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To: Brian Schmidt ANU Vice Chancellor

Stop Cuts to Libraries!

Recently major attacks on staff at ANU Libraries have come to light. For example, library stand down workers, the staff who work on weekends and in the evenings have had their hours cut. One stand down worker reported that their working week had been cut from 19 hours in Semester One to three hours per week in Semester 2 in 2020. In first semester 2021, stand down staff have had their hours increased from three hours a week to an average of six hours per week with some stand down staff working nine hours a week. While this is certainly an improvement on last semester it is still of concern to some stand down staff who relied on evening and weekend work for their sole source of income. Cuts to hours of work accompany reductions to library opening hours.

In 2019 and part of first semester 2020 Chifley and Hancock libraries were staffed from 5 - 8pm, Monday to Thursday and 1 - 7pm on Saturdays. Currently, there are no staff working in Chifley and Hancock libraries after 5pm or on a Saturday. The Art & Music, Law and Menzies libraries were usually staffed from Monday to Thursday from 5 - 7pm, 5 - 9pm and 5 - 7pm respectively and were staffed from 1 - 5pm on Saturdays. Currently, the Art and Music Library is staffed from 5 - 8pm on a Tuesday, the Menzies Library is staffed from 5 - 8pm on a Wednesday and the Law Library is staffed from 5 - 8pm on a Thursday.

Compounding the issues of reduced opening hours is that there are also fewer staff working in libraries overall. Because of ANU management’s ongoing campaign to reduce staff, 17 full-time equivalent library staff have taken Voluntary Early Separations. The remaining library staff will have to cover the workloads of those who have gone. The IT helpdesk which was in Chifley Library has also been removed. Students now must seek help for their IT issues by logging a claim online, calling a helpline, or going all the way to the IT office at Hancock West.

We demand that:
1. The Ask ANU IT Help Desk be reopened at Chifley Library

2. more of the pre-COVID library opening hours are restored, which will help both students and after-hours staff

3. That new library staff are hired to address the overall staffing shortage and the problem of increasing workloads.

Why is this important?

Our librarians deserve reliable hours and satisfactory working conditions that they can support themselves with and which allow them to do their best work. They work hard to provide library services that students rely on for study. We need to push back against the cuts to library staff and stand up for our interests!



2021-03-17 22:23:07 +1100

10 signatures reached