New chapter for library as staff to hold protest

by Emma Nolan

A PROTEST is taking place this Sunday outside the LexIcon Library in Dun Laoghaire.
Library staff are protesting against the decision by council management to open the library on Sundays without any staff present, which staff say is a “major concern”.
The LexIcon opened on Sunday, August 28 without any library staff present, and management have continued with this policy every Sunday since.
IMPACT trade union, which represents staff in the Library Service throughout the country, has instructed its members not to cooperate with staffless opening. It is also balloting its members on the issue.
The Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown IMPACT Branch said they are holding the protest to “highlight the fact that we believe our library staff provide a valuable service to the public”.
A spokesperson said: “Recent years have seen the numbers employed in the Library Service throughout the country fall dramatically, and funding has been severely curtailed.
“The union nationally has expressed its concern that the move to staffless libraries will see further staff reductions.
“We believe it should also be a cause of concern for the public, and for anyone who believes that public services should be defended.”
Cllr Hugh Lewis (PBP) told The Gazette that he will be supporting the library workers.
He said: “I support the protest organised by council librarians 100%. Funding to library services has been consistently cut and the decision to open any library without trained librarians undermines and undervalues the important and irreplaceable service they provide to the public.
“People Before Profit will support every protest and action organised by council staff to ensure our libraries are fully staffed at all times.”
In response to the protest plans, a Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council spokesperson said: “The council can confirm that it is aware of plans regarding a protest.
“In response to public demand, DLR LexIcon – the central library and culture centre – had a ‘soft opening’ on Sunday, August 28 from noon to 4pm.
“This is a pilot project designed to allow the public self-service access to this iconic space and avail of many of its services, which is normal practice in many other cultural institutions.
“At present, DLR LexIcon is open 57 hours per week over six days with a full staff presence.”

Related Articles