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Library Scheduling Problems and How to Solve them

Libraries experience scheduling problems that are far more complex than a spreadsheet can handle. Learn how scheduling software easily solves scheduling complexities for libraries.

Libraries are an important invaluable community resource. A space where people both young and old to gather and educate themselves or get lost in spellbinding fiction. Librarians are the gatekeepers to a wealth of knowledge, leading to a more fulfilled, rich, and happy life for many.

When it comes to scheduling librarians, other staff and volunteers, library scheduling can become complex. Without an effective scheduling method, there are many issues that can arise. Below are some common scheduling-related issues libraries face, along with methods to solve them.

Library Staff Scheduling Complexities

The inherent complexity of library organizations is evident in the scheduling process. Within the hierarchical design of library organizations, there is much at play:

  • Types of employees (full-time, part-time, volunteer)
  • Staff qualifications and/or skills
  • Various roles and tasks that must be done within a given shift

With the multitude of criteria to factor in, scheduling can be one of the most time consuming tasks. The scheduler must consider each individual’s characteristics and consider how they fit within the overall schedule amongst other staff.

In order to combat this complexity, Celayix can amalgamate all of these different criteria into a rules-based scheduling engine. The scheduler can create shifts, and schedule employees that fall within the rule set. With a few clicks, the scheduler has the most efficient schedule. The created schedule can also be used as a template for future schedules too.

The Genesse Library system knew about the issues caused by this kind of complexity all too well, with the Branch Operations Manager even expressing:

“It was just taking up too much time. We couldn’t get our work done; we were looking for something that could schedule our staff automatically based on certain criteria.”

Wide shot of curved bookshelves in large round atrium of a library

Scheduling Library Staff in Multiple Locations

Scheduling staff with different rules and requirements in one central location is one thing. But, when you add the multiple locations many library systems have, the scheduling fog becomes a lot more dense. When considering simple things like scheduling notifications for staff, it presents even more problems. Communicating schedules to employees over numerous locations can prove very problematic. To tackle this problem, scheduling systems with built-in communication can provide valuable assistance. With real-time messaging and instant shift change notifications, communicating schedules to library staff becomes much easier. Easily accessible in one mobile app, this clears the fog and allows for clear, simple communication.

Difficulty Ensuring Fair Schedules

It’s easy to see the amount of complexity and variables at play when looking at library staff scheduling. Library directors want their staff to be scheduled in a productive manner, and one that ensures the smooth functioning of the library. However, libraries are a lot different to other organizations.

Library systems are all about the people within them. Whether it’s full time or part-time staff, volunteers or interns, the library has a responsibility to treat everyone equitably and with respect. This includes scheduling staff equitably as well. Availability, personal lives, and the concept of a consistent schedule are all aspects to consider when setting schedules for library staff.

An older open book on top of a closed blue book, with glasses and a clock on a wooden table.

Unfair, biased, or disorganized schedules have the potential to harm employee morale. In fact, according to the Economic Policy Institute, Less than 11% of workers on regular work schedules report experiencing work-family conflict often,  in contrast with as many as 26% of irregular/on-call shift employees. It’s obvious how an unpredictable, unfair schedule can harm employee morale within a workplace. But how can this be solved? With rules-based scheduling and employee notifications within a scheduling solution, these issues can be resolved. This ensures fair shifts and advance notice, allowing library staff to focus on their duties instead of worrying about their schedule.

Scheduling As a Major Productivity Issue

Without a doubt, scheduling can prove to be a significant administrative speed bump in the productivity of any organization. Additionally, one of the most common problems in library scheduling is the stress that comes with it. Library directors, administrators, controllers, and branch managers all want the same thing: a simple, easy, repeatable, quick scheduling process that’s effective and fair.

With the use of scheduling software, and in particular tools like autofill, library schedulers can complete entire schedules — for dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of employees — in just minutes, freeing themselves up to do more important tasks. Another element that increases productivity by removing management’s scheduling function is empowering employees with the freedom to choose their own schedule. Self Scheduling allows staff to choose the schedule they want, providing them with autonomy and a better work-life balance. Thus, making them happier and more productive.

Where Does Celayix Fit In?

At Celayix, we work with libraries all across North America to simplify their scheduling, save them money, and remove the stress of the scheduling process.

If you’d like to see how we ensure our customer’s success, check out how we helped the Michigan Library system save hours of time in administrative burdens.

If you want to see for yourself how we help libraries automate their scheduling process and remove complexity, get in touch with us to set up a personalized demo.

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