June 11, 2018  

cc: Virginia Steel, Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian

Dear Sharon Farb, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and International Collaborations,

For the last decade, UCLA Library Special Collections (LSC) has relied heavily on a staff of temporary archivists. From 2009-2015, these temporary archivists were classified as staff positions (Principal Museum Scientists). Contracts ranged in length, sometimes as brief as four months, and were often renewed at the last minute, sometimes on the final day of the staff member’s contract. In 2013, Temporary Librarian contract language was altered to be more specific about the conditions under which Temporary Librarian contracts were appropriate in an effort to close loopholes that allowed for UCLA to have over 20% of librarians in temporary appointments.[1] Following a labor-management meeting on the (mis)use of these classifications between UC-AFT and UC Office of the President, in January 2015 temporary Principal Museum Scientist positions were converted to Temporary Librarian positions, and temporary contracts were increased to two-year lengths.

These changes were intended to protect employees from being exploited by doing librarian-level work without providing them the status, compensation, title, or benefits commensurate with the Librarian series. Since then, however, the use of temporary archivists has increased. Within the last two years, ten temporary archivists have been employed in LSC. As of the writing of this letter, six temporary archivists are employed in LSC[2] (soon to be seven -- a new temporary archivist position is in the early stages of recruitment) and all of us are doing ongoing, i.e. not solely project-based or grant-funded, work. This is singularly egregious--other institutions typically have one or two project archivists who are hired on grant funded contracts. LSC is comprised of a staff of 31, which includes five curators (with two additional curatorial roles in the early stages of recruitment). In contrast, LSC’s Collection Management unit is now comprised of a single supervisor[3] and three permanent archivists, only one of whom is focused on processing collections. LSC cannot responsibly steward new acquisitions with that configuration, let alone its already large backlog, which is currently undiscoverable and inaccessible to the public. Simply put, it is unethical to continue collecting with the knowledge that there is no sustainable processing program in place. Furthermore, it places the UC Regents, the legal owners of material, at risk if a donor decides to claim that we are not following through on our commitment of responsible stewardship, as laid out in LSC’s deed of gift.[4]

The practice of hiring archivists on temporary contracts negatively affects everyone involved -- the archivists, institutions, collections, donors, and users. As stated in OCLC’s recent report Research and Learning Agenda for Archives, Special, and Distinctive Collections in Research Libraries (2017): There is growing concern regarding ways in which insecure employment affects both the diversity of the profession and the cadre of early career professionals who often fill term roles, as well as how forced turnover, fluctuating staff resources, and the short-term frameworks inherent to project-based work affect our programs in the long term.”[5]

 

The practice of hiring archivists on temporary contracts is problematic because:

  • It wastes UCLA Library’s time and resources -- Temporary contracts require that the Library recruit, hire, train, and onboard staff anew. With multiple meetings, interviews, phone calls, and writing assignments, the average commitment for members of the search committee is estimated to be between 40 and 80 hours for each recruitment,[6] in addition to the time spent by other members of staff who meet with candidates multiple times.  Temporary staff must apply for new positions mid-way through their contracts, further increasing turnover.
  • It wastes Library Special Collections’ time and resources -- Frequent recruiting, interviewing, onboarding, and training requires a significant investment of staff time. A staff that is continually in flux means that time that could otherwise be spent contributing to the strategic priorities of the department, Library, and campus must instead be spent onboarding and off-boarding staff.
  • It disrespects our donors, users, and collections, and subverts the mission of UCLA Library -- LSC cannot properly make collections discoverable and safely provide access to materials by relying on an itinerant, and therefore less invested, archival workforce.  This violates our agreements with donors, is irresponsible towards our users, and disrespects LSC’s valuable research collections. As a result, LSC is thwarting UCLA Library’s stated mission to “put users first” and “support open access to knowledge.”[7]
  • It diminishes institutional knowledge -- When their terms end, temporary librarians take away with them their knowledge of the systems, tools, and collections they have worked on. Losing this critical information weakens the department in the long-term because valuable skills, knowledge, and relationships disappear.  
  • It inhibits long-term decision making -- Not having a stable or predictable staff make-up prevents stability among LSC staff, which inhibits long term planning and policy setting, and prevents sustainability of programs and projects as well as the transfer of institutional knowledge.
  • It hinders professional development -- The lack of job security for temporary librarians impacts their ability to develop professionally by not allowing them to be involved with long-term projects, give them the space to grow in a role, and at times not giving them the opportunity to go through an official review process (peer review).
  • It is financially harmful -- Temporary librarians often do not have the opportunity to get raises, they have to move more often, and might experience periods of unemployment (exacerbated by the hiring process, which is still months-long for temporary positions). The precarity of temporary positions disproportionately affects people of color and places more barriers to entry into the profession. This directly negates the Library's avowed commitment to diversity of the library and the profession.
  • It damages archivists’ personal lives -- Job insecurity negatively affects one’s ability to make major life decisions. They are more likely to move and have to start over. They will feel worried, anxious, and not in control of their futures. They have to spend leisure and vacation time identifying, applying to, and interviewing for jobs.
  • It undermines the professionalism, expertise, and worth of archivists both in the UCLA Library and the field at large. Temporary archival positions as status quo sends the inaccurate message that archivists are disposable and that repeated short-term and fluctuating staffing can meet long-term institutional needs. This implicitly devalues our work and our status as professionals.

We, the temporary archivists, are involved with donor relations, classroom instruction, exhibitions, outreach and events, supervising graduate scholars, providing reference, creating documentation and policy, staff trainings, data migrations, systems implementation, and workflow changes. We are professionally involved at the campus, local, state, and national level. We are professionals with years of experience at top institutions. We went through competitive national searches (for some of us, multiple times). We are leaders in our field. We ask that the UCLA Library convert all six temporary archivists to potential career Librarian positions. By doing so, the UCLA Library will recognize the value archivists bring to our team, our collections, and our patrons. Additionally, we ask that the library discontinue the unfair, damaging, and inefficient practice of hiring librarians in temporary roles to perform core duties and functions, unless the position is tied directly to a source of outside funding. 

 

Best,

Courtney Dean, Processing Archivist

Lori Dedeyan, Processing Archivist

M. Angel Diaz, Project Processing Archivist

Melissa Haley, Processing Archivist

Margaret Hughes, Collections Data Archivist

Lauren McDaniel, Visual Materials Processing Archivist

Support for UCLA Temporary Librarians

We, the undersigned, believe that the practice of hiring temporary librarians is harmful to all parties. We enthusiastically support the temporary librarians fighting for fairer and more sustainable hiring practices, and encourage UCLA Library Human Resources and the library administration to cease this practice and convert their positions to permanent.

Name

If UCLA: Department

If non-UCLA: Title and Institution

Remarks (Optional)

Shira Peltzman

Library Special Collections

This is a harmful and short-sighted practice that negatively impacts both the department as well as the librarians involved.

Kelly Besser

Library Special Collections

Charlie Chen

Digital Initiatives and Information Technology

Louise Ratliff

Cataloging & Metadata Center

This practice is disrespectful and unprofessional.  It is a contract violation of the UC-AFT Unit 17 MOU, Article 18.

Cesar Reyes

Library Special Collections

Jasmine Jones

Library Special Collections

Claudia Horning

Cataloging & Metadata Center

Annie Pho

Powell

Miki Goral

Powell

We sought to correct this unfair practice in the last contract negotiations, but the University seems to be disregarding what was agreed to.

Santhosh David

DIIT

Temporary/Short term contracts helps none.

Michael Fehrf

Biomed

The Library’s decision to engage in these unlawful actions is very disturbing.

Simon Lee

Powell

Lauren Buisson

Library Special Collections

This practice undermines staff morale in ways that extends well beyond the temporary appointments. We come to trust and value our colleagues; these experiences enrich us all. When we lose our teammates those losses derail all of our work.

Teresa Barnett

Library Special Collections

The library needs to face the reality that archival processing is an on-going need, and we need to support it with career staff positions as we do any other Special Collections activity. It serves no one’s interests to constantly be rehiring the same positions, and it is grossly unfair to the archivists who do the work.

Paul Priebe

Cataloging & Metadata Ctr.

Jamie Jamison

Library Data Archive

Caroline Miller

Cataloging & Metadata Center

Matthew Vest

Music Library

Courtney Hoffner

Science Libraries

The practice of hiring temporary archivists and librarians is unethical, demoralizing, and inefficient. I know first-hand, as a temporary librarian for many years, how harmful this practice is for our staff’s personal and professional lives, and the disservice it does to the Library in terms of service, resources, and building institutional knowledge. We need to respect and support our wonderful, skilled colleagues by converting their positions to full-time permanent career positions.

