2012 Rural Library Cafe Notes

ULA Conference: Rural Library Cafe;
Held April 26, 2012, 1:30-2:30 PM
Salt Palace Convention Center, Room 250 C


Rural library workers came together to talk about issues that affect their workdays at the Rural Library Café session of the Utah Library Association conference. They sat down and talked, asked questions, and got suggestions/ideas from other librarians of similar size. Attendees talked at a table for 10 min, for 3 times, and then at the end each table reported out. The session was held café-style, with round tables, and refreshments. The Utah Library Association’s Continuing Education Committee, the ULA Public Library Section, and the Utah State Library sponsored this session.
Colleen Eggett, Utah State Library Training Coordinator, facilitated the session.

Table topics, along with the discussion leaders, included:

·         Coping with budget cuts—Connie Lamb, Brigham Young University Library

·         Task management and streamlining—Valerie Buck, Brigham Young University Library

·         Our collaborative ILS system—Linda Roholt, Cataloger, Utah State Library

·         Dealing with difficult staff—Tammy Springer, Personnel Manager, Salt Lake County Library System

·         Working with the library board—Safi Safiullah, Salt Lake City Public Library

ULA CE Committee for 2011-2012:

Connie Lamb- Brigham Young University (Co-Chair), Valerie Buck- Brigham Young University (Co-Chair), Safi Safiullah- Salt Lake City Public Library, Tami Springer- Salt Lake County Library System, Grace Chen- LDS Church Family History Library, Michelle Graves- Eagle Mountain Public Library, Jennifer Hendricks- Broadview University, Sue Hill- Brigham City Public Library, Colleen Eggett, Utah State Library Division.

Learning objectives:

·         Collaborating and brainstorming with other rural librarians

·         Discussing topics of interest to your library

·         Bringing back to your library solutions to problems

Summary of what was discussed:

Coping with budget cuts—Connie Lamb, Brigham Young University Library (BYU)

 Budget cuts can be across the board or targeted to certain aspects such as collections, staff, facilities, or programs.  All attendees felt that programming should be the last thing to cut.  Ways to cope are:

·         Meet with new city council members one-on-one to explain budget challenges

·         Prioritize/plan ahead

·         Don’t replace empty staff positions

·         Cut hours, or even full days, that the library is open

·         Purchase discount books or computer accessories

o   Purchase at surplus sales or Deseret Industries (thrift store)

o   Tech soup

·         Donations

o   Books

o   Money

·         Community advocacy

·         Use volunteers

·         Grants

·         Friends of Library fundraising through book sales, etc.

·         Partner with community groups and organizations

·         Outsource processes


Task management and streamlining-Valerie Buck, BYU Library

·         Recognize and use employees’ skills

·         What jobs can be handed off

o   Temporarily

o   For one week, etc.

o   Permanently

·         Streamline volunteer process

·         Set limits and stick to them if possible

o   Be ready to say “no” to projects you can’t realistically do

·         Hire people who like challenges

·         Bring in volunteers and take time to train them WELL

o   Easter seals program

o   Eagle Scout projects

o   Be careful that volunteers don’t create more work for you instead of less.

·         Adjust work style with how you do your work best and fastest

·         If you’re better batching, arrange work to fit

·         Get an outside librarian to come in and assess your workflow and point out improvements

·         Tasks scheduled: set times

·         Rely on community to do some programming

·         Keep and follow a task list

o   Each employee

o   Make sure it’s in line with goals

·         Go after grant money to help – ex. Summer Reading Program


Our collaborative ILS system- Linda Roholt, Cataloger, Utah State Library

We discussed the collaborative ILS project that is currently underway in Northern Cache County among four public libraries. Some important issues have been discussed are:

·         Floating collections

·         Collection sharing issues

·         Out-of-residency fees

·         Charging small libraries

·         Political issues

·         Policy planning

·         E-book collaborative purchasing

·         Grant money

·         Hold priority

Dealing with difficult staff—Tammy Springer, Personnel Manager, Salt Lake County Library System


·         Some common reasons that staff working together becomes difficult

o   Resistance to change

o   Poor technology skills

o   Not working the assigned schedule

o   Staff needs training

Working with the library board-Safi Safiullah, Salt Lake City Public Library

·         Diverse Representation

o   Not Library Users

o   Not familiar with resources

o   Not clear on responsibility and not educated on library issues

·         Interaction with staff members

·         Open ended conversation with library board and staff

·         Policies, priorities

·         Balance between micromanagers/lack of interest

·         Some boards are advisory only

          How many meetings?


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