Librarians from public libraries across the State went on a day-long hunger strike on Friday demanding better pay and benefits.
Tamil Nadu has a network of 4,093 libraries, and has added close to 5 lakh new members, according to the directorate of public libraries. But librarians manning these facilities have several long-pending demands, including hike in grade pay, said the Tamil Nadu Public Libraries Employees Association.
“The grade pays for grade-III librarians must be increased from Rs. 2,000 to Rs 2,400, and for junior assistants, it be raised from Rs. 2,200 to Rs 2,400. Also, village librarians must be categorised as grade-IV and paid accordingly,” he said. Dearness allowance is determined based on the basic pay and grade pay, said a librarian.
“Those who joined part-time libraries through direct appointment should be promoted as village librarians. Close to 29 of them have completed a certificate course in library and information science. Yet they get paid less than Rs. 1,000 a month,” Mr. Selvam said.
A senior school education department official said part-time libraries functioned only for three hours a day, and the pay was in accordance with government norms. “The grade pay is not fixed by the school education department,” the official said.
The librarians said that like teachers, they too must be given incentives after acquiring additional qualifications. They also expressed a desire to revert to an earlier pension scheme.
Transfers and promotions of librarians must be done through counselling, they said. “The post of director and joint director of the directorate of public libraries must be filled with full-time persons,” said Mr. Selvam.
The librarians also demanded that service rules be formulated for employees of the Anna Centenary Library.
“We have taken into consideration some of their other demands,” the school education department official said.