Joseph Andrews

Cataloging & Metadata Center

Tanya Akel

Anderson Library, former student

Callie Holmes

Music Library

Molly Haigh

Library Special Collections

Tony Aponte

Science Libraries

Dalena Hunter

Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies Library and Media Center

Melissa Beck

Law Library

This same issue arose when I was Chair-Elect of CAPA, in early 2013. A grievance was either filed or was about to be filed by the union about the misuse of temporary librarian positions for necessary, ongoing work. The UL at the time “settled” by converting the existing temporary positions into permanent ones. Why has this happened again in our library? Have we not learned anything? If there is work that is considered important, then provide the adequate long-term staffing for it.

Jessica Tai

UCLA Library Special Collections

Alicia Reiley

Powell

David Poepoe

YRL Access Service

Marisa Méndez-Brady

YRL / Humanities & Social Sciences division of User Engagement

Iris Garcia

Law Library

Jane F Carpenter

Library Special Collections

Martin Brennan

Scholarly Communication

I, like so many of my colleagues at UCLA, started in a temporary position.  It was foolish and reckless for me to leave a tenure-track position at another institution to take on such a role, but I had personal motivation to make the move.  How many qualified candidates decline to apply, or turn down a job offer, because of this?  Library administration needs to show they are serious about recruiting the best candidates they can, and not looking to exploit early-career librarians who will accept insecure positions in a tough job market.

Leo Gonzalez

Preservation Program

Nancy Norris

Cataloging & Metadata

Stacy McKenna

Bibliographic Control Coordinator

In addition to the cost to the humans involved, the lack of continuity is a major blow to the collections involved. Consistency in processing and procedure improves discoverability of our collections and makes them a more valuable resource to the research community both here on campus and at large. The university is shooting itself in the foot by not making sure it’s presenting the most accessible, consistently documented resources possible.

Nora Avetyan

Cataloging & Metadata Center

Robert Gore

Arts Library

Where I previously worked, a decision was made to convert temporary librarian positions to full-time permanent positions. The effect on the library as whole was transformative. Our Dean, who had initially been opposed to the change, fully supported the initiative once she was able to see the full impact on the library and the College as a whole.

Nisha Mody

Science Libraries

I believe it is pertinent for the continuity, community, and overall respect of the profession for this temporary status be converted into full-time permanent positions. This will benefit the library as a whole to create collaborations, partnerships, and higher morale.

Bethany Myers

Biomedical Library

Committing to permanent LSC librarian and archivist positions will facilitate the processing and sharing of our collections, and will be a statement and example to other library units, the campus, and other institutions that we value the work of archival professionals.

Kelly Leong

Law Library

Amanda Mack

Film & Television Archive

Annette Doss

Film & Television Archive

Peter Fletcher

Cataloging & Metadata Center

T-Kay Sangwand

Digital Library Program

David Cappoli

Law School Communications

Rebecca Fenning Marschall

Clark Library

This use of temporary library staff positions negatively impacts the work of Library Special Collections as well as crucial interdepartmental relationships throughout the UCLA Library and affiliated units. Continually hiring temporary staff to fulfill core responsibilities is irresponsible and sends the very clear message that the UCLA Library does not value the work that our archivists perform -- and by extension, that we do not value the collections with which they work.

Andrew R. Perrine

SRLF

Past use of temporary staff positions throughout the Library, especially in Library Special Collections, has negatively impacted my own work in Imaging Services. I fully support the end of this practice.

Daniel Schoorl

Hispanic American Periodicals Index

Philip Palmer

Clark Library

Jeffrey King

Print Acquisitions

Kevin Balster

Cataloging and Metadata Center

As someone who began in a temporary position that was primarily focused on ongoing, day-to-day operations, I can attest to the personal and professional insecurity that this situation causes. I had hoped that UCLA would have learned better than to accept the continuous loss of institutional knowledge, and the necessity to frequently train new staff, limiting the effectiveness and productivity of our library. I wholeheartedly support the ending of this practice across the board for positions that support day-to-day operations.

Neil Hodge

UAS-YRL

Hannah Moshier

Library Preservation

Judith Serlin

Member of the Public

Patrick Lavey

Law Library

These temporary positions hurt both the archivists and the UCLA Libraries.  A permanent staff is crucial to the success of a great library.

Jane Collings

Library Special Collections

Ann Bein

Cataloging - Retired

Shahnaz Yousefnejadian

Cataloging & Metadata

Julia Glassman

Powell Library

As someone who was originally hired as a temporary librarian to perform core duties in an essential line, I am surprised and dismayed that the UCLA Library continues this harmful and counterproductive practice.

Diana King

Arts Library

Jennifer Chan

Scholarly Communication

Lynda Tolly

Grace M. Hunt Memorial English Reading Room

If possible, moving these temporary appointments into potential career appointments would be a win/win.

Joanna Chen Cham

Powell Library

As someone who often encourages our undergraduates to utilize the incredible archival collections we have, I believe it is in the best interest of our students and researchers, the institution, and the library for these roles to be converted to permanent archivist positions in order to ensure that our resources can continue to be discovered and accessed. I have the utmost respect for my fellow colleagues who are doing this work.

Karly Wildenhaus

UCLA MLIS 2018; former student worker at the UCLA Arts Library

Reliance on temporary positions for staffing threatens the long-term sustainability of the very institutions who seek to steward and preserve our heritage for future generations. The precarity of these positions is also financially and emotionally harmful to those workers who continually demonstrate their dedication to Library Special Collections.

Caroline Cubé

Library Special Collections

LSC is a living organism; we cannot expect to thrive if we keep lopping off our own arms and legs and ears.

LSC staff all know that Simon Elliott, who processed A.Quincy Jones, is the Go-to guy for all things A.Quincy Jones. But who will be the Go-to guy for ArchivesSpace, or Barbara Morgan, or V Vale, or Collection X, Y, or Z if our archivists are not retained?

To iterate what many have said, it can’t feel good to know that you may not have a job two years after you went through a grueling interview process to get hired. Each month that passes brings you closer to your end date. I love working here; I want the people with whom I work to feel secure and supported.

Michael Oppenheim

Rosenfeld Management Library

Douglas E. Johnson

Chicano Studies Research Center

It is unconscionable that such a highly educated, well-trained, and dedicated group of professionals must live in a state of precarity.

Antonia Osuna-Garcia

Biomedical Library

Doug Worsham

User Engagement / Science Libraries

I worked for years as a temporary lecturer and teacher and eventually had to leave teaching as a result of poor working and living conditions and continual job insecurity. Let's find a better solution for our staff.

Doug Daniels

DIIT

I’ve only ever been employed as a contract employee while at the Library. While I understand the circumstances around my hiring(s) may have necessitated this, I still think that every effort should be made to offer permanent positions whenever and wherever possible. It’s not fun to have a timer ticking away at your gainful employment!

Jade Alburo

International Studies

Aaron M. Bittel

Ethnomusicology Archive

As a professional archivist and librarian, I find the practice of abusing temporary positions deeply corrosive to the profession and to the committed professionals who dedicate themselves to it, analogous to the widespread abuse of temporary faculty positions in place of permanent ones. But as an archival educator I am even more troubled by this practice. The talented and hard-working students that I work with deserve to start their professional careers with the same opportunities for stable employment that all of us who have come before them have enjoyed. UCLA should be a better model among our peer institutions.

Kristian Allen

DIIT

Kay Deeney

Biomedical Library

Annie Watanabe-Rocco

YRL/LSC

Xaviera S. Flores

Chicano Studies Research Center

Russell A. Johnson

History & Special Collections for the Sciences, UCLA Library Special Collections

Having a corps of short-term temporary archivists is efficient for project-based work, but not for long-term programmatic planning and development of subject-related expertise and enthusiasm.  

Rebecca Fordon

Law Library

Rachel Green

Law Library

Jennifer Lentz

Law Library

Wil Lin

Library Preservation

Stephanie Anayah

Law Library

Peggy Alexander

Library Special Collections

Joseph Orellana

DIIT

Even though I’m currently under a contract position and understand why that is so, I do not believe that this practice is sustainable, and that it is disrespectful, unprofessional and it contradicts our institutional value of building/instilling a strong culture.

Gabrielle Mittelbach

DIIT

This is a serious problem throughout the Library with various levels of staff.

Dawn Childress

DLP

Noor Jabaieh

DIIT

Zoe Borovsky

H&SS/YRL

Permanent positions are the best way for the library to developing and sustain deep, lasting relationships with students, faculty, and donors.  

