West Haven: AFSCME Local 393

AFSCME Local 393 members Bernadette Niedermeier, Catherine Bushman, Elaine Braithwaite, Liz Ryan, Carrie Bryant, Mary Walker and Colleen Bailie.

April 14 is National Library Workers Day. It’s a time to recognize the importance of libraries and all that library employees do to keep these valuable institutions running and serving the needs of their communities.

“Public libraries have become community centers,” observed Colleen Bailie, Head of Technical Services at the West Haven Library and President of AFSCME Local 393, the voice of more than 20 library employees.

As Bailie noted, libraries provide patrons with a vast wealth of resources, from books and DVDs to broadband Internet access and tools to search for jobs and hone your resume.

“We’re all passionate about our work in the library system,” she said. “We’re committed to making sure people have access to knowledge in all its forms.”

Local 393 members joined Council 4 just four years ago, gaining a voice at work they say goes beyond the bargaining table and into West Haven neighborhoods that depend on a high-quality library system.

“Having a union gives us a larger say in the budget process,” Local 393 member Elaine Braithwaite, the Branch Manager at Ora Mason. “It helps us stand up for the library services our community needs and deserves.”

According to the American Library Association (ALA), libraries are among the most effective of all public services, serving more than two-thirds of the public with less than 2 percent of all tax dollars. The ALA has also estimated that the average cost of a public library is about $31 per taxpayer – about the cost of one hardcover book.

National Library Workers Day is part of National Library Week, which was first sponsored in 1958 as a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country.

AFSCME more than 25,000 library workers nationwide -- including librarians, technicians, support staff and others.