• Cokato Public Library is closed for renovations. The library will reopen Thursday, April 24.

Library Board Gets First Look at Staff Restructuring Tool

The Great River Regional Library (GRRL) Board of Trustees got its first opportunity Tuesday night to look at preliminary information and ask questions related to future staff restructuring decisions within the organization.

In an informal special board session, board members were updated on the work of the Branch Restructure Committee, which was established by the Board at its July 14, 2009 meeting. At that meeting, the board approved Phase 1 of a staffing restructure proposal, but established a Branch Restructure Committee to study alternatives to Phase 2 and develop recommendations for the Board by its March 2010 meeting. Phase 1 addressed mainly administrative staff; Phase 2 addresses branch staffing. The 10-member committee, comprised of board trustees, management staff, and branch staff, has been meeting biweekly for six months to analyze public service staffing functions and to develop metrics to determine equitable staffing levels in all GRRL branches. The comprehensive, branch-specific data developed through the committee’s work has been formatted into a staffing calculator.

“Ultimately, we want to determine the number of staffing hours needed at each branch to provide maximum public service with maximum efficiency,” said Mic Golden, chair of the committee and Collection and Distribution Coordinator for GRRL. “The staffing calculator is the first tool we’ve ever had to equitably measure staff requirements at each of our 32 branch libraries and adjust as library usage dictates.”

At Tuesday night’s meeting the committee updated the Board on the applications and potential outcomes of its study. Committee members Rich Collins and Gerry Ruda reviewed the objectives the committee set out to achieve. The committee also explained its process of reviewing tasks and functions for each staff position in a branch library and conducting time tests for each task. Data already regularly gathered by GRRL showed how often these tasks occur in each branch library. The committee then validated the data and developed an assessment tool (the staffing calculator) to calculate the time needed on an annual and weekly basis to perform each staffing task.

“Equitable service should be our goal as a board,” said Jan Bensen, board trustee from Sherburne County. “It’s our responsibility.”

Over the last 18 months GRRL has formally reviewed its organizational staffing structure to continue meeting the information needs of Central Minnesota residents. Implementation last fall of Phase 1 of the staff reorganization proposal restructured administrative management. That phase eliminated eight positions, added six new positions, and restructured others among the headquarters and branch staff working at St. Cloud Public Library.

The GRRL Board of Trustees meets in regular session Tuesday, March 16. The committee will now prepare final recommendations for the March 16 meeting. Meeting materials will be included in the March Board Meeting packet, which will be available on GRRL’s website, www.griver.org, on March 11.