Simon Elliott

Library Special Collections

Special Collections used to have three full time, permanent manuscript processors.  Their institutional knowledge alone contributed enormously to the service provided to readers, the quality of work produced, and the planning and development of the department.  The hiring of temporary help to do everyday tasks does little to improve the working of the department.  

Ruby Bell-Gam

International Studies

I agree with others that temporary, contract employment should not be used by a well established institution, such as UCLA, to fill

essential, ongoing services and functions. I, too, had assumed that this issue was settled once for all several years ago, so I’m appalled to learn that there are still colleagues here with long-term temporary status. Just for the sake of fairness and organizational morale, such practices are not good for the Library or UCLA.

Cindy Kimmick

DIIT

I wholeheartedly concur with the letter and comments.  In addition, I would like to mention the huge “soft cost” that DIIT-Ops has incurred in the last ten years, as our career staff numbers have dwindled.  We are constantly in training mode because of the turnover in contract (and student) staff.

Peter Broadwell

DLP

Jonathan Wilson

DIIT

It seems that hiring temporary staff does more harm than good, for the reasons outlined in this letter. Relying on them puts more stress on the remaining full time staff and results in a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge lost (or never gained), which is a detriment to the organization as a whole.

Yasmin Dessem

Library Preservation

There’s an appropriate time and place for  temporary/project based employment in this field and it can offer excellent opportunities, but the misapplication of these hiring practices does more harm than good to an organization. This letter undeniably indicates that a larger conversation about this issue needs to be addressed Library-wide. We all know that temporary hires handling ongoing work is an unfortunate reality in departments across the library, in all units, and perhaps even UC as a whole. By continuing this practice without critical evaluation of our ongoing responsibilities and greater transparency around the handling of permanent lines, we’re not supporting and valuing our hires, our collections and our very real organizational needs. We risk losing valuable institutional knowledge and the ability to work together meaningfully for ongoing collaboration, innovation and growth which works against many of the guiding principles in our mission.

Allie Whalen

Library Preservation

Bill Hackenberg

DIIT

As a contract worker I also support this initiative and stand with my fellow temps. While recognizing that budget constraints are real, it seems when temporary resources are continually renewed and/or replaced, the costs are about the same or higher when going with temps over the long term.

Shani Miller

Ethnomusicology Archive

Amy Wong

Library Special Collections

Josh Fiala

Library Special Collections

It is my understanding that temporary staff are not required to participate in activities that fall outside the scope of the terms of their appointment. That the Archivists felt a need to write this letter and garner support means that there should be a public conversation about appropriate permanent staffing across all functional areas of the Department.

Orchid Mazurkiewicz

Hispanic American Periodicals Index

Chris Marino

Environmental Design Archives, Berkeley

David Uhlich

UCSF Archives & Special Collections

David Eifler

Environmental Design Librarian, UC Berkeley

Sami Siegelbaum

Art

Kelsi Evans

UCSF Archives and Special Collections

Mackenzie Eason

Department of Political Science

Thomas Winningham

Department of English

Emily Vigor

Environmental Design Archives, Berkeley

This is a problem at UCLA and across UC campuses. The practice of hiring professional archivists in temporary positions seriously hinders our ability to grow in our careers, and to fully support and develop the work we do at these institutions. We cannot continue to rely on temporary positions to support our collections. Archivists, and our repositories, deserve better.

Noah Geraci

UC Riverside Library, Metadata and Technical Services

Dana Cairns Watson

Continuing Lecturer in Writing Programs and Electrical and Computer Engineering

Temporary employment is bad for the library and bad for the employees--both the temporary librarians AND the faculty who work with librarians. The institutional knowledge of the librarians that I’ve worked with in the past, and the ongoing collaboration (related to teaching and also research)  that I’ve been able to have with them, is too valuable to give up in exchange for the short-sighted gains to the university’s budget. The University should be one institution that values and promotes increasing expertise.

Anna Yeakley

Bruin Resource Center

Kathy Carbone

Department of Information Studies and CalArts Institute Archives

Terri Anderson

Sociology

Mia L. McIver, Ph.D.

Writing Programs

President, UC-AFT

Temporary and contingent appointments harm our university community by introducing more uncertainty than necessary into archiving, librarianship, research, and teaching. If the work is ongoing, the jobs should be permanent.

Jean-Paul deGuzman

Asian American Studies & Interracial Dynamics GE Cluster

As a historian who has used Special Collections archives, and a faculty who sends students there for their own research, I am concerned about the treatment of these archivists. Such precarity does a disservice to the expertise of the temporary librarians and to the quality of the workplace and resources for students.

Elvia Arroyo-Ramirez

Special Collections & Archives, UC Irvine Libraries

This practice and its ramifications on staff morale and tension between professionalized and temporary staff is the reason why I have deterred from considering to apply for positions at LSC. I stand in full support of all LSC professionals on temporary positions. The professional community has benefited tremendously from their individual and collective contributions to the field. They deserve job security and opportunity for advancement that all library professionals in the UC system enjoy.

Lara Michels

Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley

Head of Archival Processing

Lindsay Wilhelm

Department of English

Derek Christian Quezada

Special Collections & Archives, UC Irvine Libraries

I reiterate the statement of Elvia Arroyo-Ramirez and add further that I personally know these librarians and can attest to the tremendous impact and leadership they have shown in our profession. Security in their positions and financial recognition is due.  

Kate Dundon

Supervisory Archivist

UCSC Special Collections & Archives

Amber West, Ph.D.

Lecturer, Writing Programs

Assistant Director, Undergraduate Writing Center

UCLA's primary purpose as a public research university is the creation, dissemination, preservation and application of knowledge for the betterment of our global society. LSC’s current hiring and staffing practices hamper this mission.

Paul Von Blum

Senior Lecturer, African American Studies and Communication

Erica Fletcher

Anthropology

Marjorie Bryer

Archivist, The Bancroft Library

Lynn Boyden

Information Architect, USC ITS Web Services

You all already know where I stand on this issue.  Hiring folks as temps to circumvent payment of benefits and securing employment is pretty underhanded.

Karl Lisovsky

Lecturer, UCLA Writing Programs,

Let’s respect our archivists’ expertise and talents and offer them what they deserve.

Michael Scott

Hispanic American Periodicals Index

Teresa Mora

UC Santa Cruz Special Collections & Archives

Audra Eagle Yun

UC Irvine Special Collections & Archives

John Steinmetz

Lecturer, Herb Alpert School of Music

Ruben Urbizagastegui

Distinguished Librarian, UCR

This is a harmful practice that negatively impacts both the department as well as the librarians involved.

Snowden Becker

MLIS Program Manager, Department of Information Studies

The UCLA Library has an opportunity to lead the field here by committing the necessary resources to the core functions of archival processing and management--as well as by retaining the talents of their outstanding staff.

Norma Corral

Retired Librarian, UC- AFT Local 1990 Treasurer

David Gorshein

Lecturer, Dept. of Theater

Christina Cicchetti

Librarian, UC Riverside

We relied on temporary librarians in my department for many years, so I can attest first-hand to how this practice contributes to low morale throughout the department, a loss of institutional knowledge, and the time wasted in the rehiring process.

Krystal Tribbett

UC Irvine Special Collections & Archives

Melissa Dollman

UCLA Alumnae

Moving Image Archive Studies

Herbert U. Serrano

UCLA Extension, UCLA IS Alumni

The practice of hiring itinerant labor is detrimental to the institution, its stakeholders, and to the profession itself. The short-term economic gains are not worth the long term impact and only accelerate the practice of UC leadership seeing all labor as expendable.

Katherine Callen King

Professor Emerita, Comparative Literature and Classics, UCLA

Archival librarians are professionals who should be treated as such.  Scholars who use archives and donors who contribute to archives should be treated with respect by ensuring that permanent librarians are the guardians of the archives.

Alix Norton

UC Santa Cruz Special Collections & Archives

Sarah Jean Johnson

UCLA GSEIS Lecturer

Anne J. Gilliland

Professor, UCLA Department of Information Studies

 

Sarah T. Roberts

Assistant Professor, Department of Information Studies, UCLA

Marissa Kings

Southern Regional Library Facility

Judy Lee

Librarian, UC Riverside

How the Library treats its professionals  is  a reflection of the quality of its leadership.  What message is the leadership sending to the scholars and donors who use the archives?  How does this practice reflect upon the Library leadership and the institution?

Kristina Borrman

UCLA Art History PhD Student

Andrew J Lau

Former Program Director for Instructional Content Development at UCLA Extension; UCLA IS Alum

James Eason

Archivist for Pictorial Collections, The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley

At Berkeley we face identical issues, relying heavily upon funded projects and temporary staff to accomplish them. We too are very concerned about the loss of expertise we continually suffer, and the drain of precious staff time on frequent recruitment of short-term professionals.

