Mayor Emanuel to Re-Open Libraries on Monday Mornings Year Round
New Flexible Staff Scheduling Helps Provide Enhanced Programming and Resources for Young Children
CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Library Commissioner Brian Bannon today announced that the Chicago Public Library is adopting a flexible staffing plan that will allow all 76 neighborhood branches to offer full-day service on Mondays after children return to school in the fall without increasing the operating budget.
“By taking a new and creative approach to staff libraries, not only will young children, parents and adults be able to take advantage of services and resources that our community libraries offer for 8-hours on Mondays, we have an opportunity to broaden the array of services we offer,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We are not only re-establishing Monday morning hours during the school year, we are honoring the promise that the Library offers to the children and adults who depend on it.”
When Commissioner Bannon was appointed by Mayor Emanuel in January, he directed an analysis of Chicago Public Library staffing models, drawing from best practices in other cities, and found many ways to improve. The analysis included:
- Studying each of the 76 neighborhood branches to determine when demand was the highest and what type of service was needed in each community.
- Grouping branches based on use and key use indicators (circulation, foot traffic, technology use, reference needs, etc.)
- Creating staffing standards by library type based on monthly use indicators and by use during time of day (e.g. morning vs. after school) and day of the week.
- Using new standards to create new staffing plans by location.
Now, rather than using one staffing model for all branches, the staffing model addresses each branch’s particular needs. This new, more flexible model is possible by re-allocating staff positions made vacant by retirement and attrition and replacing those positions with a targeted mix of full- and part-time positions needed to most efficiently staff the libraries based on user demand. The new staffing model will result in better service to the public, easier access to materials and allow the branches to provide 48 hours of weekly service, year round.
“Based on my experience in other public library systems and after an analysis of our library use and demand, we discovered that by staffing locations in response those factors we could more efficiently allocate our staff and open full days on Monday,” said Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. “The study also uncovered the demand for a teen librarian position, which we will be adding at branches throughout the system.”
The new Teen Librarian position will be focused on assisting teen patrons with learning the latest in YA literature, technology and interest-based learning. These new librarians will be hired over the next two years, the goal being to have one in each of the 79 Chicago Public Library locations.
The additional 304 Monday morning hours across the system allow Chicago families to take advantage of more early literacy programs, preparing toddlers and preschoolers for school by teaching letters, numbers and the fundamentals of reading. The additional hours will also allow children’s librarians to do outreach to schools and host school visits on Monday mornings.
In January 2012, Mayor Emanuel re-allocated more than $2 million in resources to keep branch locations available six days a week and to remain open 48 hours a week (including Monday mornings) during Chicago Public School breaks – summer, winter and spring breaks. These resources restored and reallocated 155 positions to branch libraries.
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