The Libraries Administrative Office: Q & A with Ann Yurcaba

The Libraries Administrative Office: Q & A with Ann Yurcaba
Jenny James Lee
November 5, 2014

[A monthly series featured in the Libraries' monthly newsletter, In Circulation, by Jenny James Lee]

Ann YurcabaAs with many administrative offices, the work being done is often behind-the-scenes preparing, planning, organizing and managing the operations of an organization. This is no different for the Libraries administrative office. A team of eleven staff processes thousands of invoices a year, arranges travel for recruits for open positions as well as staff attending conferences, monitors library facilities and maintains its public workstations, as well as staff equipment, manages the dean’s schedule and arranges meetings, and much more. For this issue of In Circulation, I sat down with Ann Yurcaba, director of administrative services to learn a little more about the Libraries Administrative Team.

Q: What is your role at the Libraries?
As the director of administrative services, my role ranges from the mundane to the sublime. My team is responsible for everything from alerting Facilities to deal with burned out light fixtures and overflowing toilets to working closely with the Libraries strategic and management leadership teams to develop and guide strategic initiative planning and implementation. Our three main areas of focus include: fiscal oversight, human resources management and facilities and infrastructure oversight.

Q: What programs fall under the leadership of your position?
My team includes my direct reports Brian Kall, senior financial analyst, and Al Gerhold, head of end user tech support and the individuals who report to these program managers.

Q: What does the typical day look like for the administrative services team?
There isn’t a typical day for the administrative team, however, most days require staff to be ready to support the Libraries administrative and infrastructure needs and usually include activities like order processing, financial management, recruitment arrangements, meeting scheduling, space reservations, facilities requests and technology support.

Q: In the past year, Drexel has pushed administrators to show fiscal responsibility to reduce University expenses. How have you helped to do this for the Libraries?
We have spent the last year identifying the array of expenses associated with library operations and aligning them with programs for accountability and improved understanding of impact. We also are beginning to build systematic ways of gathering and organizing data useful to make informed decisions about these expenditures and the Libraries services and impact.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you have on your plate for the upcoming year?
We are continuing to develop financial reports and tracking to support RCM (Responsibility Centered Management) being implemented by the University. I am also working on a knowledge management project to help the Libraries better organize and retrieve the data needed for planning and decision making. And, finally, I am working to build and grow leadership and expertise within the Libraries staff through staff development programs.

Q: The Libraries has, for a long time, been a single organization that spanned all campuses and programs – has this gotten easier with the One Drexel initiative?
The Libraries was an early adopter, centralizing our operations and organizational structure to more effectively serve library users. While other departments were broken up based on their location or client population, the Libraries supported students and faculty across all campuses and programs. Having more One University adopters helps us convey and deliver the breadth of services provided by the Libraries for all Drexel users, independent of their location.

Q: The Libraries has a staff of about 64 FTE employees –how do you manage staffing three locations and providing services for a community as large as Drexel and spanning time zones and location divides?
Staffing across the library locations includes effective use of virtual services and is supported by our matrixed organization structure. Many of our librarians will hold online meetings for online students or host online workshops for programs at another campus. We also utilize online chat services, our website and a multitude of online resources. A recent organization restructuring clarified roles and refined responsibilities so that all users receive the same level of service, independent of how or where they access the Libraries resources.

Q: Is there a specific project that you’ve worked on while at Drexel that you’re especially proud of?
Much of the work that I do is behind the scenes, but I am proud of the work we have done to improve financial reporting to increase our efficiency and help inform decisions. I also am proud of the work done to manage successful staff reorganizations. We changed our organizational structure, which included reviewing and updating job descriptions, detailed project planning and a lot of communication.