New York Public Library Reviews

Updated May 21, 2015
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New York Public Library President Anthony Marx
Anthony Marx
10 Ratings

Pros
  • Good benefits, lots of lateral and upward moving potential (in 5 reviews)

  • A great place to work and improve customer service skills within a non-sales role (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Very low pay, management is reluctant to offer raises but the keep promising raises to keep you around (in 6 reviews)

  • But when you look at some of the people the library has let go compared to those they've kept on, the way they're going about it becomes questionable (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

16 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    A Shadow Of What It Used To Be

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Librarian in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Librarian in New York, NY

    I have been working at New York Public Library full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    We do have so many branches that on a daily basis, if you work one that is small and isolated enough, you will find that it basically runs itself.

    Cons

    The library no longer has a leader who knows his few thousand employees. His personal failings, and those of the library’s administration as a whole, don’t mean staff can’t be made to feel part of a team again, but that has felt impossible for years now. Regaining a sense of community within the library organization should be a priority, but management wants to build outward. You can only build so much when the foundation is hollow. First, the high turnover and elimination of good staff must end. Management must actually listen to employee complaints and concerns. Staff morale is down the toilet. It’s a feeling that’s library-wide, because we’re treated like waste. It’s hard to choose to be happy when you’re stuck in a place that constantly asks you to take on more work and then is hellbent on reducing your paycheck , all while the senior leadership rakes it in. What is the incentive to perform? To hold onto a job you loathe? Out of devotion to the patrons? Why should the rank and file be devoted to the patrons any more than the leadership? Why would we look positively on cuts when we know they’re for the ultimate purpose of getting a handful of people outlandish bonuses? Especially when these people prove repeatedly that they don’t have a clue what they’re doing while better staff are shown the door for questionable reasons. There are so few people left here with any sense of the library’s history. No one sees the value in that, and that’s a failing on the part of library management. They think they can do better than what came before, but they are making the same mistakes that have already been made. There’s just not as many people around anymore to join in on the chorus of “I told you so,” which might well be by design. For now, casual visitors might not notice many effects of how we’re falling behind. They register them as aberrations. But they will catch on eventually and they will become more discerning, and if upkeep remains shoddy, if more good staff are let go in favor of sycophants and people with no knowledge of library operations, and management continues to ignore its mistakes rather than admit to them, the situation will continue to deteriorate. Change can be good – if the changes are improvements and not arbitrary decisions just because a new manager wants to show he’s doing something.

    Advice to Management

    There’s very little sincerity left in the library, or in its mission. It has become a business. We’re not in it to make money, but we can’t lose funding, so senior leadership has to put on a show. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of balance. Ever. Previous leadership understood that if you made the employees happy, it would trickle down. Now, we’re as replaceable as paper towels in a dispenser and they want to change to a blow dryer. Teamwork should be encouraged, not competition. Don’t say you value your employees – show them. And not by handing out huge bonuses, but by providing good pay and working conditions, making reasonable expectations, and rewarding good performance.


  2. Helpful (5)

    Horrific Company To Work For

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Branch Manager in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Branch Manager in New York, NY

    I worked at New York Public Library full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Quitting! My work life improve exponentially as soon as I left here.

    Cons

    This organisation is miserable to work for: most of the staff in the branches are clueless and apathetic, there's outdated technology that freezes up and takes 30 minutes to do a 2 minute job, the stress to produce higher circulation and more patron numbers is through the roof, and it's the worst pay in NYC because the President of this institution pockets everything, it's criminal.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your employees a decent NYC living salary to be able to live a normal, healthy life, so that we don't have to starve everyday after paying our rent. Thanks, Mr. President, for pocketing millions while we suffer for you.


