Toronto Public Library Workers Union

Who We Are

The Toronto Public Library Workers Union represents about 2300 full and part-time library workers across the city in 98 branches as well as in administrative and technical support services.

Our Roots

Our roots as a union go back nearly one hundred years to the early days of the 20th century, when Toronto Civic workers began organizing. We are affiliated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees as Local 4948.

Our Members

TPL staff serve the world's busiest library system, with 18.5 million visits a year. Our members are highly educated and dedicated professionals who reflect the diversity of our city and who devote their careers to preserving, organizing, enhancing and making more accessible the vast reservoir of human knowledge found in our libraries. Collectively, they are one of Toronto's most valuable public resources.

Joanna Pinpoint  DSC1083R01
Joanna Cristini

Joanna began working at TPL in 1985 and is a full-time Public Service Assistant. Even after all these years, she continues to love working "in a learning environment" and enjoys "the opportunity to work with other great staff, to help people on a daily basis and to meet new people." She deals with over 200 people a day. The self-checkout machines are not as helpful as had been hoped, Joanna says. "You miss speaking with at least half the number of regular patrons that we used to interact with unless there is a problem with the equipment or their card."

She also finds the security alarm often goes off when people try to self-checkout. They end up having to come back to the staff. 

 

Ryan Pinpoint  DSC0991R01Ryan Saavedra

Since 2009, Ryan has been a full-time librarian who works with children. He was first hired by TPL in 1999. He went to work for TPL in his teens because "it is a great job for high school kids and book lovers." He wanted to become a librarian because he enjoys helping people succeed and improve themselves. He feels that a librarian can play a role in this. "I've seen how much help the library can be to families, communities, newcomers, kids and all sorts of people." Ryan interacts with at least 100 patrons per day. His least favourite things about the TPL are the bureaucracy that stalls new initiatives and the fact that it is a large organization where you'll never meet everyone in every branch.  

 

Eliseo Pinpoint  DSC1480R01Eliseo Zompanti

Eliseo, Branch Head of Rexdale Library, was born in Italy. He immigrated to Canada when he was four years old and has lived in Toronto since, growing up in the Rogers/Weston Road area. In 1980, Eliseo applied for a part-time position as a Page at the York Public Library System, which became part of the TPL after Toronto amalgamation in 1998. In the beginning, working at the library, "…wasn't anything I ever thought I'd stick with," says Eliseo. Despite this, he kept his job all throughout high school and college where he earned a diploma in classical animation from Sheridan College, eventually working his way up to a full-time position.

Eliseo's favourite part about working at TPL is the interaction with people, especially with children who love reading. 

Fitz Pinpoint  DSC0940R01Fitzgerald Steele

Fitzgerald is a full-time Shipper and Driver who has worked for TPL since 1991. When he was first hired, it was just as a job, but he has grown to love his work and the contribution the libraries make to the community. "I enjoy working with the diversity of people at TPL. The quality of service they provide to the public is outstanding. I see it every day," he says. Fitzgerald typically deals with 100 people from the public daily. Since amalgamation he has seen a noticeable decline in the number of staff, which puts a lot of pressure on those who are there to serve the public. "They do a great job but there aren't enough of them. We need more people." Fitzgerald's favourite books are all of the A.K. Lewis series. 

 

Kathleen Pinpoint  DSC1044R01Kathleen Tong

Kathleen is a part-time Answerline Assistant at the Toronto Reference Library. She was hired in 1995. She wanted to work at TPL because she loved the book collections available in one of the world's great library systems. Kathleen's favourite things about working at TPL is the variety of jobs available, working with various groups of people and serving the public. She works with many people every day over the telephone and through the email and chat service.

Her least favourite thing is not being able to help or solve problems for customers. "In any large organization, changes, improvements and solutions often take a very long time to be implemented," she says. "It's no different here." 

Siddhant Pinpoint  DSC1446R01Siddhant Nambiar

Siddhant has been a Page since 2008. He applied to TPL in order to earn money to help put himself through school (he is studying Television Broadcasting) because "I am customer service oriented, enjoy the interaction with patrons and help them find what they need." On a typical shift he helps dozens of library users. Siddhant has observed that the RFID self-checkout systems don't help many patrons in his branch. "They mostly prefer interacting with staff. There's no substitute for the human element."

Siddhant's favourite books are about technology. 

