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Staff Time - A Limited Resource (continued)

Even the traditional statistics can hide significant changes in the workloads. Consider a library with stable circulation numbers where the proportion of materials on hold has drastically increased as the result of patron-placed holds. Handling such holds is much more labor intensive than checking out a book the patron found on the shelf. The materials need to be trapped at each check-in or retrieved from the shelves, then transported from the branch where they are trapped to the pickup branch and placed on holding shelves awaiting pickup. The patron needs to be notified, and staff needs to retrieve the materials for checkout when the patron comes in. In this case, the reported circulation statistics may look stable, but the workload associated with those numbers (the patron placed holds) is greatly increased.

As library managers and staff struggle with the changes all libraries are undergoing, making informed decisions is crucial. We have a finite set of resources to work with, especially staff resources. We need to use those resources as effectively and efficiently as we can. Staff members need to focus their work on the activities that are most directly related to achieving the library's goals, and activities that do not contribute to accomplishing those goals need to be identified and eliminated. Extraneous steps in necessary procedures need to be pruned. As services are changed or new services are introduced, we need to monitor the effects on workloads, looking at planned and unplanned results.

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