Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Creating Our Future: Workforce Planning for Library 2.0 and Beyond

Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Creating Our Future: Workforce Planning for Library 2.0 and Beyond

Article excerpt

A personalised view of workforce planning in public libraries in the context of the emerging concepts of Library 2.0; third place libraries and the transparent library. Edited version of a paper presented at the PLA/Public Libraries SA conference Adelaide 7 August 2007.

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Yarra Plenty Regional Library is in the north east of Melbourne. It is a regional library service, providing services for three local governments, Banyule, Whittlesea and Nillumbik. The region is quite a mix--lots of green space, industry, leafy established suburbs and new housing estates.

Regional libraries in Victoria are incorporated under a section of the Victorian Local Government Act, and operate as an independent legal entity with an annual audit by the auditor general. Yarra Plenty is a partnership between the three participating councils. It provides all its own support services, from IT through to payroll and accounts. It makes the service nimble, but it also means it lacks the expertise and depth of knowledge that larger organisations have.

It is a progressive library service--early adopter of the internet, ebooks, cataloguing websites, online reference--and it has many more public access pcs per capita than other public libraries in Victoria.

Yarra Plenty has, over the past year, developed frameworks for its services as indicated in the following.

First, it is providing services for the three local council. It is governed by a library board, which comprises two councillors from each of the three councils. The library board sets the strategic direction and has developed the strategic plan as a rolling four year plan. As well as this it has a four year resources plan, which outlines financial planning and the annual budget. It has worked on a number of frameworks, which are five year plans that look at each of the service delivery areas and describes where we are currently at, where we would like to be and how we are going to get there. This provides a road map for staff. Because they have been developed in consultation with key stakeholders and the community, they provide the library service with a reality check and a mandate for change.

The frameworks all highlight the four main activities that have been badged as Library 2.0 activities ie finding information, enabling learning, creating content and celebrating culture. Through these activities the strategic plan goals of informed, connected, inclusive communities are achieved.

Building an effective management team and developing staff

Denver public library in the US has a video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AppCIzJD 8. This gives a fresh view of public libraries and encapsulates the winds of change moving through them.

Library 2.0

Michael Casey is credited with first using this term on his Librarycrunch blog at http://www. librarycrunch.com/2005/09/librarians_without borders.html. It is a spin off Web 2.0, the interactive, participative web that allows people to create, contribute and build online communities. According to Casey, Library 2.0 has four core values

* it is user centred

* it provides a multimedia experience

* it is socially rich

* it is communicating innovation.

The way a library expresses these values is by

* changing the way it designs its systems and services to invite higher levels of user participation

* applying interactive, collaborative and multimedia web based technologies to build library based applications.

These systems and services can range from encouraging people to comment on a library's blog, to introducing self service, to providing point of need service delivery. An example is instant messaging chat, to creating a wiki for people to tell the stories of their communities.

Library opacs on the whole are dire--it is interesting to see the emergence of open source library management systems that use Amazon links to provide opportunities for borrowers to review books and comment on them. …

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