Staffing & Structure
SPL Announces Completion of Restructuring, May 28, 2018
Service & Staffing Review
Questions & Answers
In 2016 SPL undertook a service and staffing review. The purpose of the project was to assess whether:
- SPL can achieve a Community-Led service philosophy within the current organizational structure.
- Ensure resources are allocated effectively to result in desired Community-Led service outcomes.
The review also was intended to identify barriers which would need to be removed for SPL to operate a using a Community-Led service orientation.
Libraries have evolved from book repositories to community gathering places. Today, more than ever, the focus of libraries has shifted from what libraries have to what libraries do.
Library as a Place - There is an emphasis on libraries as a community place. Modern libraries are described as the “third place” (where the first two are home and work) creating neutral and safe spaces for human interaction. Users are interested in a wide range of spaces that include both quiet study spaces, noisy public spaces, as well as technology-centric and comfortable lounge areas.
Broad Literacy Goals - The literacy goals of libraries have broadened beyond reading to places that inspire discovery, creativity, innovation, and where digital, cultural and social literacies are nurtured.
Community Engagement - Modern libraries focus on increased community collaboration and engagement. Public libraries are shifting from reactive to proactive, patron-focused services. More than just anticipating collections or programs that may be of interest to patrons, support is given to employees to be in the community and interact/gather feedback from patrons in places that are convenient for them. This feedback from patrons will inform future program and service offerings.
We worked with Dr. Cheryl Stenström, a leading expert in public libraries, and used the following methodology in the review:
- Phone interviews with 47 public services employees selected from across the system with different roles.
- Online survey for all public service employees who did not participate in the interviews.
- Review of SPL statistics, staffing levels, organizational structure, job descriptions, programs and services in comparison to other Canadian libraries and public library trends.
- A gap analysis of current structure and service delivery against the Community-Led model.
1. SPL cannot operate within a Community-Led service model within the current organizational structure due to the following factors:
- The organization is rigid and complex with too many different roles
- Employees cannot work outside their assigned branch or department
- Service delivery only happens at a service desk
- There is no centralized expertise and support for the branches
- There are departmentalization and silos which prohibits providing good customer service
- There is no consistency of organizational structure within the branches
- The number of similar yet different roles and levels equates to a wide range of pay bands and creates constant movement and ongoing recruitment of internal staff
- There is not enough management support
- SPL’s organizational structure is making it hard to keep pace with changed and continually changing community needs
2. Resources are not allocated effectively to result in desired Community-Led service outcomes.
- Roles are too large and encompass too many functions and responsibilities
- Role responsibilities do not make community engagement a priority
- Roles exist that no longer serve the needs of the community
- Roles exist that no longer serve the operational needs of the organization
- Non-librarians without the required skills and training are doing professional work
- Decisions about programming, service delivery, and collections management are not evidence-informed
- There is currently no mechanism to assess the effectiveness of services and programs
- Lack of systems, resources, and processes to solicit community feedback and input
- Needs and interests drive decisions about programs, services, and collections
- SPL has not responded to changes experienced by public libraries and the greater community. For example: increase in overall usage, demands for the library as community space, expanded needs for offerings of technology, customer service expectations, and online service delivery expectations.
Based on Dr. Stenström’s findings, and supported by the barriers to success that employees identified, SPL cannot adopt a Community-Led service model working within our current organizational structure. The recommendations align roles with the strategic plan, as well as simplify the structure to allow for flexible and nimble service delivery. Upon implementation, this means new portfolios are recommended to manage specific strategic directions and that the reporting structure is considerably flattened.
- There needs to be time available for employees to focus on strengthening relationships with community partners and service groups.
- The delivery of traditional services, such as collection development and desk service (circulation and information services) can be more efficient and effective.
- Front-line employees should be trained to troubleshoot technology.
- More robust technology support in all branches would be beneficial.
- Service employees need the training to handle significantly increased in-branch patron interaction.
- Librarians should focus on outreach, partnerships, external service delivery, and strategic programming.
- A management support structure to include assessment, training, and project implementation portfolios.
We budgeted $44,000.00 for the project, but the final costs came in at $27,400 ($16,600 under budget).
