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Hartford Public Library: AFSCME Local 1716
L-R: Local 1716 members Angel Aviles, Hector Ramos, Julie Carrol, Auden diCorcia-D'Amato (holding a picture of Iris Maxwell) and Leo Laffitte.
For the members of AFSCME Local 1716 who make the Hartford Library system happen, it’s also time to remember their colleague Iris Maxwell, a long-time children’s librarian who died unexpectedly on the job last August.
“Iris was a big part of this place. She was so dedicated to the library and to the kids,” said Angel Aviles, a library assistant and union steward. “We miss her very much.”
According to Library Maintainer and Union Steward Leo Laffitte, a 13-year employee, Hartford Library workers past and present are a close-knit group motivated by the same sense of commitment and dedication that Maxwell showed.
“People come here to work and stay here because of the camraderie. We’re a big family,” Laffitte said.
"We love our patrons," added Library Assistant Julie Carroll, a 25-year veteran of the library.
Senior Library Assistant David Ionno spent 25 years at the Hartford Library and currently works at the Goodwin Memorial Branch Library in South Hartford. He said there is a greater reliance on public libraries, including branch operations, than ever before.
“Branch libraries are a neighborhood gathering point and hub,” said Ionno, the District Vice President for Local 1716. “Branches get high use and are a center of activity for schools and the local neighborhoods.”
Library Assistant and Local 1716 member Auden diCorcia-D’Amato said that unions play an important role in the life of our local libraries. “We’re a democratic, egalitarian organization,” she explained. “I wish all workers had the same level of protection that the union gives us.”
AFSCME represents 25,000 library employees across the country.
National Library Workers Day is part of National Library Week, which was first marked in 1958 as a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country.
Goodwin Library Branch Manager Patricia Knapp and Local 1716 District Vice President David Ionno.
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