  3. Helpful (3)

    Disgusting Management Practices, Poor Salary and No Vision

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Reference Librarian in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Reference Librarian in New York, NY

    I have been working at New York Public Library full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    We bring it. We have so many resources that we can make accessible to the public that is clearly in need. I'm not talking about the demanding types on the Upper East Side, but those truly in need in the South Bronx, or in the poorer areas of Staten Island or Northern Manhattan. The people without home computers, the people who can't speak English. The people who value our programs, our talented staff, even our warm buildings in this frigid weather. In that respect, NYPL has few rivals. Our health insurance, while better in previous years, is not terrible. Currently, it's Cigna, which is a lot of paperwork and can be problematic at times, but it could be much worse.

    Cons

    We work more and more at the desk because there are fewer and fewer of us that know what we're doing behind it. I worked four hours straight yesterday. While I enjoy working with the public and it's one of the main reasons I became a librarian, I do need time not only to decompress, but to take care of work that doesn't involving telling them to stop fighting over the computer. My branch is infested with rodents. How many calls to Facilities do you need to make? I know this is NYC, but come on now. Someone in the IT department who'd been with the library for over 15 years, who knew their job better than anyone and had been the library's mascot was laid off (suspiciously not long after suffering from a seizure on the subway and spending a couple of days in the hospital). It's this sort of thing - where we lose good people and the lousy ones stay behind - that frustrates me to no end. We have an administration that does not understand the work that we do. Some of them will make token visits and expect that to be celebrated. They'll lay out a spread, they'll report their findings on our Intranet, but they never seem to learn anything or make any changes that matter. The most significant change would be to wipe them out and start over. For years, frontline staff have feared self checkout machines taking over their jobs - what is the equivalent for automated management? I've been working here nearly 8 years. If I had to start over again, I would not.

    Advice to Management

    Stop jerking us around. There's no love lost here. Most of you won't be around for more than another year or two because you will smell money and run. And who can blame you? You're not librarians and you're certainly not where you are for the improvement of the library (if you are - your staff and the public would LOVE for that to manifest at some point!) You are smug, self-serving, arrogant and out of touch with the work that needs to be done at the library.


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  5. Helpful (6)

    More Bad Drama Than The CW Network

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Branch Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Branch Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at New York Public Library full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The library, at least on the circulating side of things, is divided up into almost 90 branches in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. Branches are divided into networks, based on geographic region, throughout the boroughs. While they’ve been called other things throughout the years (regions, districts, whatever), this support system has always worked. My branch is a strong one. We do a great deal for our community and our team, while it has changed over the years, has developed a close working and even personal relationship. We feel like both inform each other. While that’s clearly something that develops over time and will not be the case in every branch environment, it is something to be proud of when you do manage it. Other highlights? Keith Richards. Winnie the Pooh. Lemony Snicket. Movie premiere afterparties (not that we get to go, of course). So many big ticket events in the Schwarzman Building. Location, location, location. And in the branches: classes in technology, book discussions, ESOL, crafts and other after school programs, gaming, job search skills. Things that make a library a welcome part of its community.

