We will be doing a poster presentation at CLA on Saturday November 3, 2012 from noon to one PM.
We’ll tell you how Bay Area libraries are using on-call workers, and you tell us how your library compares. For example:
1. Have your on-call librarians had adequate training?
“After a short period of time, hourly librarians get training on specific skills associated with additional duties, identify skills or areas where they might need improvement, and potentially in charge training.”
“We don’t have a set policy or practice in this area because it is handled case-by-case.”
“Although we don’t usually have funds to pay for their time to do so, our on-call librarians can often attend trainings offered to our permanent staff.”
“We certainly make our opportunities available but our adjunct has full-time work elsewhere.”
“We will not extend that person’s day to attend a conference. They are paid if the time is part of their agreed upon working hours.”
2. Are they “in the loop”?
“They don’t know our systems and bring bad habits with them.”
“Unfortunately we have librarians who work one 4 hour shift a week and this can result in a lack of knowledge transfer due to many things happening throughout the month that this librarian is unaware of. We do our best to keep this librarian and our on-call librarians up to date via email.”
“somewhat unrealistic expectations that on-call librarians will keep up with a multitude of subject collections”
“Large group that has lower policy awareness that may effect quality of service across the board”
“If they are working too many different jobs, it’s easy for them to feel isolated and not really part of the faculty”
“subs often work when few regular employees are around (e.g. Sundays) making it more difficult for them to pick up knowledge from co-workers”
“ Hourly staff may not remember all the details of each place they work & don’t always receive information on a regular basis”
3. How are you scheduling your on-call workers?
“Most often is day to day, but occasionally it will be for several weeks or months.”
“Those who have other jobs need a fixed desk schedule — we have one librarian who regularly works Sunday and Monday and Tuesday evenings until 10, for example, and we abide by that as much as possible given her other obligations. If someone is working an 8 hour day, then their hours on the desk may vary from day to day depending on others’ absences or teaching schedules, etc.”
“Often grant funded positions are regularly scheduled for a time period”
“the union objects to giving on-call regular ongoing shifts as does the city management team. On-calls are classified as temporary seasonal employees.”
4. Are you doing regular performance evaluations?
“On-call staff are treated as “warm bodies” in our system. Wherever possible, we use shelvers and clerk-level staff instead to manage the daily tasks, cutting professional and paraprofessional presence to a bare minimum. Because the on-call staff are not mentored or offered training in any real way, they are not considered appropriate candidates for transfer to part-time or full-time positions, because they have not “done” programming, outreach and grantwriting”
“Only recently has Human Resources wanted evaluations for on-call employees. Previously we did them when we wanted the employee to have a raise.”
“An evaluation is done after they’ve worked 500 hours and 1,000, then after every 1,000 hours worked.”
5. What do you expect from on-call librarians?
“Several former lecturers have applied, were interviewed, and have become tenure track library faculty. It often depends on the subject areas needed, and of course, their past performance as lecturers.”
“Sometimes on-calls become permanent employees,(like me) but they have to submit their application in an open recruitment. To my knowledge, we have never had an in house recruitment for a librarian.”
“a FT librarian may be better at collection weeding because they are more familiar with the collection, but generally the Pool librarians are eager to learn and contribute in meaningful ways.”
“On-calls are often more attentive to the patrons because they’re not multi-tasking on the reference desk. So their full attention is better for the patron.”
“They have a harder time getting up to speed and are not used to working in our environment, so they are slower. Most of them want a full-time job, so we have to use different people all the time, which means that they don’t use the knowledge they gained last time.”
“They are not used to our high levels of thoroughness and customer service.”
“All of our faculty, permanent and temporary, work incredibly hard and are very productive.”
5. How is your library using on-call librarians?