Monday, June 18, 2007


At my new job I'm slowly becoming a master of scheduling. Well, not a master. And not really anything I set out to do. It's more of a dragged kicking and screaming type thing.

You see, we're essentially open 7am to 11pm most days. I have people who work Mon-Fri, Tues-Sat, and Sun-Thur. If everyone's here, then everything is great. However, since we like people to be able to take vacation (and come back refreshed and rejuvenated etc.) or feel like when they're sick they can stay home and get better, there are times when we need to find coverage.

I'm extra on the coverage front. If we're one person short, I can fill in (it's actually part of my job description, so while technically I have to fill in, it's better when it feels like a choice) and again, no problem.

However, sometimes we have more than one person out.

Take today for example. There are six employees plus me to run the circulation desks. (yes desks, one on the third floor--where my office is--and one on the second floor) Today, four of those employees are out.

Yes. Four.

The good thing is that this is the first day of summer break. There are no classes. There are no faculty in the building. As I type, it's 9:15am. I've been here for more than two hours and I've seen one patron. He came in, checked his e-mail, and left.

So, we're not exactly bustling with activity. Still, there are breaks and lunches to cover, so with three of us here (one only in until 3:30pm, and one not in until 9:30am; and I'm working a split shift...oh it's too complicated to explain quickly) it will be quite the juggling act.

Which means most likely we'll be pulling someone out of collection development to cover breaks and lunches.

Not ideal, but not the end of the world. It's not something that I like to do a lot of, since the collection development people have their own job duties (and breaks and lunches) and interrupting them is not the best.

Normally we don't have this many people out at once. But having two out (particularly when it's night shift people) can be a major pain. If it wasn't summer break we would have never approved so many people being off. We can run a little thin since we won't have as many people needing our services.

The next two weeks are a little sketchy. This is the end of the fiscal year, so everyone's trying to use up their vacation before they lose it. They can carry over some to next fiscal year, but then they have to use it in July or lose it.

I don't feel that I'm very good at managing schedules and time. It's a constant battle to keep myself on top of what's going on. All the departments have to coordinate together so that we know who's covering what and that we have enough coverage for the desks. We only cover internally, i.e., we don't have substitute librarians or temp workers. We have student workers, but they're quite limited in what they can do (e.g., they can't watch a desk).

What does your library do?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

MPOW requires (strongly suggests) that a certain amount of vacation must be taken by 3 months prior to the end of the fiscal year to eliminate the last minute rush of "use it or lose it".