New York Public Library Reviews | Glassdoor

New York Public Library Reviews

Updated April 15, 2017
146 reviews

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146 Employee Reviews

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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. Helpful (3)

    "temporary employee"

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

    I worked at New York Public Library full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Was able to learn a lot about the particular field I was in
    Everyone knows what the NYPL is

    Cons

    Depending on the devision you're in, the teams that you work for can be very inhumane.


  2. "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.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Staff"

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

    I have been working at New York Public Library (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Working at the Library gives you a good feeling of helping people (the community). Majority of the staff are pleasant to work with

    Cons

    No clear direction of what the Library wants to do. The Library wants to do everything.

    Advice to Management

    Not all management are bad but there are those who really have no clue how to manage. In this place, it is who you know and not what you know in this place.


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  5. "An awesome place to work!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technology Instructor in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Technology Instructor in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at New York Public Library full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great co-workers/boss. Very rewarding, would definitely recommend to everyone. Good for POC.

    Cons

    As it's a place for the public, can have some troubles with difficult patrons.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work!


  6. "Is a cool job for a young person with no bills and major responsibilities"

    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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    I worked as a Page for 5 years and overall it's an easy job. Not a lot to do but put books away. The scheduling is pretty fair.

    Cons

    Pay is very low. You get no benefits. You get no raise. You don't get enough hours and since your a page the workers really don't take you seriously.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Amazing cultural institution trying to evolve, mostly successfully"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    NYPL is an acclaimed cultural institution with an important legacy and extensive ties into the community. The world of libraries is changing and NYPL is trying to adapt to these changes. There are really exciting initiatives and leadership decisions being implemented in technology (from apps development to our digital collections to our website), customer service, education and, more generally, the profession of librarianship. That means there are opportunities to get involved in new projects or working groups and potentially drive the direction of the organization. This attracts a wide range of employees that are passionate about their work and about the mission of the Library. You get to work with and partner with awesome people on a day to day basis. You also get to work for an organization where you can actually believe in and see the impact of your work every day.

    The Library offers good benefits, great work-life balance (people in the office leave by 6 every day!), fun colleagues, interesting work, and positions at all levels from entry level student help to senior level management.

    Cons

    The changing strategic focus and changes in operating procedures sometimes results in too many projects or pilots being rolled out simultaneously and overwhelm the front line public service staff. There has also been a lot of turnover in senior management over the past few years (a big change from when we had the same senior leaders for decades), so the transition hasn’t always been smooth. The leadership team is working on being more open and transparent about their plans and where the Library is going, but there’s still some work to do.

    As a non-profit and historic institution, we also employees that stay here for a long time in one role and are not interested in growing with the company. Most people are wonderful and open to new challenges, but there are some holdouts waiting for a new regime to “return things to the way they were.” These staff often complain about their work situation and a lack of opportunity for growth and expect administration to create a promotional path for them (aka. automatically promote them step by step without consideration for their qualifications), but are unwilling to take ownership of their own career. This group is not the majority, however, and with time the organization is often able to help people find their place in the changing structure.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to work on communication and transparency. When communicating, make sure it’s in a language common to existing employees and demonstrate how it impacts their work (make it more relevant). Consider the impact of high level decisions (like adding new pilots or services) on the staff that actually do the work on a day to day basis. I know it sounds old school, but senior leadership should also work on getting to know front line staff better. Some of our former leaders actually knew the names and faces of regular staff - it makes staff know that they are not just a bunch of faceless workers and is great for engagement. It also will help leadership understand the work at all levels and the impact their decisions about pilots, etc have on staff.


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Formerly full-time position downsized in salary and hours, but not in scope."

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

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

    Pros

    Rewarding to work with small groups of kids who want to be there and whose families are engaged. Staff and colleagues are generally committed and caring.

    Cons

    It's challenging to work in a position which was formerly full-time, reduced to part-time, with almost the same workload, micro-Managers, no personal laptops and a stunted salary.

    Advice to Management

    Restore the position to full-time and give the Associates the tools they need to do their work.


  9. "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.


  10. "Applications Developer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Applications Developer in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Applications Developer in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at New York Public Library part-time

    Pros

    The NYPL is a place for growth, both the environment and the work labor there is excellent and encourages you to keep enhancing your skills. The NYPL to me in an excellent place to put into practice both personal values and personal set of skills; its a place that values what you bring to the table.

    Cons

    No cons. Everything is great for me.

    Advice to Management

    Management is great!


  11. "children's librarian"

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

    I have been working at New York Public Library (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great work environment. Supportive Staff.

    Cons

    Offbeat working hours. Long commute


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