Bringing Our Libraries Back to the People!

Hennepin County has been seeking a MN Statute change (HF2097 and SF2267) to remove the Master of Library Science degree requirement as they hire a new Hennepin County Library Director. AFSCME Local 2822 acknowledges this is a complicated issue with many perspectives. We respect the varied educations and experiences of all library workers. We respect the hard work we all do serving our library communities.

We also acknowledge this is an unsettling time to work in the Library, with a Library and County Administration that is disconnected from the work we do. Their lack of support has led to a distrust and dysfunction between frontline workers and County leadership that has only deepened during this inept hiring process.

We denounce the dishonesty and disrespect used by Hennepin County in seeking this change in the law. Using “diversity” as an excuse for the MN Statute change is disingenuous: if Hennepin County Library was doing meaningful work addressing workforce diversity, the Library would not have so few workers of color compared to the rest of the County workforce.

And seeking this change without any dialogue with Library workers and communities was disrespectful. Public institutions belong to the public; public input and transparency is not optional. Going forward, we call on the Hennepin County Commissioners and the Hennepin County Library Board to support truly diverse and inclusive hiring practices at Hennepin County Libraries and to engage in an honest worker- and community-led hiring process for the next Director of Hennepin County Library. We need to bring the power back to the people of Hennepin County, because that is who our libraries belong to.