Stand Up for Library Workers

Local government library assistants launched a campaign on November 22 to raise awareness of their equal pay claim and the work they do

At the launch delegate Chantalle Smith spoke of how research for their equal pay claim had found the skills required to do their job could be broken down into 22 separate categories.

“They include information technology, emotional, social and caring, teaching, local and general knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and health and safety.”

“Everybody loves their libraries, but we need to make sure the salaries of library workers reflect the work they do.”

Library Assistants PSA House PNG

Stand up for Library Workers campaign committee: Olga Hemmingsen, Jenny Merton, Bronwynn Maxwell, Susan Heron, Chantelle Smith and Rachel Raphael

The campaign launch came as action ramps up on the local government library assistant’s equal pay claim.

In May this year the PSA notified the six large urban councils – Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin – that we believe local government library assistants suffer from illegal gender-based pay discrimination.

A bargaining committee has now met with council representatives and is working on Terms of Reference for the claim.

The aim is to agree on an equal pay rate for library assistants that we can take to each council to bargain for its implementation.



While this claim is specificly for local government library assistants the PSA also believes all local government workers in female dominated occupations may suffer gender-based pay discrimination.

The claim could also provide a platform to achieve equal pay for library workers in other sectors including the public service.

Our aim is to use equal pay settlements in one occupation or sector to achieve equal pay across our membership.


As part of efforts to raise awareness of the many different responsibilities of library assistants, we’re asking members to send in photos of the mahi they do.

So far the photos sent in show library workers organising everything from holiday programmes, book groups, adult literacy and numeracy programmes, heritage festival events, to workshops on what to do with your DNA results.

Some of the photos will be posted on our campaign page here.