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Administrative Visits

St. Louis County Library

Innovation Leader: Charles Pace, Library Director, cpace@slcl.org

Problem Statement

Having undergone many recent changes with many still to come, St. Louis County Library needed to strengthen the relationship between administrators and staff.

Innovation

Each member of the administration, including the Library Director, Assistant Managers, the Manager of Human Resources, the Manager of Planning, the IT Manager and the Comptroller spent a day in every department and at all 20 branches doing typical work alongside non-managerial staff. The work included every library job such as shelving materials, trapping holds, assisting customers, cataloguing, ordering and processing materials, working on bookmobiles, participating in programs, making delivery runs, preparing promotional material, going on maintenance calls, helping with reference questions and answering phone calls. Every administrator was exposed to the challenges that all levels of library staff experience now.

Progress

Library administrators gained an appreciation for and understanding of the demands made on staff by the public, by machinery, and by procedures. As a result, policies and procedures are now examined with a new perspective before being adopted. Longstanding procedures are also scrutinized, and those which are unwieldy or unnecessary are discarded. Administrators noticed the differences in the clientele from one branch to another, which affects planning more significantly than before. Similarly, staff increased their familiarity with and knowledge of the administrators as co-workers and as people who are also dedicated to a common goal. This increased mutual understanding will help the library as innovations are planned and implemented.