labour
(In)equity and salary negotiation
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