Students and staff trade blows online

Debate on Library service cuts is raging online, with many students and library staff weighing in on the cuts and the Students’ Union campaign. The “Save Trinity Library” Facebook page set up by the Union has amassed nearly 3,000 members since it was set up last November.
A major flashpoint has been allegations by the Students’ Union that the book-buying budget was cut to pay wage increases, and many library staff have reacted angrily to the accusation online. Garret McMahon, who works as a librarian in the Library’s Research Information Systems division says, “If anyone has one of those great ‘Pages not Wages’ posters we’d like to have one to hang in the office alongside ‘Will work for food’”.
Maria Kelly, a Counter Assistant in the Berkeley Library, added, “A few people have asked why the library staff are critical of the SU protest. We are critical because of the link the SU has drawn between the library pay budget and the book budget [and] opening hours… why do you feel the need relate the book budget to our pay when the two are completely separate?”
Students’ Union Education Officer Ashley Cooke notes that pay increases were provided because of the Government’s Benchmarking program of public-sector pay increases and the Fixed Term Workers Act; and that “we understand [the increases] must be paid by the College due to agreements made in the public sector”. He continues, “though the pay and non-pay budget are separate most of the Library budget comes from College central funds and when money goes to one area it must be cut from another.”
Students have also complained of overcrowding in the new 24-hour study area, and of the lack of heating in the new facility, which was opened last November. Louisa McIndoe writes, “as of now… 10 [people] on the floor. Come on, sort it out” on the page, six minutes after closing time Saturday December 12th last. Tanya Housman adds, “100 people on Sundays? There are 40+ people on a single floor of the Ussher. Come and count ‘em” the next day.
Furthermore, the 24-hour study space, which is opened only when the Library is closed, was sporadically shut without warning. Elaine McDaid writes, “Once again, Trinity College excels itself. Not only does it hire staff who act like sixteen year old school kids on a social networking site, but it continues to deny access to library facilities.
The 24-hour computer room is full of people right now, myself included, and I have no doubt most have commuted in to use the 24-hour study space, which is unavailable without notice, and without a very good reason. Congratulations, Trinity, 43rd in the world, and very undeserving of it”.
A Library service counter assistant, Derek Birney, and a prolific commenter on the page, drew criticism for attacking student borrowing habits and the library sit-in last November. One post, on the sit-in, says, “yeah well done on the action, the only person you pissed off was the senior library guard who has a sick wife…
Our wages are down substantially and we can expect further pay cuts in December, maybe you can remember last Tuesday when we striked to protest against cuts, you could’ve shown solidarity then instead of taking ridiculous  ‘action’ based on spurious information”.