 

Jinkie Pinpoint  DSC1158R01Jinkie David

Jinkie began working at TPL in 1997 as a student and when she completed her university degree she stayed on "because of the great opportunities, the great staff and the great public we work with." She is now a full-time Administrative Support Assistant in Room Bookings. Jinkie was around during amalgamation and says the decrease in staff since then is very noticeable. Although the larger system allowed for more opportunities, she finds that the resources and time you are given to achieve your job have declined, making it not only stressful but impairing her ability to help library users. "You're less engaged with patrons and the library experience suffers. It's not as much of a service as it once was." Nevertheless, she carries on and does her best every day, knowing how vital the library is to so many people. 

Russell Pinpoint  DSC0831R01Russell Hanley

Russell began working at TPL in 1985 and is now a Senior Branch Head. He applied to the library after a stint at a bookstore because he loves reading and connecting people with the materials they want or need. Russell's favourite thing about working at TPL is helping people not only find what materials they want but also helping them with library services, such as helping them learn how to use a computer.

His least favourite thing is the lack of time to spend with patrons who need extended help. "The busyness and the pace of change, combined with staffing shortages can make it difficult to properly serve the public." 

Stephanie Pinpoint  DSC1335R01Stephanie Pagnello

Stephanie has worked part-time as a Public Service Assistant since she began at TPL in 2005. On an average day, she assists 200-300 patrons and enjoys making the library more accessible and useful to users. Her B.A. in Psychology and Certificate in Behavioural Science have helped equip her for interacting with a very wide range of library users and their needs. Like many other part-time library workers, Stephanie hopes to eventually get a full-time position at TPL so that she can settle on library work as a career and put her training and experience to even better use. But staff reductions mean that full-time jobs are few and far between. Indeed, there are fewer full-time positions at TPL today than when she started six years ago, despite steadily growing library use in Toronto. 

 

