As Labor Day approaches on September 1, many of us are gearing up for a weekend of barbecues, picnics at the lake, and last romps with the kids before school starts again. Here on the 7th floor of the Central Library, we are also taking a moment to reflect on the origins of this annual celebration of the American Labor Movement with a new display: “Labor Unions and the Fight for Workers’ Rights.”
We’ve gathered together a collection of books, movies and music that document the history of the Labor Movement. However, the story of workers’ rights is really the story of individuals throughout time who have banded together with their fellows and taken a stand in support of a cause they believed in. Therefore, we have also invited tiny, cardboard labor leaders from the annals of history to attend a virtual rally on top of the shelves near the Central Library’s level 7 reference desk.
Visit the Central Library and you, too, could meet Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Samuel Gompers, A. Philip Randolf, Mother Jones and many others. You’ll find them standing among the books, each holding a rally sign that lists the major causes they supported, cites the era in which they lived, and offers a brief summary of their contribution to labor history. Check out an item from the display or scan the QR code on each character’s sign to learn more—then enjoy your three day weekend, courtesy of the Labor Movement.
Incidentally, all locations of The Seattle Public Library will be closed on September 1, 2014.