SPL has not kept pace with responding to changes in community demographics, technology, and the changing role of public libraries over the last number of decades. The result is a rigid and inflexible organization. SPL is so far behind other urban library systems that we could not meet our goals through slow, incremental change. 2018 is intended to be a one-time transition year for SPL. Due to the scale of the change, we don’t expect to get the structure perfect on the first try. We will continue to assess and adapt as needed over the next few years. We are also learning from other libraries who have adopted the Community-Led service model and have reflected these learnings in our planning. For example, some library systems did not make significant changes to their organizational structure at the same time they changed the service model. They are now finding that they have to make these changes because their structure cannot support the service.
No. SPL's new model and structure has been designed to be flexible and able to adapt to changing community needs and societal drivers moving forward. Any further changes will be minor/incremental and ongoing.
Yes, but no actual changes to the organization have been made. At this point, we are transitioning employees into new positions, but they will not be operating in these new roles until the summer of 2018. Adopting a new service philosophy and organizational structure is a large-scale change, and timelines may continue to change as we move forward. We are committed to doing this right and rather than following a rigid adherence to a particular timeline. Once we have everyone operating in their new roles, we will we begin to develop SPL’s approach for implementing Community-Led in Saskatoon. The intention of managing the restructuring this way is to be able to work together with our employees on many aspects of the plan and implementation.
Our existing service model and structure is designed to provide desk-based service inside the library. As a result, current roles and schedules are rigid, and the structure is confusing. To operate within a Community-Led service model, we need a structure that supports community engagement and supports serving the community from not only at our service desks, but anywhere inside and outside the library. Our organization must have flexible roles that enable employees to identify and respond to community needs in efficient and meaningful ways, and they need to have proper support from the organization to do this.
In our existing structure employees are hired and trained to work at a single service desk only. In our new structure, employees will be trained to work at any service desk in a particular location. The flexibility of the roles will result in enhanced customer-service opportunities as patrons will not be asked to go to a different desk as they are now. We will also not have all of our employees working on the service desks. Some will be available to assist elsewhere in the library, and some will solely focus on functions such as collections and programming. A comprehensive training plan will support the cross-training required to ensure employees feel confident serving patrons. In-depth reference questions will continue to be performed by employees with specialized knowledge.
The new structure was designed based on employee consultation, as well as trends and industry best practices. We’ve been working on this project since 2016 and employees have been informed and consulted along the way. In fact, employees identified the barriers that the new structure is designed to remove. Since we shared the new structure with employees in the spring, the CEO has hosted over 45 town hall meetings and talked to employees about the opportunities they see and the concerns they have. Based on their feedback, we’ve made many refinements to the structure and transition process.
Customer Service Orientation
- Service delivery takes place at the point of patron need and service employees receive training in all departments.
- Our public desk services are one point of interaction – not the only point of interaction.
Create Meaningful Employment
- Librarians are doing professional work, which they haven’t been fully able to do in the past.
- Non-librarian employees will receive library-specific training.
- Provides appropriate levels of management support.
- Comprehensive training and development provided.
Meeting Community Needs
- Evidence-informed coordination across the system, meaning we will see more consistency across SPL with planning, evaluation/assessment, and training.
- Structure facilitates and supports community engagement.
- New job descriptions allow for present and future flexibility in service provision, giving our employees the ability to respond to unique community needs.
- Cross-functional teamwork replaces standing committees with regular meetings.
- Easier to identify group training needs across roles because the roles are consistent.
- Enable our organization to respond to our environment, to trends, and to better utilize our resources.
- Flexibility in job descriptions allows more employees to respond to community needs.
- Reduction in outdated job descriptions aligns with our strategic plan.
- Improved assessment allows us to continue to find efficiencies and deliver excellent customer service.
Currently, the organizational structure closely resembles the structure of our public facing departments (children, teen, fiction, etc.). In our new structure, the public-facing departments will be the same, but the work units will be different. The new work units are by service area such as (programming & creative spaces, community education & partnerships, and welcoming initiatives). These specialized areas will support the entire system, including the central access team at Frances Morrison.
Organizational structure (reporting lines) highlights:
- The structure facilitates and supports community engagement.
- The focus increasingly emphasizes bringing information into the library from the community.
- A realigning of roles and responsibilities between librarians and library service associates.
