Expanding Staff Skills; Filling Staff Vacancies

Expanding Staff Skills; Filling Staff Vacancies
Jenny James Lee
August 6, 2015

Article By: Ann Yurcaba, director of library administration

This summer, the Libraries launched a new initiative to turn the challenge of staff vacancies into an opportunity – encouraging staff to share responsibilities to deliver core services and maintain essential operations. The pilot was launched in July 2015.

Program managers in the Libraries identified opportunities for short-term [3-4 month opportunities] and part-time temporary assignments. All levels of library staff were invited to review the opportunities, the tasks to be completed, time commitments and duration, and basic skills required, and to express interest in those that would best fit their existing interests, duties and schedules.

This new program – Expand Your Skills – was launched as an opportunity for staff to step outside of their traditional roles, learn new skills and gain new experiences. Staff had, in the past, commented that they sometimes felt isolated in their roles and expressed interest in learning about other areas of the organization. This program also accomplished this goal.

This program is not a substitute for reorganization or changes in job positions. Nor is it a way to overload staff with more work. Rather, it provides staff the opportunity to learn more about what others do, exploring interests without the risk of leaving their own job. It will also strengthen DUL as a team by having more staff with firsthand knowledge of what others do and be able once in a while to backfill with confidence.

In total, the Libraries offered six opportunities ranging from Archives and Technology support to interim liaison librarian to program managers for Research Data Support Services and Access Services. Nine staff applied for five of the six opportunities and as they tackle these new opportunities they will provide valuable feedback for Libraries senior leadership on the potential for this initiative.