New York Public Library Reviews | Glassdoor

New York Public Library Reviews

Updated December 18, 2016
15 reviews

Filter

Filter


1.0
Star Star Star Star Star
Rating Trends Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
New York Public Library President Anthony Marx
Anthony Marx
5 Ratings

15 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date

Pros
Cons
  • Low pay and the only thing that grows in that place is impatience (in 14 reviews)

  • No room for advancement, could be boring for some (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "culture of incompetence"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Engineer in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at New York Public Library full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    it's a great place to work if you have other priorities in your life. Somewhat decent medical benefits --- that is, if you sign up for the union plan with no copay, although your choices are somewhat limited.

    Cons

    NYPL is a large organization with thousands of employees. Your mileages may likewise vary, but based on my experience...

      the mgmt folks in my area were emotionally immature and technically incompetent. I cautiously, but clearly, sounded the alarms to the upper mgmt folks whenever boundaries were crossed and dubious, and sometimes outright fraudulent, technical/business decisions were made (I cringed and face-palmed at every meeting with my mgr). My coworkers were largely indifferent -- too busy blaming everything on ex co-worker who had left the group well over a year ago (man up boys!) -- but soon discovered the reason behind such deafening silence. My approach was fairly diplomatic and it seemed like they were listening initially, or at least first three, four times. But their final response? They accused me of being condescending and too negative. In hindsight, it was a mistake to bring up issues to those who are not only as incompetent, however diplomatic, but also actually helped nurture the culture of mediocrity and hustling over the past decade or so. Their priorities were also elsewhere -- and I kid you not -- clean desk and dress code. Much to my frustration, the only opportunity I had to talk seriously with the upper mgmt folks was when janitors complained about my desk.

      Their classic moment was one recent incident involving the integrity of large amount of data that my manager repeatedly lied about and I'd warned six months earlier -- in this particular case, less diplomatically and straight to the point. The upper management walked out dismissing my concern. They know how to do their job and I need to find better things to do, I was told. Thanks to a wonderful NYT article covering NYPL's digital projects, it didn't take years to discover their shenanigan. After it became quite obvious what had happened, they quickly blamed the lower ranks, then came up with a lame excuse that their hands were tied.

     Realizing that it wasn't an isolated problem, I stayed low key and focused on job search instead.

    Advice to Management

    learn from your mistake. ask for documentation and most importantly verify. Don't let your IT manager guess what works and what doesn't.


  2. "Library Technical Assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Library Technical Assistant in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Library Technical Assistant in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Smart experienced coworkers who see through management's BS. Good vacation time and pension means that many people stay working here despite this BS.

    Cons

    Same coworkers feel too disempowered to disagree with management. Forget about being hired as a librarian as an internal candidate at one of the research libraries. The public libraries received an increase in funding to hire more librarians then proceeded to use the funds to hire paraprofessionals (who staff the reference desks) at the research branches. They are always looking for ways to cut costs via labor. Then we have to deal with the consequences of the administrations' poor decisions when we interact with the public.

    Advice to Management

    Hire more librarians and less of yourselves. We're the ones who do the work.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Library Clerical Assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Vision, Dental, Health, Vacation, Sick Pay

    Cons

    There is NEVER opportunity for growth, for people of color. The low pay will keep a person in poverty, with inflation.

    Advice to Management

    Give ALL people a chance. Offer on-the-job training. Post realistic job requirements only.


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Information Assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Information Services Assistant in Staten Island, NY
    Current Employee - Information Services Assistant in Staten Island, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Vacation and benefits. Being around books. Working with children. The hours are not bad, 35 hour week. Union job and they help you if needed,

    Cons

    They are hiring managers that are very lazy. They take the job for the title. If you are new to the system and you did not start as a Page and work your way up, you are and never will be part of the clique. Too much favoritism. There are managers that have their best friends as their staff. It is a joke! If you are over 30 years of age you are treated very badly.

