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Resisting precarity: Building collective strategies

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Author: Brons, Adena
Author: Riley, Chloe
Current research shows that precarious employment continues to rise in our region; for example, the initial findings of the Understanding Precarity in BC project found that more than half of BC workers surveyed held a job that was temporary, unstable, or lacking in benefits or protections (Strauss & Ivanova, 2023). This stark employment trend affects libraries as well, and research continues to show its negative effects on workers’ mental, financial, and physical health, as well as how it weakens their connections to their colleagues and workplaces (Aronsson et al., 2005; Benach et al., 2014; Henninger et al., 2019). What can we as library workers do to understand how precarity affects us and our colleagues? What actions can we individually and collectively commit to in order to resist these negative effects?

In this interactive session, we will offer an overview of precarity within BC, especially in library environments, and identify its effects on all workers. In a facilitated activity, participants will have opportunities to share their own experiences (both as precarious workers, and those who work with precariously employed colleagues) in order to open and encourage conversation and dialogue. Finally, as a group, we will generate collective and concrete strategies for resisting precarity and strengthening collegial and professional solidarity that participants can commit to carry with them to their library communities.
Presented at the BC Library Conference 2024, Vancouver, BC, Canada. April, 2024.
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