- Organized by functional work units.
- There are dedicated roles for enhanced employee specialization in many areas.
- System priorities are accomplished using collaborative vertical teams (made up of all different levels and roles).
- The structure enables evidence-informed decision making.
- Reporting structure creates enhanced coordination between the central library and branches.
- Patron services delivery at integrated desks & anywhere in the library.
|CURRENT STRUCTURE||NEW STRUCTURE|
Collections areas (children’s, teens, adult, etc.) aligns with the departmental structure. Each department has a distinct service desk.
Collections areas (children’s, teens, adult, etc.) remain, but there is a workflow realignment to allow for a holistic view of patron needs. Service points respond to public needs for service.
|How are library services received in the central branch?||
At a Series of Specialized Desks
Detailed and in-depth reference questions are handled by specialists in that area.
At an Integrated Desk & Anywhere in the Library
Detailed and in-depth reference questions and handled by specialists in that area.
|How are library services received outside the branch?||Outreach
The library is the authority, and the focus is on disseminating or providing access to information, programming or service. The aim is to advocate for library services and entice people to use the existing library services.
|Meets Community Needs
The focus on bringing information into the library from the community for improved service delivery. Aim to listen to and engage with the community. Focus on relationship building and finding ways to meet public needs.
|How are system priorities accomplished?||Centralized & Rolled Out
Large committees comprised of either one level of staff or centralized departments make decisions for system changes to service and programming.
Multiple levels of employees who work in different locations and capacities work together to address priorities.
|Customer- service orientation||Passive
Employees are sitting behind desks waiting for patrons to come to them. Employees can only help patrons “in their area.”
In addition to the desks, employees roam the library and help people at their point of need. They can help patrons in any area, with any need.
|Ability to meet community needs||Fixed & Rigid
There are institutional barriers, processes, and rules. The focus is ensuring the desk is fully staffed by each department, leaving little in the way of resources for meeting community needs.
|Responsive & Agile
The structure supports community engagement and meeting community needs as a priority, while also providing excellent public service in our branches.
The majority of roles at SPL will not be new (only 40% will be new). However, as an example, our librarian roles are currently built around providing coverage on the service desks. For example, in a current role as Young Adult / Adult Librarian, the employee is primarily scheduled to work the service desk. In their limited off-desk time they are responsible for supervision and scheduling, ordering materials for the collection, outreach, and designing and delivering programs. We heard from employees that this was not supporting success for them personally or for the organization. In response, we’ve created new librarian roles that are instead dedicated solely to areas such as programming, collections, and reference to support specialization.
We’ve been talking with employees about this transition since the fall of 2016. There has been and will continue to be employees consultation. The structure and roles are designed to remove barriers that our employees identified. We announced the transition plan to employees in the spring of 2017. Since then, more than 45 town hall meetings have been held between the CEO and employees. A comprehensive training and development program that supports employee success is in place. The focus is on customer service and technology-based skills development. We are doing what we can to minimize the impacts by ensuring that they are well supported with information and training as we move through the transition, and we will continue to adjust as we find areas that can be improved.
SPL operates under a collective agreement with CUPE 2669, and we are working within the agreement to move employees into new positions. The recruitment of existing employees into new roles began in November 2017. We anticipate the recruitment process to be complete by late spring 2018. We have adjusted the original timeline to allow for a three-to-five month training and familiarization period before we begin operating in the new structure. We are committed to employee success as we move through this process.
SPL will employ vertical teams as part of the system-wide planning of services, programs, and other projects. Other library systems working within a Community-Led model use vertical teams. The teams will be composed of employees from different roles including Directors, Senior Managers, Managers, Librarians, Service & Programming Associates, and support services (marketing & communications, collections services, information technology, human resources, facilities, and finance). Committees mandated in the Collective Agreement (Joint Job Evaluation, Occupational Health & Safety, Joint Technology Change) will remain.
The following are the standing vertical teams for the new structure:
- Early Childhood Literacy: Core programs and services for young children
- Adult Literacy: Technology for adults, adult basic educattion (ABE), including tours and outreach activities.
- Teen Services and Programming: Teen advisory committee, tours and group programming, programs for teens.
- Adult Services and Programming: Educational and entertainment programming for adults including tours, book club in a bag, book clubs, fine arts programming.
