Harvard University’s libraries will not resort to mass layoffs, student paper The Crimson reported on June 30. “Nearly all” library staff members whose jobs are classified as shared or support services will have a position once the reorganization is complete, according to an announcement, from Harvard University Library Executive Director Helen Shenton and Senior Associate Provost for the Harvard Library Mary Lee Kennedy.
That’s Access Services, Information and Technical Services and Preservation, Conservation and Digital Imaging Services, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Project Management, and Communications.
Shenton and Kennedy attributed the lack of layoffs to the voluntary early retirement program the university announced in February. Some 65 members of the 280 eligible library staffers took early retirement. (Cheryl LaGuardia, LJ blogger and Harvard research librarian, gave a shout out to many of the departing in LJ’s E-Views.)
Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) director Bill Jaeger was quoted in the Crimson as saying, “It looks to us as though some of the slightly more significant changes are going to be at the middle managerial level […] It seems like a lot’s going to be done by working it out voluntarily.” HUCTW had recently circulated an open letter claiming Harvard libraries were already understaffed.
The library had 930 full time employees before the buy-out (down from 1,200 full-time employees in 2009). Some 26 new positions have been created since January, a university spokesperson told LJ, so after the early retirements took effect June 30, the total complement should be about 890.
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