    Cons

    Where things began to fall apart was when they got rid of the Borough Offices. While the Network Managers still exist, they always have in some form or another, but there once were offices in each borough, which allowed for more of an organizational feel. Those were done away with years ago in favor of a centralized structure where everything goes to a couple of people in Manhattan who are detached, aloof and generally unconcerned with what goes on in some of the lower profile branches. They may put on a good show for us, but when the stage lights dim, that’s really all it is. It is safe to say that it has been pretty rough here for the last several years. At least for those of us who remember better days. We once had stronger, more assertive and capable management, but now, with rare exception, we are led by people who have little more to offer us than mixed messages and a clear indication that they have no idea what they are doing. Take for example our ILS and online catalog. These are things that should be considered of vital importance in any library setting, but here they, and the staff who support them, are basically an afterthought. We changed systems in 2009, which was necessary. The one we were on at the time was no longer viable. A new vendor was chosen and a fancy new catalog was introduced to the public as a huge improvement. One year later, that was gone, in favor of yet another huge improvement. In 2013, they began looking again. Our patrons must think we are commitment-phobic or incapable of sustaining any sort of vendor relationship. I feel bad for that staff, too. They had to move from Mid Manhattan to Long Island City back to Manhattan, changing divisions and managers, being without managers, being reorganized and losing key staff, because their current management knows absolutely nothing about what they do and very little about libraries in general. The technology management didn’t think circulation was an important enough function for a public library! That’s the state of things in that department. Almost a year later, the position she got rid of was recreated in another division, but not for the person who should have never left. Here in the branches, we are always wondering when we will get the next email about another reorganization spurred by someone being canned. Someone who did their job well and had been with the library for years, but may have rubbed some new manager the wrong way. Of course, this new manager has about two or three years of library experience, if that, so they’re highly qualified to make these decisions, right? The library has become such a cold place. And it’s not just in January. The work life balance has gotten worse with time. Stress over potential job loss, whether it’s my own or that of coworkers I’ve long known & have valued working with shouldn’t weigh so heavily on our minds, but it does. I don’t work in IT, but I’m friends with several of those who do and they take a lot of their work home with them, or they’re expected to work basically around the clock, for very little in return (see the clueless boss & staff who were let go). We do take home quite a bit in the branches, mainly because we’re covering the desk so often, we have very little downtime to do any of the work we need to behind the scenes. I love my staff and what we can get done independently and as a team, but I hate that they have to take any of their work home with them.

    Advice to Management

    Change is good, but it should not be constant. Let things breathe a bit. Your staff are exhausted. Let us just be librarians and do what we became professionals for. Let us develop our careers rather than cater to your ever-changing whims. Your speeches, pep talks, snow jobs & lies are no longer selling anything. We pretty much lost the faith five or six years ago. Now, no matter who is in charge is basically just a talking head putting on a dog and pony show.


  6. Helpful (7)

    Not Worth The Aggravation

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Branch Manager
    Current Employee - Branch Manager

    I have been working at New York Public Library full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I began my career with the library in the mid 1990s. I love what I do. Every day, someone new walks through the door looking for help that I’ve been trained to provide. Over the years, the library has offered some excellent training opportunities to supplement my MLS and academic background. We have over 90 locations, many of which are in unique pockets of NYC. Branches in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. Branches in storefronts, subway stations, Lincoln Center, Harlem, midtown Manhattan, converted churches. Old branches, brand new locations. And of course, our flagship location on 5th Avenue. We have research centers that deal exclusively with the performing arts, with black history and culture, with science, industry, business and law (well, the clock is ticking on that one). We introduced a model for collection sharing that most public libraries now utilize, where material floats from one library to another, depending on where it’s checked in. While it had a rocky start and still has some issues, this keeps collections consistently fresh and keeps staff actively busy weeding. There really is never not enough to do. This job can be challenging, but it’s a challenge that the best of us rise to, as we’ve been asked to wear a great many hats over the years. The sad thing is, there used to be so many more good people. That hasn’t been the case for some time.

    Cons

    Continuing with the metaphor of “many hats,” unfortunately this library system has for the last several years been overburdened by leadership with profoundly swelled heads, and in many ways has been riding the coattails of its own diminishing reputation for the better part of two decades now. Given its size, resources, and location, logic should dictate that the New York Public Library be a consistent leader in its field. The reality is something different. Certain pockets of management are directionless, vindictive & fickle. Last year, we were shocked to see some talented, longtime staff laid off on Valentine’s Day and we are still feeling the impact from the absence of at least one of them. Since then, others who have been with the library as long or longer have been let go in dribs and drabs, some of whom have been classlessly and needlessly escorted from the building they’ve considered a second home, likely for far longer than anyone who may have had anything to do with their dismissal. Although, you wouldn’t know it from looking at our web site, which is ridiculously out of date, for all of our posturing as “The Library of Record.” Nearly the entire HR department is cold and detached, so don’t expect a good relationship with them, let alone any level of support, if you find yourself in anyone’s crosshairs. Their bias toward management is sickening. They’re neither Human nor much of a Resource, if you have any kind of issue with a supervisor. While we do try and try very hard, our resources are spread so thin, while we should be focusing on excelling at a select few things, we're struggling across the board. Our partnership with the Department of Education is laudable in theory, but laughable in execution. Hardly the first of its kind and better executed in other libraries. Our outreach programs to other agencies make staff feel like we are lagging behind trends when we should be setting them. Our efforts in technology-based innovation are stymied by abysmal leadership and a seeming ignorance on the part of that division of what sort of field they’re in.

