Marcellus Turner, SPL and Unions

Marcellus Turner. (image via )

Marcellus Turner. (image via

"If you were building libraries for the first time, in this day and age, what would you build?" This is what Marcellus Turner (M.T.), SPL's City Librarian, asked the students when he visited our classroom today. My answer came from my design background - first, go into the neighborhoods and understand needs from the community's perspective. From there, M.T. brought us through a series of questions - "How would hire staff?" "How would you manage your staff?" - until we arrived at the topic of unions. M.T. suggested that unions arise because something happened to cause one to form. M.T. stressed the importance of collaboration with the union - if SPL, or any library, for that matter, doesn't have the support of the union, it's almost impossible to enact substantive change. The goal remains to create the best public library possible, and M.T.'s insights into this important relationship were of tremendous value.