Library Board Approves Headquarters Management Restructure; Asks for Further Study On Branch Management Changes


St. Cloud, MN, July 2009  -  At its July 14 meeting last night, the Great River Regional Library (GRRL) Board of Trustees approved a reorganization of staffing at its headquarters and St. Cloud branch library.  It also asked for more information on a proposal to reorganize other staffing across its system in Central Minnesota. 

GRRL management proposed a two-phase plan to reduce management levels and make it easier for staff at all branch libraries to focus on customer service. The full plan called for changes throughout the library’s organizational structure and would have added 46% more library aide staffing hours and 21% more branch assistant staffing hours across the region, while reducing branch manager hours by 59%. 

GRRL Director Kirsty Smith is pleased by the Board’s acceptance of the first phase of the restructuring and by their acknowledgment that GRRL will have to address branch staffing levels in the near future to lighten the load for overtaxed staff.  “Ever since I arrived I have heard concerns that we had too many administrators and that busy branches were understaffed to adequately serve their customers.  We need to solve that problem, and I believe the Board understands that,” Smith said. 

The Board approved, with modifications, the first phase that calls for restructuring headquarters and branch staff who work at St. Cloud Public Library to reduce the number of management positions, realign responsibilities to more appropriate staffing levels, and improve the communication flow.  Before approving, the Board removed the proposed new volunteer coordinator and facilities specialist positions.  The final Phase 1 plan approved by the Board eliminates eight positions, adds six positions, and adjusts responsibilities for other positions. It will be completed by early 2010.

The second phase of the plan grouped branch libraries into clusters and redirected clerical, public service, and administrative tasks to more appropriate staffing levels.  The proposed branch clusters each would have been managed by one branch manager, reducing the number of branch manager positions from 32 to 12.  The Board declined to approve this phase as presented but endorsed the need for branch restructure.  They asked for further study of the issues involved by a committee of Board and staff members.  The committee will review restructuring alternatives and will also review progress on a shared branch management project GRRL is piloting at its Annandale and Kimball libraries. The committee will present a new proposal to the Board for discussion at its November 2009 meeting.  Voting on any new proposal is delayed until March 2010.

“Communities love their branch managers because they do a wonderful job, but part of our problem is that we have management staff spending too much time on clerical functions because there is not enough staffing to get the work done.  The overall impact of the plan will be less stress on staff and more efficient delivery of services,” Smith said.  The intent is that any branch restructuring plan would be incorporated into the 2011 budget.

GRRL provides materials, computers, programming, and information services to almost 450,000 residents at 32 public libraries in Benton, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd and Wright Counties.

Contact: Kirsty Smith


Diane Vosen
Coordinator, Communications and Fund Development