Jennifer Nelson

Librarian, the Robbins Collection, UC Berkeley School of Law

Kiyoko Shiosaki

Instruction Services Librarian, Doe/Moffitt, UC Berkeley

I-Wei Wang

Law Librarian, UC Berkeley

Cristina Paul

UCLA Lab School, GSEIS

Michelle Caswell

Department of Information Studies, GSEIS

Jane Rosario

Librarian, Catalog & Metadata Services, UC Berkeley

Marcia J. Bates

Professor Emerita, Department of Information Studies, UCLA

Several years ago I handed over 18 boxes of my professional papers to the University Archive for review. (These had been culled, over a marathon working week, from an original 80 linear feet of papers.)   98% OF THESE PAPERS WERE DISCARDED WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.  The half-foot of papers retained were an incoherent and meaningless set. I not only never received an apology for discarding without my permission, I was told I should consider my publications to be my legacy instead.  UCLA had no need for my papers, despite my being one of the most renowned researchers and consultants in the field over decades of technological change,  and despite the fact that I chaired the Information Studies department for the two tumultuous years of the merger of GSLIS with GSEIS.  Perhaps if there had been a more coherent permanent staff in the LSC, this travesty might not have occurred.  I have since found another institution to take my remaining papers, and will certainly not leave money to UCLA.

Bergis Jules

UC Riverside Special Collections and University Archives

D Ryan Lynch

UC Santa Barbara Library, Area Studies

Margaret Phillips

Librarian, Social Sciences Division, UC Berkeley

Helen Deutsch

Director, Center for 17th & 18th-C Studies/Clark Library

Johanna Drucker

Distinguished Professor, Breslauer Professor of Information Studies

Work closely with Special Collections staff on projects and have contact with many students from IS who work there as well.

Jen Osorio

International Studies

Gayatri Singh

Reference & Information Services Coordinator, and Librarian for Communication, UC San Diego Library

I held 3 temporary librarian positions in the UC system, and know first hand how hard it is when your career exists on short-term contracts. The UCs need to do better.

Claude Potts

Romance Languages Libraria, UC Berkeley

Having served on Committee on Appointment Promotion and Advancement (CAPA) for three years, I witnessed how a reliance on temporary librarians hurts not only the institution but also the chances of these second-tier librarians  establishing themselves in the profession.

Julie Lefevre

Librarian, Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley

Eric Milenkiewicz

Digital Initiatives Program Manager, UC Riverside Library

Ariel Schudson

Independent Scholar, UCLA Alumna (MIAS program and Cinema and Media Studies)

I treasured the archival position that I held. But it was contractual. Many others have stated the basic issues that make contractual positions problematic- professional establishment, morale, etc. For me, this abbreviated term did not allow me to gain decent work experience or the confidence necessary to move forward to another workspace. Contract positions are incredibly damaging to this profession and to us as professionals.

Rachel Rosenfeld

Archivist at AMPAS, UCLA MLIS alum, former Bancroft Library  UC Berkeley contract employee

Nina Mamikunian

Librarian for Literature and Theatre & Dance, UC San Diego Library

I loved my job at UCLA but I was a temporary librarian and  I felt it difficult to set long term goals and pursue meaningful relationships with the faculty and students I served. Temporary employment is a cloud that hangs over all the work that you do.

Rebecca Townsend

UCLA MLIS alum, former UCLA Library student employee (YRL, Powell, LSC)

Raphael Sasayama

UCLA MLIS, Stacks manager, Balch Art Research Library, LACMA

The goal is clear, so make it work!

Alison Lipman

Lecturer, EEB Dept.

I understand how difficult it is to dedicate yourself fully to a job when it is only temporary.  I have this same problem as a lecturer with year to year contracts.  UCLA needs to move past this problem by hiring outstanding staff/faculty on a permanent basis.  Hiring temporary staff undermines the work done by the university and is ultimately bad for students.

Laurel McPhee

Supervisory Archivist (Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library)

UCLA’s LSC hiring practices for archival work are unethical, untenable, and ultimately unsustainable. Sound stewardship of thousands of feet of records and personal papers requires full-time, permanent staff.

Andrew Wallace

Digital Library Development

At UCLA I’ve been working on various machine learning projects using our collections, which have the potential to produce innovative results that would reflect very well on the library. I’ve sensed a lot of interest from the administration in this kind of work.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure the administration understands the degree to which this work builds on a foundation of basic librarianship. For all the high-tech appeal of machine learning, it fundamentally depends on good data, and our librarians are the ones who produce that data. We have excellent archivists but they are overworked and turnover is too high. The library’s failure to invest in the people doing that work has stymied our ability to do the cutting-edge work we would like to do.

Finally, as a contract employee myself I am very aware I could make a lot more money in the tech industry. I am committed to UCLA’s public mission but find it hard to justify the lower salary in the absence of long-term security and when the library is unwilling to invest in the librarians who enable the technological work I’d like to be doing.

Michael Meranze

Professor of History

Megan Hahn Fraser

Marcus A. McCorison Librarian, American Antiquarian Society. Former Co-Head of Collection Management at UCLA Library Special Collections.

Corliss Lee

Instruction Services Division, UC Berkeley Library

Ariel Deardorff

Data Services Librarian, UCSF Library

Janine Henri

UCLA Arts Library

It is one thing to hire temporary archivists to work on grant-funded projects that have a specific end date. But hiring temporary archivists for ongoing, core, day-to-day operations of the department does sound like a violation of the UC-AFT Unit 17 MOU, Article 18 contract. I concur that this practice is also disrespectful and unprofessional.

Irene Gates

Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology, Temporary Archivist

Yajun Mo

Assistant Professor, History Department, Boston College; UCSC alum

Eric Hounshell

Lecturer, UCLA Department of History, PhD UCLA 2017

Graduate training and research at UCLA in history and neighboring fields depend on the expertise, institutional knowledge, and professional training  of “temporary” librarians at LSC and the unique CFPRT program. I have called upon the faculty and graduate students of my department to support this open letter.

Jessica Pigza

Outreach and Exhibits Librarian, Special Collections & Archives, UC Santa Cruz

Muriel C. McClendon

Associate Professor, History

Aaron Samuels

PhD program, NELC, Jewish History

Roii Ball

PhD Candidate, UCLA History

Chris Bingley

History Department

Jennifer Manoukian

PhD student, UCLA NELC, Armenian Studies

Daniel Ohanian

PhD Student in History

Vipin Krishna

PhD Student in History

Hannah Mandel

Archivist, Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, UCLA MLIS

Sarah Walsh

PhD Candidate, UCLA HIstory

Madina Thiam

PhD Candidate, UCLA History

Javier Munoz

PhD Student, UCLA History

Liana Katz

MURP ‘18, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Michael Dean

PhD Student, UCLA History

Tania Bride

PhD Candidate, UCLA History

Chris Mott

SCL, UCLA English

Echoing and amplifying comments from Cham, Borovsky, Watson, McIver, deGuzman, Drucker, Wallace, and Hounshell, I’m signing because this practice impairs UCLA’s educational mission. I know many English Department TAs who incorporate Special Collections projects into their curriculum--and important and growing trend across the nation--and the students as well as the teachers benefit from the consistency and coherence of institutional and professional knowledge of librarians given the chance to develop that knowledge.

Deborah Aschheim

Art

member of public who uses UCLA research resources, former lecturer in Dept of Art at UCLA

Lisa Monhoff

Project Archivist, The Bancroft Library

Susan Powell

GIS & Map Librarian, UC Berkeley

Nana Osei-Opare

PhD Candidate, UCLA History

Claire Lavagnino

UCLA PhD 2013, Lecturer, Department of Italian

Sarah McClung

Collection Development Librarian, UCSF

Miriam Posner

Assistant Professor, Information Studies

I love collaborating with our librarians at UCLA! However, my ability to do so is really hindered when workers are casualized. I can’t count on them to be there when I need them, and to have the institutional memory necessary to navigate the library and administration at UCLA. I know my friends in Special Collections are working so hard, and I really want to see their work compensated by fair and stable employment terms.

Charlie Macquarie

Digital Archivist, UCSF Library Archives & Special Collections

My colleagues at UCLA Library Special Collections are some of the hardest working and smartest archivists I know, and they deserve to have their labor honored by acknowledging the necessity of their positions. This persistent problem at (many) UC Archival Repositories needs to be acknowledged and addressed.

Erin Hurley

CAVPP/California Revealed, UCLA MLIS

As a fellow archivist, I have experienced firsthand how damaging this practice can be, and I hope to see archivists treated with the respect they deserve.

