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Smith College Libraries Workers Union (SCLWU) is a group of workers joined together to protect and improve wages, benefits, and working conditions within the Smith College Libraries (SCL). We aim to give SCL employees a clear path towards agency, fairness, and respect in the workplace, as well as a stronger voice toward decisions made by the Libraries and Smith College administration.


SCL workers have done tremendous work over the past years, including extraordinary efforts to keep the libraries functioning through the early days of the pandemic. They have done this despite low staffing and high turnover: some positions have been open for months or years, while others have been filled multiple times. The continued loss of staff and of institutional knowledge consumes time and effort, all the while impacting SCL’s ability to fulfill its mission and effectively serve the Smith community.

SCL’s retention challenges are both cause and effect: the continued loss of staff is a symptom of ongoing issues that prompt staff to leave, and also results in an organization with less experience and fewer workers, leaving those workers in an even more difficult situation. The challenges brought on by staff departures and unfilled positions are compounded by other concerns such as clarity of job roles, quality of training, and agency in decision-making.

These issues are difficult to solve without full collaboration and open communication among staff at all levels. We believe that a union is one of the best tools to ensure that staff receive the support and compensation they need in order to be effective and remain in SCL. This in turn supports the future success of the Libraries.

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