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5h
Excellent letter to the @torontostar#Precariouswork at York U sets bad example for students… https://t.co/RXHrQvE9Ca
Apr 13
RT @CUPEYOW: Camlin, a member from @Local4948, Toronto Public Library Warriors, killing it at the Mic at the #OMERS Annual Meeting https://…
Apr 11
RT @waharnum @Brandon4948 @cupe932 @Cupe1989 @CUPE2974 @Local4948 that Library Warrior t-shirt is amazing
Apr 11
RT @Brandon4948: Wearing pink today in honour of the international #dayofpink. Time to end bullying, discrimination, homophobia, transpho…
Apr 11
RT @CUPEOntario: Today, the team here at @CUPEOntario recognizes the #DayofPink! Bullying, homophobia, transphobia, & all forms of hate ca…
Apr 09
RT @CUPEYOW: Your Young Workers Committee is committed to fighting for pensions for all of us in CUPE, and we're proud to be part of the de…
Apr 09
Precarious work followed by precarious retirement? No way! Inspiring to see so many young workers fighting for the… https://t.co/WcOCh5jcRL
Apr 09
RT @cupe3903comms: Importantly, 2294 of about 3700 members voted -- this means that approximately 62% of our membership voted. A strong m…
Apr 09
RT @cupe3903comms: It's OFFICIAL: all three units have VOTED NO in the forced ratification. Results by Unit: Unit 1: YES: 210 votes NO: 12…
Apr 05
RT @CUPE2424: “Your fight over these last weeks has also been a fight for what kind of university and world we want to collectively create.…
Apr 05
RT @cupenat: 👬👭👬@CUPE2424 members stood strong on the picket lines for more than four weeks. Their perseverance and resolve paid off…
Apr 04
Congratulations @CUPE2424#Solidarity You fought and won the good fight #Libraryworkers #WeAreCarletonhttps://t.co/5HxYKQsXpN
Apr 04
RT @TimLittle18 @4948President Congrats on your retirement! One of Toronto's working class heroes.
Apr 04
RT @cnqvv @Local4948 @4948President @torontolabour Sister you will be missed . Enjoy a well earned retirement. But remember there is alway…
Apr 04
RT @DoucetteWard13: Thank you Maureen for all of your hard work over the years representing those who work at our amazing Libraries. The br…
Apr 04
RT @DianeShears: They pushed, they protested, they won: NL public libraries saved https://t.co/rxWqdDw5jb@Local4948 @4948President#nlpoli…
Mar 31
RT @DianeShears: They pushed, they protested, they won: NL public libraries saved https://t.co/rxWqdDw5jb@Local4948 @4948President#nlpoli…
Mar 30
RT @cupe932: Stand in solidarity with York U as they fight against precarity. https://t.co/J5CWClYQoC
Mar 29
RT @wmtcblog: I have learned so much from this woman! What she's given library workers and the labour movement is beyond measure @4948Pres
Mar 29
RT @lkw66 @Local4948 @4948President @torontolabour Thank you for all your hard work over the years. Congratulations @4948President ! Wishi…
Mar 29
RT @CUPE2424: UPDATE: CUPE 2424 and the employer were unable to reach an agreement following another 18 hours in bargaining. Mediation has…
Mar 29
RT @CivicActionGTHA: A #LeadershipHero is someone ordinary who steps up in a time of need. Like the founding members of @progresstoronto, a…
Mar 29
RT @Local4948: Looks like @cupe3903comms fighting for fair contract now face forced vote. Shame on @YorkUPresident#yorkustrike https://t.
Mar 29
RT @Local4948: The original #librarywarrior @4948President Maureen O'Reilly is retiring at the end of April! We are beyond grateful for her…
Mar 28
The original #librarywarrior @4948President Maureen O'Reilly is retiring at the end of April! We are beyond gratefu… https://t.co/EllpySkiYh
Mar 28
RT @CUPE2424: Mike Palecek, National President @cupw: “Here, where you have a university with a president that makes $400,000 a year while…
Mar 27
RT @torontolabour: DAY of MOURNING 2018 ---- FRIDAY, APRIL 27 11am in YorkRegion and 12noon in #Toronto #TOpoli #canlab #ONpoli https://t.
Mar 27
Looks like @cupe3903comms fighting for fair contract now face forced vote. Shame on @YorkUPresident#yorkustrike… https://t.co/MtkAq8zfJB
Mar 26
RT @cupe932: Library starts interviewing employees amid controversial restructuring @cupe2669#saskatoonpubliclibrary https://t.co/19Kmq75
Mar 24
RT @ama_rie @CUPEOntario president @FredHahnCUPE Speaking to #OMECC2018 delegates... Your actions can help to #keepservicespublic https://…
Mar 24
RT @Local4948: Precarious Retirement? No way #OMERS #Pensions @CUPEOntario @4948President#retirement https://t.co/CrbPGVjznL
Mar 23
Precarious Retirement? No way #OMERS #Pensions @CUPEOntario @4948President#retirement https://t.co/CrbPGVjznL
Mar 23
RT @CACOMedic: Full House #OMECC2018 Discussing the important services Cupe workers provide in municipalities throughout Ontario @CUPEOntar
Mar 23
RT @CUPEOntario: Municipal workers from across the province gather for #OMECC2018 - Service Over Self - to underscore the vital role they p…
Mar 23
RT @ama_rie: "Just because a job ends doesn't mean the end of work" says @trishhennessy#omecc2018 https://t.co/WTSttJ3qHV
Mar 23
RT @cupe_1764: Daniel Sheppard from Goldblatt Partners LLP speaks at #OMECC2018 regarding Bill 148 and the changes to #Ontario’s Employment…
Mar 23
RT @CACOMedic: Daniel Sheppard from Goldblatt Partners speaks at #OMECC2018 regarding Bill 148 and the changes to Employment Standard Act.…
Mar 23
RT @CUPE1883PREZ: Great hearing from @PeterStapper about #AODAfail at #OMECC2018. See a barrier to accessibility? Snap a pic & upload with…
Mar 23
RT @ama_rie @CUPEOntario president @FredHahnCUPE Speaking to #OMECC2018 delegates... Your actions can help to #keepservicespublic https://…
Mar 23
RT @ama_rie @CUPEOntario @FredHahnCUPE reminding delegates of #OMECC2018" that "at the local level politics matter #MunicipalElections20
Mar 23
RT @5167President: So happy to share our videos with #OMECC2018 @CUPEOntario Here's Franco. https://t.co/6nh0Mt9vF3
Mar 23
RT @CUPE2974: "We need to bring Hydro One back in to public hands...we need big corporations and the richest Ontarions to pay their fair sh…
Mar 23
RT @CUPE1883PREZ: Thanks for sharing with all delegates at #OMECC2018 @5167President! 100 years, wow! https://t.co/7EanduYsrp
Mar 23
RT @5167President: Congratulations to @CUPELocal5167 Executive Member Ann Jenkins who was acclaimed as @CUPEOntario#OMECC2018 Chair #CUPE
Mar 23
RT @CUPE2424: “The students I’ve spoken to are stressed, and I think that my colleagues and I are very concerned @stuart_j_murray said. “…
Mar 23
RT @KylePugh17: For some people, especially older patrons, the staff at public libraries may be the only source of social interaction. It g…
Mar 23
RT @Local4948: Toronto Public #LibraryWorkers visit the #YorkUStrike line. Respect #solidarity for awesome @cupe3903comms workers fightin…