    Advice to Management

    Management has generally brought in people who may have any number of accomplishments in their respected fields, sadly none of which are librarianship. They may be attorneys, MBAs, digitization wizards. They may have some gobbledegook job that they made up themselves and convinced someone they'd be a fool not to hire them. Tasked with implementing one new strategic vision or another, these people surround themselves with the proverbial yes men and anyone who does not willfully assimilate, no matter their skill set, no matter their tenure, had better watch their back. And their front. And their sides, top and bottom.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Page

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at New York Public Library

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    flexible work schedule convenient while going to school

    Cons

    No raises and room for opportunity


  8. Helpful (11)

    Sailing On A Ship Of Fools

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Branch Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Branch Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at New York Public Library full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Nearly every day, there is a line of people waiting to enter my library before we open. Whatever their reason, whether it’s to borrow a book or a DVD, spend time on the Internet, meet with friends, find a quiet corner and study, or come in out of the cold winter weather, the library is an essential and welcome resource for the people of New York and one that is cherished by all who truly understand its value. In the span of a single hour on the desk, I can help a student with her homework assignment, connect an unemployed man with a potential job opportunity, put someone interested in genealogy on track to learning more about their family’s roots and welcome 100 people to a program on the history of the neighborhood. I don’t have a bun in my hair and I hate cats. Suck it, stereotypes! I just love what I do and I can do it here, for the most part....

    Cons

    "For the most part," I guess, is the key element. Kind of like how a soldier might like defending his or her country, if the enemy wasn’t shooting back? But what if they enemy is supposed to be your friend? Or if not your friend, someone who should, in theory, have your back? The atmosphere here is disturbingly political. A new administration comes in, makes changes that basically undo any progress (good or bad) of the previous one. You get the sense that every move made is in the interest of saving their own neck until a more lucrative offer comes along and that it's best for your own career to not trust any of these people. They'll lay off key staff, like a manager of circulation in one department, then realize that "Hey, we are a public library, maybe circulation does matter?" reorganize things and put someone else less qualified in the role almost a year later. They'll pretend that they take the opinions and concerns of staff into consideration, but ultimately display the most ignorant, narrow and destructive focus you can imagine for people who are in charge of a public library, let alone one as major as ours. Public libraries in NYC seem to almost rival soap operas in the sort of scandals they generate. In Queens, $40,000 was spent on a corporate credit card for expensive trips, a rooftop smoking deck and what were hopefully some really yummy cookies. At NYPL, the IT department threw a $3000 farewell lunch for a departing manager that no one liked and staff are gifted with Kindles for Christmas, while in other departments staff are being forced to be mindful of how much printer paper we use. In Brooklyn, staff are in constant fear of another round of layoffs. For too long, there has been no oversight and only now, are eyebrows beginning to be raised. If it plays out like it usually has, there will be a series of audits and maybe they’ll bring in an overpaid consultant who will come up with a report that will be shared with our strategy team, who will share it with senior managers and politicians. Frontline staff will be kept in the dark until certain staff are quietly let go or things start appearing in The New York Daily News or The New York Post. Library management will pat itself on the back for averting another crisis and then it will be back to business as usual until the next scandal hits, because the culture here is just that damaged. There’s no reason that people who choose to work in a public library, who want to devote their careers to so noble a profession, should have to deal with this sort of thing, but we do. Petty managers are driven by a culture of fear and performance, big wins and the bottom line and they have no connection to the mission and goals of a public library. This is not a library system for anyone who does. I don’t think that the Brooklyn or Queens libraries are either. As different as we are in some ways, there are too many disturbing similarities because of our proximity.

