When you’re running a really great program that’s getting a lot of attention, the first thing your library administration is going to expect is for you to spread the wealth through bringing your program to more branches, doing outreach, holding professional development opportunities, and more. Unfortunately, that expectation doesn’t always include adding more capacity, whether staff, resources or the like. All Hands on Deck is about the pressures we identified related to expanding program and supporting limited staffing capacity.
Getting All Hands on Deck
Creating our new QuaranTEEN space at the Lynn Public Library was an exciting journey. However, getting everyone in our institution on board could be a daunting task. How can we encourage veteran staff to move beyond the “that’s the way it has always been done” way of thinking?
Recruiting staff with new skill sets
As Anythink’s Studio spaces evolved and expanded, it became apparent that we would benefit from recruiting front-line professional staff who could better help customers explore their creativity. We wanted people with skill sets, experiences and personal networks different from those already present in the library. How could we update our job descriptions and hiring processes to reach a non-library talent pool and recruit creative, outgoing employees?
Embracing Co-workers and Developing Hard Skills through Staff Training
The Billings Public Library’s T.E.C.H. Lab recognized multiple needs when it came to staffing. One of our key challenges was a continued need for professional development for our staff, and a support structure that could help the single staff member in charge of running the space. At the same time, we saw an opportunity to use professional development as a method of on-boarding and introduction to new staff, or staff who are not actively assigned to the lab.
Staff Turnover and Onboarding
Changes in staff – from the planning and implementation phase to the post-emergent phase – motivated Anythink to develop a three-tiered approach to training and onboarding management, professional and paraprofessional staff. This approach allows us to maintain consistency and a unified vision regardless of any potential staff changes.
We wanted to expand the reach of the resources and opportunities offered by the Billings Public Library’s T.E.C.H. Lab to a broader audience by engaging a wider range of library staff members in our work. How could we provide meaningful professional development opportunities while at the same time as bolstering needed staff support for the Lab and its programming?