    Advice to Management

    Treat everyone fairly. Upper Management take a good look at the Branch Managers and have them go for diversity training. Instead of surveys and staff appreciation days, make sure all workers are treated fairly without discrimination of AGE!


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Page"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Library Page in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Library Page in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at New York Public Library part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Nice library, looks good on your resume. Nice people, not all of them, but some of them

    Cons

    Not enough hours and no pay raise for years. Waste of time

    Advice to Management

    Show people that work there that you care


  7. Helpful (6)

    "A Shadow Of What It Used To Be"

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

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

    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.


  8. Helpful (7)

    "Horrific Company To Work For"

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

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

    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.


  9. Helpful (9)

    "Very Low pay, disorganized, disgruntled employees and patrons"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Librarian in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Librarian in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at New York Public Library full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Not much room for advancement. Job is some what secure, but if you're close to retirement there's a good chance they'll lay you off before you hit that pension level you worked so long to get to, happened to several co-workers, feel so bad for them getting screwed after giving their whole life to NYPL, we're all expendable here, and not appreciated. Horrible pension if you're not in upper management.

    Cons

    Listed in the pros. And the computer system is a devastating disaster.

    Advice to Management

    Poor, slow moves, low pay, good luck, apply somewhere else and quick!


  10. Helpful (15)

    "Like Working on the Titanic"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    If you enjoy working with the public, you will have every opportunity to serve all ages, races and backgrounds. You are, after all, in New York City, so you owe nothing to this institution for that, other than its location. You can just as easily work in in the Brooklyn Public Library or the Queens Public Library. There are however decent opportunities for professional development, not salaries, or career advancement, mind you, but ways to learn internally and move on to another job outside of the library.

    Cons

    Imagine working onboard the Titanic. The ship is a marvel to behold. Majestic architecture. The envy of many a more superficial eye. Yet, with a closer look, you begin to see the cracks in the steel. The many rats scurrying about beneath the floorboards. That's very much like working at NYPL. More to the point, imagining tragically hitting that iceberg, or not only hitting it, but backing up, and hitting it again. And again. And again. Public libraries are at a point in their history where they have to challenge themselves to adapt to the changing needs of their users. As more and more customers become self sufficient, what's the role of the information professional in today's world? In the mind of NYPL senior management, that role seems to be expendable. Degreed professionals are an increasing rarity in the branches. Staff who have been with the system long enough to have witnessed new management make the same mistakes previous management did are being let go left and right, and the knowledge gap is not being filled. And the library's leadership continues to position itself with a posture of arrogance and certainty that is entirely undeserved and unbecoming.

    Advice to Management

    They need to be held accountable. While they can casually make decisions that negatively impact the lives of hardworking staff without batting an eyelash, no one seems to be evaluating their performance on the level that it needs to be. The NYPL is truly a sinking ship.


  11. Helpful (9)

    "Like being stuck in a bad marriage."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Branch Staff in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Branch Staff in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    I have a job. Though it's hanging by a thread, the IS still some form of union, and benefits. Yet, no contract since 2009/2010.

    Cons

    From cover-boy Marx all the way down to the lowest-level manager; and now, the mass influx of inexperienced, external hires that we have to train before they replace us. Until they recognize that their success is dependent on a positive, productive, supportive work environment for their labor force, they will continue to lose loyal patrons and money. Don't feel too bad for them... Crying broke... please! They get paid every time someone holds a gala, films a movie, commercial, or some millionaire dies & drops millions that they allocate for preferred projects. Morale has never been lower. Say goodbye to the days when you would come to a NYPL branch and find books. They're being deleted by the shelf-load. "Now we have e-books, and e-resources!" Quotes we are encouraged to use to cover for their asinine decisions when patrons come asking "what happened to all the books?". Old-timers: Technology; learn to like it or learn to love it.

    Advice to Management

    None! They are beyond help. To the board of directors: Start from scratch!


Showing 15 of 158 reviews
Reset Filters