    Advice to Management

    I mentioned above that the library is something to be cherished by those who understand its value. It’s very sad when that does not include its own staff - especially those charged with managing, guiding & protecting their staff & the library's reputation & legacy.


  9. Helpful (10)

    Could Be Worse. You Could Be Unemployed.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Librarian in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Librarian in New York, NY

    I have been working at New York Public Library full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    One Sunday morning this October, as we do every year, several staff got together as a team to represent the library in the Making Strides Walk in Central Park. This is one of the best things about the library – seeing that there are staff willing to come together outside of the office and connect for a cause that is meaningful to them. Still, this event was not without a sour note. Someone who’d walked with us for several years, and had helped rally our library team and many other walkers in a pretty special way, was missing this year. That this person was let go for reasons that were no fault of his own several months earlier is still bothersome to more than a few of us. I started working for the library as a page years ago. I continued through high school and came back after college to a more significant position that benefitted from my education and experience. There are a lot of opportunities for work here (not sure if that’s a pro - I guess people are leaving a lot?). Despite the many, many problems, this is one of NYC’s great cultural institutions. Millions of people visit and benefit from the library every year. Not just the one everyone knows, but my branch in the far north of Manhattan. Random branches on Staten Island and in the south Bronx. We have many dedicated frontline staff (and back office staff) who work their butts off to make the library as well as we can. Just sometimes, it feels like it’s much harder than it should be.

    Cons

    Ours is a very image-conscious institution. Much more so than you’d expect a library to be. How so? Well, when people are laid off and paid off, they are forced to sign extensive agreements that they won’t say anything negative about the library. The constantly changing strategic plan is clear as mud, which makes it impossible for our marketing and public relations staff to keep a firm handle on our trajectory. They themselves can only be protective of the library’s general image and they take that directive to a ridiculous degree – if a press release is shared with a local news blog, like gothamist.com, see how negative comments tend to disappear, as if they’re that afraid of criticism. This is not behavior that you’d expect from an institution that exists to promote concepts like information sharing and intellectual freedom. And the library is hardly immune to criticism. Some years ago, they decided to close the popular Donnell Library Center. Not learning from that, they made plans to gut our flagship library on 42nd Street without involving the public and that didn’t exactly happen as planned. When things go bad with these big plans, management points fingers and watching who survives is like watching gladiatorial combat mixed with a lot of dumb luck and butt kissing. Unfortunately, it’s usually not upper management that is being let go. We have a bloated structure of upper management, with so many directors and associate directors and a shortage of actual librarians, it’s sometimes difficult to remember what we do for a living. I thought about getting my library degree years ago, but realized I didn’t need it if I was going to stay here – the return on investment would be relatively minimal.

    Advice to Management

    Be genuine. Engage us and be genuine. Stop getting rid of good people in the middle and below of the staff and start looking at the real problems – their bosses. Problem areas like Sites and Technology are especially in need of review.


  10. Helpful (8)

    Faded Luster

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Librarian in Bronx, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Librarian in Bronx, NY

    I have been working at New York Public Library full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The library, more than the classroom, more than anything Google can provide, allows you to learn things in a truly tactile way. When done properly (which is not always the case here, but in general), libraries can offer innovative services that enrich the lives of their users, exposing them to things they may not see anywhere else. And for free. At NYPL, we do an exceptional job with programming, providing free access to computers, and the books, movies and music in our collections are virtually unrivaled, whether its something you can take home or download. When things are bad, which they often are, our staff do what they can to make the best of it. That's the most admirable thing about working here and it owes nothing to the library itself. It's just the people we work with.

