All 21 library branches in the city were closed in March, and with no clear timeline for when the facilities can re-open, the organization took measures to lay off more than 500 workers.
“In response to public health and safety measures and diminished operations, the library will be reducing its day-to-day staff,” Mary Kapusta, communications director with the Calgary Public Library, said Wednesday.
“The temporary layoff will affect roughly 75 per cent of staff.”
Previous to the closures, the library had 753 workers, but Kapusta said the drastic reduction in work, especially for front-line staff, was something that couldn’t be ignored.
“The library is preparing for an extended closure and as such, had to make the difficult decision,” she said.
“We know that we are a critical public service and space for many Calgarians and it’s hard to not be able to provide more support at this time.”
The small number of staff that remain working have been deemed critical to base operations, Kaputa said. She also noted that staff will retain their seniority status and will be paid in full for their scheduled shifts until April 11.
Despite the layoffs, Kaputa said the library will continue to provide residents with online services while the branches remain closed to the public.
“The library has so much to offer Calgarians online and we will continue to ensure that we are delivering an exceptional online experience,” she said.
“This includes creating new virtual programs, offering online learning resources, providing customer information support and enhancing our digital collections.”