- STEAM Services and Programming: Robotics, materials lending, in-house use, innovation labs, programming.
- Newcomer Supports Partnerships, English as an additional language (EAL) programming, and services, tours for newcomers.
- Services to People with Differing Abilities: Activities and programming for people whith differing abilities.
- Education and School Connections: Partnerships with school boards and schools, curriculum programming. Work with homeschooling organizations and preschools.
- Outreach and Events: Events and outreach opportunities in the community.
- Borrower Services: Check in and out, displays.
- Public Technology: Service enhancements with technology in public spaces.
- Employee Engagement: Fostering an engaging, respectful and healthy workplace.
We’re building a culture of continuous learning at SPL. Historically, SPL has not supported training and development need well. The new roles have different responsibilities and accountabilities associated with them. We do not expect our existing employees to have those skills. We are implementing training for employees to support their success in these new roles. After the transition is complete, we will continue to offer training and development opportunities for employees.
The qualification for the new Library Service Associate roles is a Library Technology Diploma. For employees who do not possess a Library Technology Diploma, SPL is offering a Professional Development Certificate that upon completion and combined with relevant experience, will be accepted as an educational equivalent for the Library Technology Diploma. This approach ensures there is a base-level of knowledge and training provided to everyone in these roles. The certificate consists of two courses from the Library Technology Diploma program. Therefore there is no travel or classroom work required. There are no prerequisites or admission requirements required. SPL is paying for both the cost of the course and the time for the employee to complete the courses.
In 2018 SPL is anticipating spending approximately $180,000 on training and development for unionized employees.
The Library Service Associate training is delivered by SAIT Polytechnic using learning modules from their Library Information Technology Diploma. SAIT was selected because they offer their program through continuing/distance education program, meaning that it can be done online rather than in a classroom format.
Yes, we are also developing in-house training programs that will include job shadowing, workshops, and one-on-one training to ensure employees are ready to start their new positions. We are also offering some additional training through Saskatchewan Polytechnic to provide training in archival, reference and circulation at the request of our employees. We are also providing Prepare Training®, Naloxone administration, Mental Health First Aid, Anti-Racism and Aboriginal Awareness.
No. Only about 40% of SPL employees will be moving into new roles. Employees are not being required to reapply for their existing jobs. The new structure has some brand new roles, and these are the jobs that require an application process as per the collective agreement. Our goal is to transition people as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, our collective agreement outlines the process to follow when creating new roles in the system so this is what we have to follow without an agreement with the union. We’ve continued to reassure employees there is a place for everyone in the new structure, and while roles will change, there will be no loss of employment as a result of the transition.
Related information: Collective Agreement
There will initially be no external recruitment during the transition to the new structure. External recruitment will only happen if there are no qualified candidates for a position.
Yes. However, candidates must possess and demonstrate qualifications for the position. Positions will be offered based on the seniority of the successful applicants for the position. The collective agreement and past practice govern the recruitment process. Management could not legally appoint employees into new roles without an agreement from the union to do so. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that would have addressed this and negated the need for interviews was rejected by the union.
No. There is a place for everyone in the new structure, and while some roles will change, there will be no loss of employment as a result of the restructuring. As with any business, it has been and will continue to be within the normal course of business to evaluate the need for positions. This transition impacts public services employees only. Support service departments have been restructuring over the past two years to serve the organization better. To date, there have been no changes to roles as a result of the new service model or organizational structure, and there have been no associated layoffs.
While there are a few remaining appointments left to be made, of employees who accepted appointments in the new structure, 61% will experience a wage increase, 10% will experience no change in their wage, and 29% will experience a wage decrease. Further, employees who experience a net reduction in yearly pay due to a change in pay band and step as a result of the restructuring will receive pay at the rate of their current permanent position until July 15, 2021.
All told, the net increase in compensation for permanent unionized employees is currently $88,000 (though it will increase over the coming weeks once all appointments are finalized). A previous media report that stated employee compensation was reduced by $680,000 was incorrect. The reduction represented a reduction in the use of temporary and casual labour.
We have a Joint Job Evaluation Committee (JJE) to establish pay grades for new positions. JJE is a joint management and union committee. All new positions are evaluated, by the committee, and a pay band is assigned. At the end of one year, each new position is automatically re-evaluated by the committee.
