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The importance of libraries in modern times cannot be understated. Libraries act as an invaluable community resource, allowing people young and old to gather and educate themselves, get lost in spellbinding fiction, or improve their career prospects. Librarians are the gatekeepers to a more fulfilled, rich, and happy life for many.

Libraries not only have a significant impact on individuals and society as a whole, but on the economy too. A fact that is clear to see in places like Wisconsin, with the total number of jobs created there due to the presence of Wisconsin public libraries tallied at 6,280 (1).

With that being said, it’s equally as important to recognize the problems that libraries struggle with and how they can be solved. Identifying these issues and then tackling them head on is a hugely pressing economic and social priority. Some common scheduling-related issues that libraries face are as follows:

Scheduling Complexity

The inherent complexity of library organizations is evident in the scheduling process. Within the hierarchical design of library organizations, there is much at play. Whether that’s different types of employees (volunteers, full time, part time), staff qualifications and/or skills, or the various roles and tasks that must be done within a given shift, the difficulty of setting a schedule amongst all of this complexity is self-evident. Staff may have different availability, different skills, or even have multiple roles to perform within a given shift, leaving the scheduler with a multitude of criteria to factor in to the schedule.

In order to combat this complexity, our software can amalgamate all of these different criteria into a rules-based scheduling engine, thus providing the scheduler with the most efficient schedule without having to spend any time analyzing excel sheets. For example, the Michigan Library system knew about the issues caused by this kind of complexity all too well, with the Branch Operations Manager even expressing that “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”. Check the above link for more info on that particular success story.

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

Scheduling Staff in Multiple Locations

Scheduling staff with different rules and requirements in one central location is one thing, but when you add to that the fact that many library systems have multiple locations 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, all within a mobile app, communicating schedules to library staff becomes much easier, clearing the fog and allowing 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. Their schedules then, shouldn’t be treated any differently. Availability, personal lives, and the concept of a consistent schedule are all aspects to consider when setting schedules for library staff.

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. Fair shifts and advance notice are ensured, allowing library staff to focus on their duties instead of worrying about their schedule.

Scheduling can be 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, click here to set up a personalized demo.

hourglass on table with books in background