Rachel Mandell

Metadata Librarian, USC

In solidarity I sign this letter to acknowledge the labor of my colleagues and to recognize the impact they have on the university and the greater library profession. This harmful practice is inefficient and unsustainable-- it needs to stop.

Bolton Doub

Archival Projects Librarian, USC Libraries Special Collections

I am currently working on my third contract-based two-year archives processing project in a row. These temporary hiring practices in the archives profession are not sustainable for any party involved.

Mark Simon Haydn

Project Archivist, NYU Libraries

I am signing this in support of the archivists’ efforts to do their work with stability and dignity. The arguments made about the ill-effects of short-term employment on collection care are strong and true, but UCLA should not require additional persuasion or metrics to give their employees meaningful and dignified working lives.

Ashley Blewer

Independent

 

Stacy Wood

Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information - UCLA MLIS, PhD

Roderic Crooks

Assistant Professor, Department of Informatics, UC Irvine

UCLA Libraries cannot build "a library of the future" without equity for the information professionals who execute the core mission of the institution.

Seth Erickson

Penn State Libraries CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow

Dorothy Berry

Digital Collections Program Manager, Houghton Library - Harvard University Libraries

The practice of depending on contingent labor is both unfair to workers and disruptive to the field as a whole.

Alexis A. Antracoli

Assistant University Archivist for Technical Services, Princeton University Library

Elizabeth Skene

Assistant Professor, Special and Digital Collections Librarian, Western Carolina University

Mallory Furnier

Archivist, Urban Archives and Old China Hands Archives, California State University, Northridge

Prior to my current position I was a project hopping temporary archivist for seven years in the same institution. Temporary labor is not a substitute for permanent staff, and serves as a unsustainable band-aid for operational needs. Our profession's labor practices need to change and UCLA has an opportunity to set the tone as a leading institution.

Kelly Bolding

Project Archivist for Americana Manuscript Collections, Princeton University Library

Morten Bay

Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. Of Information Studies, UCLA

David A. Wallace

Clinical Associate Professor, School of Information, University of Michigan

Lauren Sorensen

PhD student, UCLA Information Studies; Association of Moving Image Archivists’ Secretary & Director of the Board

Yvonne M. Eadon

PhD Student, UCLA Information Studies, former CFPRT Scholar at UCLA LSC

Carlin Soos

PhD Student, UCLA Department of Information Studies; recently hired CFPRT Scholar at UCLA LSC

I have had amazing experiences collaborating with the librarians and archivists working throughout UCLA’s library system. Their familiarity with their collections and passion for helping students and researchers is a beautiful and needed asset to the UCLA community. All of these individuals deserve the utmost respect and support from the University, its members, and the academic community. This lack of stability is unsustainable for our institution and insulting to the important contributions gifted by these talented professionals.

April Feldman

University Archivist, California State University, Northridge

Kelly Kress

Assistant Archivist

Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Former Processing Archivist at UCLA Library Special Collections

Signing in solidarity with my former UCLA colleagues. This unsustainable and demoralizing practice needs to end. It would be wonderful and also very appropriate to see the efforts of the archivists who wrote this letter realized now, to benefit future archivist work at UCLA and everywhere.

Gracen Brilmyer

PhD student, UCLA Department of Information Studies

Julieta Garcia

Archivist, International Guitar Research Archives (IGRA), CSU, Northridge

I was in a grant funded temporary position for a long time. I didn’t know if I would have a job when my contract would end. Luckily now I am in a stable position and feel like I am part of the institution.

Karl-Rainer Blumenthal

Web Archivist, Internet Archive

Joseph Gallucci

Project Archivist, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

Dinah Handel

Digitization Services Manager, Stanford University

Temporary positions negatively impact archives at all levels, as well as the field at large. I sign in solidarity with my colleagues at UCLA. As someone with a 3 year term position, I share similar frustrations.

Athena Christa Holbrook

Collection Specialist, MoMA

Brendan Coates

Sr. Archivist, Oral History Projects, AMPAS

Celeste Brewer

Processing Archivist, Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Every time a temporary staff member leaves a position, valuable institutional knowledge is lost.

Ethan Gates

Independent

Brian E. Davis

Digital Production & Digital Preservation Supervisor, Oregon State University Libraries & Press

Tricia Patterson

Digital Preservation Analyst, Harvard Library

Alyssa V. Loera

Head of Digital Services and Technology, Cal Poly Pomona University Library

David Staniunas

Archivist, Presbyterian Historical Society

Nicole Contaxis

Project Coordinator, NYU Health Sciences Library

Andrew Weaver

Digital Infrastructure and Preservation Librarian, Washington State University Libraries

Marie Lascu

Audiovisual Archivist, Crowing Rooster Arts + Digital Archivist, Ballet Tech + XFR Collective, New York, NY

Seth Anderson

Software Preservation Program Manager, Yale University Library

As a former temporary staff member, I know first hand the challenges and undue burden this practice imposes on individuals who devote themselves to the institutions who gladly take advantage. I hope to see this practice come to an end and sign in support of my colleagues at UCLA.

Vicky Steeves

Librarian for Research Data Management and Reproducibility, New York University

Signing in solidarity with my UC colleagues, and with all my colleagues suffering under these stressful conditions.

Katie Mika

Data Services Librarian, University of Colorado Boulder

Eddy Colloton

Assistant Conservator, Denver Art Museum

I will be leaving my 2nd temporary position in a row to start yet another temporary position soon (after receiving an MA degree in 2016). I have had to leave each of my previous positions before my projects were completed in order to assure that I could maintain employment (and therefore financial security). This has lead to projects remaining incomplete after I was forced to leave early. Temporary positions harm the institutions that create them, just as they are a burden for those that fill the positions. The UCLA libraries, and their librarians, will be better served by full time, permanent hires.

Pamela Vadakan

Associate Director, California Revealed, California State Library

UCLA Libraries could lead the way for all UC Libraries, and the library/archives/museum field in general, which depend too much on grant-funded, temporary, staff for long-term collections care. I wholeheartedly support the effort of librarians and archivists at UCLA, and UC-AFT, to change the system. Collections, and the professionals that take care of these collections, deserve the investment.

Tim Walsh

Fellow, Library Innovation Lab at Harvard University

Rebecca Ruud

Media Archivist, Paramount Pictures Archives; UCLA Alumnae and former Clark Library student worker

The use of temporary librarians and archivists, especially in the special collections is harmful to our profession and institutions. The most important quality for an employee in these institutions is knowledge of their collections. Without the ability to complete processing large collections, and the ability to gain familiarity with collections, we cannot adequately provide patrons with relevant materials.

Jennifer Bolmarcich

Bicentennial Project Archivist, Amherst College

As a new professional and a current project archivist, I am sorry to see such reliance on misclassification and mistreatment of archivists and librarians at UCLA. This is a profession-wide problem, and to see this institution--one charged with educating new archivists and librarians--abnegate the responsibilities of professional mentoring and stewardship is disheartening. I support the librarians and archivists at UCLA who are working with their colleagues in UC-AFT, to correct these exploitative practices.

Jessica Storm

Media Archivist, Paramount Pictures; UCLA Alum; former contract archivist, UCLA Film and TV Archive

Being moved from one contract position to another at UCLA and elsewhere over a number of years, I have seen firsthand how professionals can be exploited for institutional or corporate gain. It is unfair and undermines the reputability that we were taught to maintain while in grad school and throughout our careers.

Caitlin Denny

Media Archivist, Paramount Pictures Archives; UCLA Alumnae and former UCLA LSC CFPRT scholar

The practice of hiring temporary LIS employees in the UCLA LSC is dishonorable and act of malice. Requiring an MLIS for a position that is planned to be exterminated is a blow to the professionalism of LIS workers nationwide.  We are deserving of the same securities, benefits and wages as other permanent positions in the UC system. The LIS community is motivated and ready to fight this injustice.

Alejandra Espasande

Coordinator, Academy Preservation and Foundation Programs; UCLA Alumnae

At times people are pushed out of the profession because of this very reason, openings for temporary positions and lack of permanent jobs. It is not good for the morale of a trained professional to be confronted with such lack of opportunities and treatment from part of prestigious institutions.

Erica Titkemeyer

AV Conservator & Project Director,

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill;

Rebecca Bucher Wollner

Assistant Librarian, Design Institute of San Diego; former LSC library/student assistant

Joyce Gabiola

PhD Student, UCLA Department of Information Studies

Tammi Kim

Special Collections and Archives Technical Services Librarian, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; UCLA Alumnae

Mark Edward Heuck

Film historian, freelance researcher

Amanda Cheung

UCLA MLIS alum, former Student Assistant & CFPRT at UCLA LSC

Patricia Garcia

UM Assistant Professor

Nicholas Beyelia

Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library

This is incredibly disrespectful to accredited professionals and needs to stop.

