District Council 57

Library Workers Give Life to Their Communities

In an era where the Internet determines how people get access to information and fewer people need to leave their homes to seek answers to their questions, libraries have become more than just places where people go to check out books.

For librarians like Mary Corpora, a public library is a vital resource that helps people navigate their way through life.

“What I enjoy most about what I do is interacting with the people of my community in helpful way,” Corpora said. “I grew up in Pleasanton where I work, and still live here now, so it's always fun and immensely rewarding to assist old friends and also to meet people new to the community.”

This week we celebrated National Library Workers Day, and AFSCME is proud to represent thousands of library workers throughout Northern California. Working with allies and the public, AFSCME-represented library workers have won numerous battles to increase or restore funding for public library systems throughout the state.

The services that Corpora provides as a librarian in Pleasanton (Local 955) are an example of why public libraries need to remain funded.

Corpora recalls one recent afternoon when she helped a man who just discovered that he had a debilitating disease.

The man came to the reference desk and told her, "I used to be really smart." At first, she didn’t think much of what the man said.

But then the man continued, "Now I have Alzheimer's." He was in the early stages of the disease and wanted books with simple story lines because, while he could still read, it was, nevertheless, hard for him to keep too many characters straight.

He had just finished the Little House on the Prairie series and needed a suggestion for something similar, according to Corpora.

“I offered him some of the James Herriot All Creatures Great and Small series and then took him to a children's librarian to continue to help him find something suitable from their collection,” she said.
Moments like those are reminders that library workers do so much for their communities.

“I think it nicely illustrates what libraries really are for people: a life resource,” she said.

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