Perhaps it all started with a tweet announcing that the entire Harvard library staff has been fired. Since then, a lot of information has been circulating regarding Harvard’s attempt to restructure their libraries and lay off employees as part of the plan. Town hall meetings were used to announce the layoffs, followed by asking employees to resubmit their credentials to essentially fight for the very jobs they have. Still, layoffs are inevitable as the libraries continue to consolidate. The jobs that remain will also undergo significant restructuring, asking presumably already stressed employees to pick up more tasks and responsibilities.
There are several issues concerning the situation. First is how Harvard handled the communication of these layoff, causing panic in its workforce. While no one wants to hear that their position is being eliminated, doing so through town-hall like meetings seems disrespectful and certainly with off-timing. Then, to later encourage employees to upload their credentials to practically prove while they should not be voted off the island would invoke fear and disbelief in anyone.
Secondly, as Harvard is not the only academic university to consider mass restructuring of the library system in an economic crunch, what does this mean for other academic library systems? Or, is this an unfortunate way to learn how to not handle a reorganization and layoff sweep? What can other libraries take away from this, other paranoia that they too will see pink slips in their hands?
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