Karla Irwin

Special Collections and Archives Technical Services Librarian, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Ashley Chase

Project Archivist, Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University School of Medicine. UCLA alumnae

Sara Seltzer

Institutional Archivist, J. Paul Getty Trust; UCLA MLIS alum

Teresa Soleau

Digital Preservation Manager, J. Paul Getty Trust, UCLA MLIS alum

I worked for many years in temporary positions doing core work (including digital preservation!) and I have managed departments with temporary positions. I agree with all the reasons outlined above - particularly the waste of time in dealing with staff turn-over and the loss of institutional knowledge.

Summer Espinoza

Digital Archivist, California State University, Dominguez Hills

sespinoza@csudh.edu

Temporary positions are rarely justifiable for the level of expertise and longevity needed for even project positions. How can temporary positions fulfill the archival mission of maintaining long-lasting records? It is ineffective and inefficient in the long run. I agree that is is a great opportunity for setting a trend for change.

Sean Savage

Academy Film Archive

Mary Haberle

Web Archivist, Internet Archive

Brendan Lucas

UCLA Alum; Outfest UCLA Legacy Project

Solidarity, not precarity.

Joe Carrano

Digital Archivist, MIT Libraries

Elizabeth England

Digital Archivist, Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries

Samantha DeWitt

Resource sharing specialist,

Harvard Libraries

Replacing long-term library and archives positions with temporary staff is both unethical and short-sighted. Continually having to train new hires significantly reduces a department’s efficiency and cohesion.

Rebecca Fraimow

Digital Archives Manager, WGBH

Signing in solidarity! Basing an institution’s sustainability around temporary staff hires (when the university is fully capable of hiring permanent staff) is not only unethical, but poor preservation planning

Jennie Freeburg

Librarian/Archivist

This practice is harmful to the profession as a whole, and we should all examine the ways in which we perpetuate it. Solidarity.

Andrew Berger

Senior Digital Archivist, Computer History Museum

I began my career as an archivist in a temporary, term-limited position at an academic library (not UCLA). Everything in this letter rings true to my experience at that library, and to the experiences of the many other archivists and librarians I’ve spoken to about temporary positions.

Tanya Goldman

Phd Candidate, NYU

Archivists are bedrocks of institutional memory and an invaluable tool for scholars to produce knowledge. Scholars cannot produce work without their expertise. These should be full-time positions. Universities must find resources to support the invaluable services they provide.

Timothy E Wilson

Film & Television Archive

Employee turnover is wasteful on so many levels. Most importantly, it's time to invest in human beings, and give them the respect and job security they deserve, and whose return on investment is priceless.

Dan Erdman

Media Burn Archive

Beaudry Allen

Archival Processing Specialist & Digital Productions Coordinator, UC Santa Barbara

Robert D. Montoya

Assistant Professor, Information and Library Science, Indiana University Bloomington. Former Head of Public Services, UCLA Library Special Collections.

Alena McNamara

Librarian, Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Susan Kriete

Librarian II, Milstein Division, NYPL

Institutions that have enough funds to acquire collections must also budget enough funds for permanent staff to properly care for them and make them accessible to the public

Tanya Zanish-Belcher

Director, SCA, Wake Forest University

Alison Clemens

Assistant Head of Arrangement & Description, Yale University Library

Alice Sara Prael

Digital Archivist, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Stephanie Bennett

Collections Archivist, SCA, Wake Forest University

The damages of temporary jobs are well-described above. I certainly make note of institutions that rely on temporary labor; how could I make a career for myself at such an institution?

Rachel Ward

Recent recipient of the National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) fellowship

Desiree Goodwin

Harvard Library Resource Sharing

This is an attack on labor rights,  the library profession, and the sustainability of scholarship and communities.

Addie Owens

Harvard Library Resource Sharing

Kathryn Gronsbell

Digital Collections Manager, Carnegie Hall

Jade Finlinson

UCLA MLIS, former library assistant at LSC

Joshua Zimmerman

Archivist/Records Manager, Archdiocese of Seattle

Zack Lischer-Katz

University of Oklahoma, CLIR Postdoc in Data Curation

Penelope Neder-Muro

Processing Archivist, California Institute of Technology

Stella Castillo

Project Archivist, Cal State Dominguez Hills

Christine Rank

Manager of Information, The Wende Museum, UCLA MLIS alum

Amanda Roth

Instructional Technologies Librarian, UC San Diego

As a former temporary appointment, that was made permanent, it is possible to hire full time positions economically.

Brooke Ramos

UCLA ‘08; Librarian, Clovis Community College, CA

Temporary positions, as with any position, are expensive to recruit and hire for and in addition, when the position ends you lose the investment in that person and their invaluable institutional knowledge and memory. The program will not reach its full potential if you continue on with staffing the archives with a temporary staff and this practice devalues the archivists who have put in many years of hard work and dedication to their profession and into UCLA itself.

Jillian Cuellar

Director of Special Collections at Tulane University; former Head of Collection Management at UCLA Library Special Collections

Successful special collections programs cannot rely on project staff for sustainability, growth, and innovation. To do so is short-sighted, and unfair to the project staff, the permanent staff, and the users who donate and use our collections and support our work. While project positions can be mutually beneficial when used appropriately, they should not be a permanent solution to ongoing operational needs. LSC has benefited enormously from the skills, intelligence, and ambition of its project staff. If they cannot be offered permanent positions, then the Library should make a commitment to implementing new approaches to collection stewardship that do not contribute to the instability of the special collections labor force. Recalibrating collecting efforts to match the capacity of permanent resources would be a good place to start.

Jennifer Kishi

Archivist, Sterling Ruby Studio

Brenda Flora

Archivist, Amistad Research Center

In addition to all the reasons outlined here, temporary employment is also harmful to the institution because it robs it of institutional knowledge and the ability to build and maintain lasting relationships with donors and patrons, which is vitally important particularly in archives.

Laura Cherry

Image Coordinator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Andrea Hoff

Archives Specialist, Santa Clara University

In solidarity.

Shelley Carr

Resource Sharing, University of San Francisco

Students pay for the privilege of services by respected and skilled archivists and other library staff, by only filling these important positions with temporary workers, it reflects poorly on the institution of UCLA, and shows that they believe that disrespected workers are good enough for this work. By exploiting these archivists, they devalue the respected status of the University and disprove any stated interest in fairness, equality, and respect.

Mary Stark

Librarian II, Beverly Hills Public Library, Fine Arts Librarian

Mario H. Ramirez

CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow, Indiana University, Bloomington

As a former Project Archivist at two different institutions, I can personally attest to the economic and personal precarity that I experienced as a product of my temporary status. Moreover, the impact this had on the trajectory  of my career has been immeasurable, and continues to have ramifications for me today.

Sonya Rao

PhD Candidate, Anthropology, UCLA

L. Chizu Morihara

Librarian, UC Santa Barbara Library

 

Kristin Lipska

Digital and Media Archives Coordinator, San Francisco Symphony

Jim Van Buskirk

Librarian II (retired), San Francisco Public Library

Mari Khasmanyan

Archival Processing Specialist for the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA), Special Research Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library

There needs to be a UC wide consistency of ranking of the archival profession. Pay and class should be equal to librarian employee status. Collections aren’t temporary and backlog is inevitable. Temp positions result in newer employees processing supplemental materials with little institutional knowledge available.

Cristela Garcia-Spitz

Digital Initiatives Librarian, UC San Diego Library

I started in a temporary position at UC San Diego Library, and I can attest to the struggle to try and maintain your job responsibilities and plan for projects and activities that are on a 5-year timeline, when your employment at the institution is only for a 2-year contract.  It’s unrealistic and unhelpful to all those involved -  faculty and students, as well as Library colleagues, who relying on the work.

John Carl Stucky

Library Director, C. Laan Chun Library, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

Daisy Muralles

Information and Reference Specialist, UCSB Library Special Research Collections

Sandy Rodriguez

Head of Digital Archives & Stewardship, University of Missouri--Kansas City

This practice harms library workers, the institution, and the communities we serve.

Eira Tansey

University of Cincinnati

Over-reliance on temporary labor undermines the larger mission of cultural heritage and documentary memory.

Sarah Hamerman

Princeton University Library

Relying on temporary staff -- especially when those professionals are refused a comparable salary, benefit package, and opportunities for professional growth with their permanent-staff peers -- devalues the library and archival profession as a whole. How can we care for our collections if we don’t care for the people who maintain them?

