Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Change is coming!

Over 4,200 signed up for Summer Reading so far. Over 20% more use of the library this year than last year. How is the Plainfield Library going to keep up with the demand?

Well, the Library Board of Trustees approved a plan in June that will move things around, streamline some operations and generally allow the Library to continue meeting the community's needs as best we can with what we have. This spring, the Trustees and I challenged the staff: give us ideas that will improve our services to the community but will not cost a lot of money to implement. We asked for your suggestions too - here, on the Library's web site, and in the local press. From those ideas, the management team crafted the plan that was presented in June. Housing additional materials was the #1 priority in the development of this plan. With more demand than ever, the Library cannot meet the needs of the community without shelves to hold more stuff!

With a $50,000 project budget approved for the upcoming fiscal year from the Special Reserve Fund (the Library's sole fund for capital and emergency monies), the Library will add six additional ranges of shelving that is 90" tall. Those are the tall ones upstairs. Currently there are six shorter ranges of shelving in the center of the Adult collections - 4 on the Fiction side and 2 on the Non-Fiction side. The replacement of those shorter shelving ranges with the taller ones will not only provide additional shelf space in the Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction areas, they begin a domino effect of moves for the collections that will result in:

1. Relocation of the Local History and Genealogy collections to the Original Library (formerly called the Adult Quiet Room), as well as the newspapers, dictionaries and atlas stands.
2. An additional shelving range for the Foreign Language collections, allowing for the growth of the Spanish, Polish, and Hindi collections.
3. Replacement and relocation of the Young Adult & Teen collection shelving, increasing the height of the ranges to 66" for all, for a net increase in shelf space.
4. The former Local History Room will become a group study room.
5. The former Study Room will become an office for the Youth Services Department.
6. Telephone reception and some other Circulation duties will move from the Registration Desk to the Circulation Workroom.
7. Holiday books for kids will get a new home using one of the shorter shelving ranges being replaced elsewhere.
8. YS Reference books will move to the center aisle of the YS Non-Fiction side.
9. Two shelving ranges being replaced on the YA/Teen side will be relocated to the center aisle of the YS Fiction side for additional shelf space.
10. All tables for the YS department will be relocated to the Bay Window Area behind the YS Desk.
11. The YS Desk will be reconfigured to better serve the department.

Overall, the shelving will be taller and closer together, but still meets ADA requirements. Tables will be closer together, clustered, and fewer of them. The one remaining "quiet" area will be the Study Room.

So when will all of this happen? We are targeting a fall date, possibly September, for the shelving shift. The Library will remain open during he project, so staff will need your understanding as the collections, furnishings, etc. shift. The shelving/relocation proposals will go before the Board on July 15. Exact dates of the internal shifting will be determined by the delivery of the shelving - something notorious for taking longer than the vendor initially promises.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How to do a whole month's business in two weeks

Whoa! Our head of Circulation pulled the statistics from the first half of the month. It seemed frenetically busy to the staff so Judy wanted to see if the statistics bore that out. Oh boy was the staff right!

You checked out just under 55,000 items between June 1 and June 15! That is the circulation of an average month for this year!!! At this rate, nearly the entire 120,000 item collection of the library will circulate this month. I am stunned. All I can say is a huge thank you to the Library staff whose grace under pressure is amazing.

In those first two weeks of the month, the Library was open 140 hours. That's more than one book checked out every 10 seconds the Library was open!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A few job search tips from my review of resumes for open positions at the Library

Resumes have been rolling in for the Human Resources Coordinator and Accountant positions currently open at the Library.

In reviewing these applications, I am stunned at the number of qualified job seekers whose applications for the positions are incomplete. I asked for 3 things to be submitted: cover letter, resume, and three references. Over 60% of applicants did not submit all three items. Of those that did submit a complete application, more than half sent form cover letters rather than personalized letters. Many contained typographical errors or grammatical mistakes.

The job ads also included the request "no phone calls please." The long versions of the ad, both posted on a popular job search website and the Library's website, contain my email address. In spite of that, I have received numerous phone calls from applicants asking if they have been selected for an interview, etc.

In this competitive job market, attention to detail is what sets your application apart. With over 100 applicants for each position, those who pay attention to my requests will get the interviews. Your application and responses during the selection of candidates are part of your first impression. Make a good first impression: follow directions!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Reading is Here!

Join the thousands that have already registered! Win fabulous prizes donated by our terrific sponsors! Visit us for magicians, reptiles, storytime and more! Summer Reading is in full swing at the library. Check here for events - and don;t forget that most require registration!

We expect to break all previous registration records by the end of the week.The staff is in the midst of their annual contest to guess the number of new library cards made in June. Last year it was over 800.

Library use is higher than ever here and around the country. The Today Show even did a segment recently on the boom. Plainfield is no exception!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Now hiring - HR and accounting

The Plainfield Public Library District has two job openings! The full ads are on our website: Accountant and Human Resources Coordinator. Both are flexible, part time positions in the Administration Department. Of course, part of the flexibility needed is due to the fact that the these two staffers will share a desk.

The Human Resources Coordinator position is completely new to the Library. We're looking for an experienced professional who can take on the challenge of defining the role of human resources in our organization. With our dedication to excellent customer service, we find it is time to give our internal customers - the staff - the same excellent support and service our clientele expects. So HR job seekers, if you are up to this challenge, I look forward to seeing your resume!

The Accountant position has been recently redefined. No longer needing to take the lead on HR, the Accountant will be able to focus on finances - from general ledger to tax levy to tracking grants and investments. The Accountant will attend all Library Board meetings (3rd Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm) and Finance Committee meetings. A CPA is preferred but not required for this position, but experience is a must!