Related Information: Collective Agreement
Pay for unionized employees at SPL is determined by two mechanisms. The union and the employer negotiate salaries in fifteen pay bands through the collective bargaining process. A six-member committee that includes three union and three management representatives determines the pay band placement of individual unionized positions. The committee uses an objective evaluation of the role, accountabilities, scope, and competencies required to place each position in a pay band. The methodology has been in use by SPL since the early 2000’s. Neither the union nor management can make unilateral decisions about unionized salaries or pay bands.
We aim to offer as many full-time positions as we can. SPL is bound to schedule employees by hours of work in our collective agreement. It states that all full-time and part-time employees shall work not more than one (1) Sunday in four (4) and no more than one (1) Saturday in four (4). To schedule for all of our open hours, we require part-time positions to adhere to the hours of work article in the collective agreement.
One of the barriers employees identified in employee consultations was inadequate management support. In 2012 there were 14 managers. In 2018 there will be 20 managers (a new branch was also added in 2017). Many of the new managers are former unionized employees who have been promoted. The number of managers includes the executive team and the CEO. The number of managers at SPL is low compared to similar library systems across Canada.
SPL employees have not been asked to, and are not required to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Our current job descriptions do not make it possible to deploy staff from one desk to another even within the same building, and this is a temporary problem which is resolved by the new structure. New job descriptions provide more flexibility and will allow us to increase the number of staff on the floor because they will be able to work on more than one service desk. We have also added roving service at Frances Morrison Central Library. We are moving to an integrated desk model with roving reference. The integrated desk will create enhanced service opportunities to meet patrons at their point of need in public and collection areas. These newly integrated schedules are not yet active, but once we make the shift to operate in our new structure, we anticipate there being more service employees available to serve you.
No. The overall level of expertise in the system will increase. We’re applying the single point of contact philosophy current offered at the neighbourhood branches and applying that to our downtown location. At the same time, we’re taking the specialization that exists at our downtown location and bringing that to our neighbourhood branches. Once all the cross-training has occurred, this approach will result in raising the expertise across the entire system.
In-depth and specialized work will continue to be performed by professional librarians, and we have removed many barriers in the new structure that will enable our librarians to utilize their expertise. In the new structure, Library Service Associates trained in library customer service, technology and answering reference questions will support the librarians. At Frances Morrison Central Library, all of the Library Service Associates will be cross-trained to provide service and support anywhere in the library (i.e., not limited to a single service point as in our current structure).
Absolutely not, and the sentiment is a disservice to our employees who hold the new qualification of a Library Information Technology diploma. Most of the roles at SPL and the qualifications for these roles are not changing. For example, all librarians hold and will continue to hold a Master’s of Information and Library Science degree.
The qualifications have changed for our Library Service Associate roles. They are different but most certainly are not de-skilled. The educational qualification for this role is a Library Information Technology Diploma. These employees have two years of library training before they arrive at SPL. Future employees will come prepared to meet the needs of the organization with specialized library training, and some of our employees already hold this credential.
Our current requirements for non-librarian positions require a university degree in any subject, but no specialized library, technology or customer service training.
We anticipate providing enhanced customer service both inside and outside the library so that every employee you interact with can meet your needs, rather than having to move between multiple service points. In both the old and new structures, dedicated specialists in each area address in-depth and specialized patron needs.
These changes will be most noticeable at the downtown Frances Morrison Central Library. We will be adopting the single-point-of-contact philosophy we currently offer at the neighbourhood branches and applying that to our central branch. For example, a patron who comes to a service desk whose needs are to obtain a library card, place a hold on a book, and then use a computer would need to go three different service points in our current model. In the new model, the first employee the patron interacts with will likely be able to meet all of their needs. A patron who comes in with in-depth research needs in local history will still be directed to the local history specialist, just like they would today.
We will also be taking the specializations that exist at our central branch and bringing them to our neighbourhood branches. For example, in the area of programming, we will have a dedicated programming team who will deliver programs that previously delivered by a specialist at the downtown location, that same specialist will now be delivering those programs at the neighbourhood branches as well.
This change will result in increased employee expertise and a consistent patron experience across the system.
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