Samantha Winn

Collections Archivist, Virginia Tech

I urge UCLA and all other large universities relying on temporary labor to immediately stop this unconscionable, shameful, and deeply unsustainable practice. It exploits the good will and livelihood of archival professionals and undermines our service to patrons, donors, and colleagues. Cheers to the authors of this letter for clearly articulating one of the most pernicious labor abuses in LIS.

Kira Dietz

Acquisitions & Processing Archivist, Virginia Tech

Krystal Boehlert

Visual Resources Specialist, UC Riverside

Jeremy Brett

Cushing Memorial Library & Archives, Texas A&M University

Temporary labor is an unfair crutch that does not benefit institutions or the people who staff them.

Akunna Eneh

Programs & Community Outreach Librarian, Boston Public Library

Anthony Wright de Hernandez

Community Collections Archivist, Virginia Tech

As was well explained in this letter, temporary positions negatively affect workers, the institution, and the work. Long-term planning is precluded when all workers are temporary workers. When every position posted by an institution is temporary, it also gains that institution a negative reputation within the profession. I recently completed a job search where I specifically excluded institutions like UCLA as potential employers because of this practice. I’m sure others have done the same.

Anna Clutterbuck-Cook

Reference Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society

As a reference librarian in a special collections environment, I am keenly aware of the institutional memory and expertise that is lost with each staff member hired away. While temporary positions have their place in the library workplace, they should never become a permanent solution to staffing. The institution, as well as the workers who hold those positions, suffer as a result.

Ruth Kitchin Tillman

Cataloging Systems and Linked Data Strategist (Assistant Librarian), Penn State University Libraries

This letter aptly describes how reliance on temporary positions for work beyond special projects both injures the precarious workers who hold them and damages the work, culture, climate, continuity, and effectiveness of such departments overall. I join them in asking UCLA to commit to its regents and donors by committing to the workers who steward their collections.

Mark A. Matienzo

Collaboration and Interoperability Architect, Stanford University Libraries

Lindsey Benjamin

Archives Specialist, Oregon Historical Society

This letter speaks to the pervasive and damaging nature of temporary positions in our field of employment. As institutions working to preserve and share information with communities, we need to value and support those working towards these important tasks via expertise gained through years of hard work and commitment.

Carmen Mitchell

Scholarly Communication Librarian, Cal State San Marcos

Elena Colón-Marrero

Digital Processing Archivist, Computer History Museum

Jessica E. Johnson

Processing Archivist, Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries

Libby Coyner

Archivist, Elon University

Laura Bang

Distinctive Collections Librarian/Archivist, Villanova University

Over the past several years, I have watched with alarm the growing number of temporary/contract positions within our field. This practice devalues the profession and harms both the individuals and the institutions. If staff are not working on a temporary project, they should not be temporary staff.

Tim Lentz

Library Director, Midland University

Dennis Doros

Co-owner of Milestone Films

Amy Wickner

Electronic Records Archivist, University of Maryland Libraries

The practices and experiences this letter describes are systematic across libraries and archives. I support my colleagues in speaking up for change and encourage fellow archivists and librarians with job security to use any and all influence we can for same.

Matt Stahl

University Archivist, University of California, Santa Barbara

Temporary positions are detrimental to our profession on the whole.

Jennifer Johnson

Senior Archivist, Cargill, Incorporated

Noah Huffman

Archivist for Metadata, Systems, and Digital Records, Duke University

Stacey Erdman

Digital Archivist, Beloit College and Instructor for the Digital POWRR Project

I stand in solidarity with my colleagues, and echo all the sentiments contained in this missive. My professional career also began in a temporary position. It impacted all personal and professional decisions in my life, because I had absolutely no feelings of security, and I continually felt devalued as a professional.  Libraries need to take a stand and put an end to precarious hiring practices.

Abbey Thompson

Assistant Library Director, AMDA Los Angeles

The over-use of temporary/contract positions and the reclassification of professional librarian positions to the paraprofessional-sphere have become an epidemic in libraries. It is destructive to the workforce and devalues us as a profession.

Matt Ruen

scholarly communication librarian, Grand Valley State University, MI

Signing in support, solidarity, and total admiration of the authors of this letter. The courage and integrity required to share this letter are qualities that any library should seek in employees, and which could only enrich UCLA’s mission and reputation.

Linda Kobashigawa

Librarian, Fresno City College

As a UCLA alumnus and former library employee of the UCLA Libraries I am disappointed that the practice of hiring and stringing along temporary librarians and archivists has continued. There must be a better way to treat employees who deliver valuable services and scholarship for their institution.

Michele Jennings

Art Librarian, Ohio University

Precarious work in libraries and archives is bad for institutions, bad for collections, bad for patrons, and bad for the profession. Period.

(UC alumni, UCSC 2012)

Alexandra Krensky

Processing Archivist, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jennifer V. Mitchell

Head of Archival Processing,

LSU Libraries Special Collections

Courtney Blossom

YA Librarian NYPL, Contract Librarian Belcan Engineering

As a contract librarian, I know that the work that I perform, offsite and onsite, is NECESSARY to the performance of my engineers. It cannot be undervalued. When you remove the information professionals, you risk all future work your institution could be possible of creating.

Jennifer Whitlock

Archivist, Vignelli Center for Design Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology

Shannon O’Neill

UCLA MLIS alum, former YRL student worker, and Director of Barnard Archives and Special Collection

Kellee E. Warren

Instructor and Special Collections Librarian, University of Illinois at Chicago

Temporary positions and contracts create an atmosphere of poor service. When you don’t allow professionals the time to learn the collections, and serve students, faculty, and community members, this reflects poorly on the university.

Lindsay (Hansen) Brown

CSUN, formerly UCLA Music Library

I was fortunate to be a temporary librarian for only a year and transition to a full-time, tenure-track position. Too many librarians are undervalued, underpaid, and get stuck in a loop of temporary contracts.

Rose L. Chou

Budget & Personnel Manager, American University Library

Kurt Hanselman

Metadata Specialist, UC San Diego Library; UCLA MLIS alum.

Hillel Arnold

Assistant Director, Head of Digital Programs, Rockefeller Archive Center

Jaena Rae Cabrera

Librarian I, San Francisco Public Library

Alexandra Chassanoff

Research Program Officer, Educopia Institute

Jennifer Pierre

Department of Information Studies, uUCLA WI+RE

I am constantly inspired by the passion, dedication, creativity, and expertise of the archivists and librarians I have had the pleasure of working with, despite many of them facing distressing financial and career instability from the precarity of  their positions. I agree wholeheartedly that expecting them to continue this caliber of work and invest in long-term developments while assigning them to temporary positions is unsustainable, short-sighted, and a severe detriment to the profession and to the campus as a whole. I encourage the UCLA LSC to take this opportunity to reverse the troubling trend across libraries, academic departments, and universities more broadly of devaluing this work through the continued removal of permanent positions.

Ebony Magnus

Assessment & User Experience Librarian, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Xiaoda Wang

Former project archives assistant at Getty Research Institute. Former project archivist at Huntington Library

Project archival work is toxic for all involved. Project archivists make long-term plans for historical and institutional assets, yet they have been forced to sacrifice their own long-term plans. It’s a guarantee any department with project archivists will lose team morale and respect for leadership.

Penny Scott

Librarian, University of San Francisco

Angie Lyons

Librarian, West Coast University, Los Angeles Branch (UCLA MLIS Alumni)

Amanda Meeks

Librarian, Northern Arizona University

This practice harms everyone involved and is especially unfair to those hired into temporary positions.

Summer Krstevska

Librarian, National University, San Diego, CA

The importance of librarians being valued and having the support of their institution is an ongoing battle. Supporting temporary contract goes against any progress we’ve made as librarians to be valued.  

Carl Hess

Information Literacy Librarian

Southeast Missouri State University

Lisa Labovitch

History Specialist, Everett Public Library, Everett, WA

Not supporting full-time positions with benefits for library and archives professionals erodes our professions as a whole. Administrators with the power to add or remove positions will begin to see our labor as disposable, and our colleagues as interchangeable rather than possessing their own valuable skill sets and strengths. Eventually there will be a massive drain in talent as qualified professionals can no longer support themselves and pay off student loans with the term, part-time, and temporary positions that are on offer. Moreover, this kind of hiring practice works against efforts to increase diversity within the profession, making it only feasible for a narrow subset of candidates who can afford to work temporary or part time positions. Constantly having to hustle up new term positions is highly stressful, and takes a toll on productivity and professional morale; we lose a lot of talented people to burnout due to these practices.