    Cons

    Scratch the surface, however, and the luster begins to fade. Quickly. The library lost another of its more dedicated staff this week. Actually, we lost more than one, but only one was thrown a farewell party. The others were quietly dismissed through no fault of their own in what has become something of a pattern at this place. It's getting to the point where you dread checking your e-mail. Will you hear about a coworker or a friend being dismissed? Worse, will it be your turn? You can work here 10, 15 or 20 years, you can be an exceptional employee. You can work 14 hour days and on weekends. You can practically be the library's mascot, but if someone new to the table comes along and decides you're expendable, that's all it takes to send you packing. You can't blame the ones who want to leave. New management now has us "road mapping," which is just another phrase for buying time because they don't know what they're doing either. So far, it's just involved getting rid of a number of talented and respected staff and leaving us with no succession plan and a lot of confusion. To a degree, it's understandable. This is a public library and times can be tough. We're at the mercy of multiple funding sources and budgets are often tight. But when you look at some of the people the library has let go compared to those they've kept on, the way they're going about it becomes questionable. What's worse, is that some of these people actually seem to relish their role of villain - they enjoy letting staff go. It's become that kind of work environment where no one feels safe and there's no measure of job security. Those of us in the union are somewhat happy for that level of security and hope that our non union friends have their day of reckoning, but it seems less and less likely. These lousy managers continue to screw up, and just when you think they can't screw up any more, their boss leaves and they basically have a clean slate with whatever new person is on board. Since the library doesn't like keeping anyone around with any memory, since most of the memories would be bad ones, that's the way things seem to work around here.

    Advice to Management

    Senior managers? There really is no such thing. They bring new people in constantly, so the most senior manager has probably been in his or her position for about 5 years. At any rate, they should all be ashamed of themselves. The best staff are either pushed out or leaving on their own and what the library is left with stay because they have no choice, want their pension or are too lazy to look elsewhere. My advice, to anyone reading this would be to not work here. Libraries are wonderful places to work and there is still a future in them as physical institutions. Find one in a place you want to live. Talk to the staff there and get a true sense of the culture. This place is contaminated. Ebola for employees.


  11. Helpful (7)

    Work Here At Your Peril

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Librarian in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Librarian in New York, NY

    I have been working at New York Public Library full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The library had to have earned its once respectable reputation somehow. Our collections are exceptional - those in the research libraries that are curated and are allowed to flourish and are in no danger of being auctioned off. Our circulating collections are typical and essentially cookie cutter. We have the full range of popular materials you'd expect from a major urban library, shaped by a largely floating collection, which has all the benefits and drawbacks commonly experienced by libraries that float. We have over 90 locations, spread throughout the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. Some might argue that we've spread ourselves too thin when there are branches within just a couple of blocks from each other, but in a city where there is a Subway or McDonald's on every other block, it doesn't hurt to have a library within almost the same range.

    Cons

    This institution has truly become a rudderless boat, caught in a violent storm of its own design. I hear coworkers that have been here longer than I have talk about how things used to be - the "good old days," and while I envy their memory, I can't imagine a culture that wasn't so bloated by incompetent management and misdirection, so bogged down by the weight of its own self-importance, so seemingly focused on going nowhere in particular. We have a strategy division that seems to make things up as they go. Efforts on multiple initiatives have failed and have even been shameful in some cases. Our technology staff is strong at its roots, but its leadership has been traditionally poor. Consistently, they work as if they have something to prove. They rarely succeed and they alienate and upset more staff than they win over. After the way we have seen them treat some of their own staff, we can't trust them.

    Advice to Management

    There are a few strong leaders, but it's like they're afraid to step out and do anything that might get them noticed. This is not the culture where you want to be noticed, as being noticed puts your career in jeopardy. Better to collect your paycheck, hope you don't offend anyone too much and hope you make it long enough to collect your 20 years, unlike some of your colleagues.



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