Members Names, Worksite Locations and Worksite Phones Numbers on New Website

Issue: The posting of members names, worksite location and worksite phone numbers on the new website.

From management’s email:
This is to confirm that as part of the new website design, the website team
made the decision to provide names of staff in positions of authority or
positions that work closely with the community. Positions identified as
part of this group are: managers, branch heads, children’s librarians,
and circulation supervisors (i.e., branch seniors and the Central
circulation supervisor).

Directors Group reasoning for increasing risk to staff safety is two-fold:
1. To provide the community direct access to the staff that have
significant impact on their use of the library and/or who is in a position
to represent management or library services to the public.
2. To reflect the public library’s status as a public institution and our
role as a community-based public service.

Actions by Union: Filed a grievance January 31st; apprised Directors Groups of members concerns; discussed matter with Directors Group.

Result of discussion so far: Directors Group has agreed to temporarily suspend publishing the names, worksite locations and worksite numbers of Children’s Librarians, Clerical supervisors. The Union will be meeting with the Directors Group next week to discuss this matter further.

There is a strange dichotomy operating in this instance: a management team that feels so compelled to limit their liability with public safety that they institute criminal record checks on their staff, yet does not seem interested in offering protection to their staff from certain members of the public. It was only after WorkSafe BC cited the library with unsafe risk factors last year and ordered an investigation of a assault to a staff member’ that management took appropriate actions. Our female-dominated staff does not have a history of assaulting the public, but we do have records of the staff being assaulted by the public. It is for that reason the the administration created the following policy:


With the exception of the employees in charge of the worksite, staff are
not required to give their name to members of the public upon request, the
patron will be given the employee’s badge number. The patron should be
referred to the employee in charge. Library Administration do not reveal
employee’s names to the public.

Approved by: Administration

Date: September 18, 1997
This policy reflected concerns of our membership in 1997 and is even more relevant today.

Many staff have phoned and written to protest this invasion of privacy and unnecessary advertising of their location. Some of the issues raised:

* Members can give business cards to the public if they deem it necessary.
* There are directories available for nonprofits and businesses
* The branch or division can connect the members to the public upon request if it is deemed safe
* Some staff have gone to the expense of unlisted numbers to protect their privacy
* Threats have been issued to staff
* Staff members have been assaulted by members of the public; cultural survey identifies that staff have serious security concerns
* Staff have been stalked from branch to branch
* Members in the original Virtual Reference asked for the ability to use nicknames to avoid any further occurrences of online mischief and harassment

The Directors Group have said that they will consider individual applications by members about this matter.

Please send the union your concerns on this matter to alexayou@vpl.

in solidarity