Samantha Alfrey

Research and Instruction Librarian, Whittier College

Nicollette Brant

UCLA MLIS Candidate, UCLA Library student employee (YRL)

Brianna Toth

UCLA MLIS MAS Candidate 2019

Alexis Recto

UCLA MLIS Candidate, Archival Studies 2019

Raisha Pacella

UCLA MLIS Candidate 2019, Graduate School of Education & Information Science

Dvorah (Deborah) Lewis

Genealogy & Local History Librarian, Sutro Library - California State Library, San Francisco

As an alumna of the MLIS program and a former employee, I support this completely. I know firsthand how stressful it is to jump from one temporary job to the next. UCLA should set an example and inspire other institutions to follow suit, especially since UCLA is home to such a great MLIS program.

Ana D. Rodriguez

South Florida Librarian, Florida International University, Miami, FL

Wholeheartedly support the UCLA archivists. I am also working on a temporary basis, and know firsthand the struggle of securing a position, period, in this field. UCLA and other libraries too need to get their act together, to bring job security, stability, and professional recognition to the archival profession

Rick Prelinger

Professor, Film & Digital Media, UC Santa Cruz

Equity, institutional memory, quality of services and the dignity of archival labor are all intertwined.

Andrea Leigh

Supervisory Librarian, Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation (not an endorsement/statement/approval from my workplace); former Library Assistant and Associate Librarian at UCLA; MLIS, B.A., UCLA

UCLA LSC should be ashamed that it is unfairly compensating full time archivists. Doing so devalues the profession and places valuable collections at risk.

Isaac Williams

Digital Library Program, UCLA MLIS (informatics)  student

With all the work archivists do at LSC, it’s only fair that they are given economic and job security.

Yuri Shimoda

UCLA MLIS (Media Archival Studies) Candidate 2019, UCLA Library Graduate Student Assistant (Music Library and formerly Library Special Collections)

Annie Tang

Processing Archivist, Johns Hopkins University; former UCLA CFPRT intern and ARL/SAA Mosaic Fellow at UCLA Library Special Collections (LSC)

An institution as world-class as UCLA should do better by its employees! Particularly with such a busy Special Collections reading room as UCLA’s. It is shameful most of the archives staff is temporary. It should be the reverse, as is the trend among many libraries, which only have 1 or 2 archists per repository. Most archivists of a Special Collections department should be part of the permanent line budget. This is so displeasing and disappointing to hear about my former workplace and alma mater.

Peggy Davis

Continuing Lecturer, UCLA Writing Programs

Julie Botnick

UCLA MLIS Archives Candidate 2019

Joy Rowe

Former academic archivist, Simon Fraser University

New professionals can be in temporary archivist academic positions for  5 years. How is that temporary work? oThis is a systemic problem that needs to be resisted everywhere.

Claire LaPolt

Librarian, Flintridge Preparatory School ; UCLA MLIS 2014

Emily Drabinski

Librarian, Long Island University, Brooklyn; President, Long Island University Faculty Federation

Working conditions are teaching, learning, and researching conditions. Do right by these workers!

Liz Cheney

UCLA Science Libraries

Ali Versluis

Open Educational Resources Librarian, University of Guelph

Brian Rogers

Librarian, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Elizabeth Randell Upton

UCLA, HASoM, Musicology

Glenda Goodman

University of Pennsylvania, Music

Roger Gillis

Copyright & Digital Humanities Librarian, Dalhousie University

Amanda Demeter

Assistant Archivist, King County Archives

Abby Flanigan

Research Librarian for Music and Performing Arts, University of Virginia

Jiaxing Guo

Simmons College MLIS Candidate, 2019

Katie Wilson

Biosciences Librarian and Data Curator, University of Minnesota

Steve Duckworth

University Archivist, Oregon Health & Science University

Alessandra Seiter

Simmons College MLIS Candidate ‘19

Maria Aghazarian

E-Resources and Scholarly Communications Specialist, Swarthmore College

Julia Stein

Archivist, Independent

Patricia Hswe

Program Officer for Scholarly Communications, Mellon Foundation

Bonnie Gordon

Digital Archivist, Rockefeller Archive Center

Michael Pazmino

UCLA Film & Television Archive

Matt Francis

Archivist, Ohio Northern University

Amy Sloper

Film Archivist, Wisconsin Center for Film & Theater Research / UCLA MIAS ‘06 / former UCLA YRL staffSe

Lauren Algee

Senior Innovation Specialist, LC Labs, Library of Congress (this in no way is an endorsement/approval/official statement from my workplace)

Saida Largaespada

UCLA MLIS Graduate, Musician Estate Archivist

As someone who received both her BA and MLIS from UCLA, I made the decision to  not apply to work  within academia as an archivist because of contingent labor practices and the financial and healthcare impact uncertainty of employment would have on my family.

Krystell Jimenez

UCLA MLIS Candidate 2019

Zayda Delgado

Librarian, Sonoma County Library

Bethany Anderson

Archival Operations and Reference Specialist, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tiffany Ito

University of Colorado Boulder

UCLA ‘89

Mary Wegmann

Collection Development Librarian, SSU

Mitchell C. Brown

Librarian, University of California irvine, Scholarly Communications Coordinator

Caroline Gil Rodriguez

Fellow in Media Conservation, MoMA

Carol Lubkowski

Music Librarian, Wellesley College

Kristen LaBonte

Associate Librarian, UC Santa Barbara

Axel E Borg

Food and Wine Science Bibliographer, Shields Library, UCD

Lane Goldszer

Librarian, San Francisco Public Library, James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

As a UCLA MLIS alumnus, I wholeheartedly support the positions expressed in the letter above. Temporary hiring practiced on a long term basis is harmful to all.

Ellen H. Belcher

Special Collections Librarian, Lloyd Sealy Library,  John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY

Temporary archivist/librarian positions are damaging to the collections, patrons, students, faculty, library and staff. They are a false economy. If the institution commits to collecting, caring for and making collections available, it should also commit to the professional staff needed to make that happen - permanently.

Gina Schlesselman-Tarango

Associate Librarian, California State University San Bernardino

Elizabeth Meyers

UCLA MLIS ‘19 candidate

Stacie Williams

Digital Scholarship team Lead, Case Western Reserve University

Temp positions devalue the field, our work and our collections. They perpetuate deep inequalities between groups of people in our profession. Period.

Quentin Pace

UNT MSLS ‘18 candidate

Josue Hurtado

Coordinator of Public Services and Outreach. Special Collections Research Center.  Temple University

Jessica Geiser

UCLA MLIS Alum; Collections Management Librarian, UC Riverside

Supriya Wronkiewicz

San Francisco Ballet Archivist, Museum of Performance + Design, San Francisco, CA

Sarah Mae Harper

UCLA MLIS Alum; former UCLA Library student employee (YRL); Librarian, LA County Library

Yvonne Ng

Senior Archivist, WITNESS

Adam Foster

UCL,A, MLIS / MAS 2019 Candidate, IS Lab Assistant III

Ryder Kouba

Digital Collections Archivist; American University in Cairo

Emily Vickers

Music Librarian, Eastern Washington University

Becca Bender

Audiovisual Archivist

Elizabeth M. Caringola

Archival Metadata Librarian, University of Maryland, College Park

Christina Hicks

Youth Service Librarian, Friendswood Public Library

Emily Lofquist

Youth Librarian, Kent District Library

Gavin Strassel

UAW Archivist, Wayne State University

Solidarity forever

Adam Burke

Librarian, Waubonsee Community College

Erin Faulder

Digital Archivist, Cornell University

Relying on temporary labor is not a solution to overcommitted services. This practice hides the valuable contribution our professionals make by claiming the work could be “finished” at any given time.

Rita Johnston

Digital Production Librarian, UNC Charlotte

Jolene M. Beiser

Project Archivist, Cornell University Library

I am a former temporary UCLA LSC worker. Not investing in employees and their careers is unfair and exploitative, and sets a terrible example for similar institutions and the profession at large.

Matthew Snyder

Archivist, Special Collections, The New York Public Library

Jess Whyte

Digital Preservation and Intake Coordinator, University of Toronto Libraries

Weatherly Stephan

Head of Archival Collections Management, New York University

Julia Kim

Digital Assets Specialist, American Folklife Center (Library of Congress, but this in no way is an endorsement/approval/official statement from my workplace)

Joanna Gadsby

Instruction Coordinator & Reference Librarian, UMBC

Jim DelRosso

Associate Librarian, Digital Projects Coordinator, Cornell University

Sherry Lochhaas

E-Resource Specialist, UC Berkeley

Cathy Aster

Digital Library Product & Service Manager, Stanford University  Libraries

Shae Rafferty

Labor and Urban Affairs Collections Archivist, Wayne State University