“Billionaires need the working class. The working class does not need billionaires.”Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez
Did I tell you that I work at the queer branch now? I don’t say that to be glib, I simply mean that this is the most openly LGBTQ+ friendly branch in the system. While there’s no branch that isn’t LGBTQ+ friendly, this branch has a special LBGTQ+ collection, the sign on the outside of the building is painted rainbow, and the staff is aggressively friendly, welcoming, open, and affirming to all. And probably a few of them at least as queer as I am, your friendly neighborhood bisexual children’s librarian. That aspect of the change has been really refreshing and cool. My previous branch was huge and bustling and busy but the community was certainly more tense and conservative.
Working at the most hardcore branch is certainly a badge of honor and I did it for a really long time, but in the last year or so, the staff has almost entirely turned over. In fact, I’m pretty sure that me leaving caused a bit of an exodus.
For a long time, we all felt there was something noble in surviving a difficult situation because we loved the job and each other. And then, as conditions worsened, we all stayed in solidarity and to make sure people had the support they needed despite not getting any from above.
And then, none of that was enough anymore and we all started to come to the realization that we could transfer to literally anywhere else and make the same money and work half as hard.
My commute is slightly longer. The building is old and dated and cluttered. The staff space is super cramped. But I’m thrilled I finally came out of the fog and landed somewhere super cool.
Since the end of May, I’ve been negotiating our union contract and I literally don’t think I would have survived this process at my previous branch. It’s so much work, it’s so much pressure, it’s so many meetings, and so much rides on whatever we achieve. But it’s important work and I know we’re so lucky to already be unionized. Support unions!
I feel like everyone just keeps saying over and over that it’s been a hard year, and to hang in there, but all we can do is plow forward and try to make the changes we need in the ways that we can make them. For me, lately, it’s been a better work site, an ongoing union fight, and a fall book launch date to look forward to. What’s keeping you going, lately?