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Dallas Public: Certified Quality & Safety Experts

Dallas Public Library, TX
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Innovation Summary

Since 2008 the Dallas Public Library has seen a 31% reduction in funding, while staffing has decreased by 48%. Through certification in IS0 9001:2008 and OHSAS 18001:2007 management systems the library has been able to provide an increased level of customer service, in light of funding and staffing challenges.

Problem Statement

Although the Dallas Public Library began to experience a significant reduction in funding and staffing levels in 2008, the Library has since added two new locations to the library system, increased customer satisfaction rating of overall quality service to 98% in 2013, and implemented a myriad of program initiatives. In large part, our ability to do so is due to the implementation of ISO 9001:2008 (quality) management system in 2010, the first library in the United States, and most recently OHSAS 18001:2007 (safety) management system in 2013. Realizing the need to continue to provide customers with the level of service they expected, despite being impacted by budget reductions, the Library joined the city in its effort to standardize city departments. Staffing levels once at a peak of 536 positions dropped to 278 positions. It became critical for staff to move between locations in order to fill gaps in service. The quality management system allowed us to do just that by standardizing internal work processes, procedures and forms, realizing efficiencies and improving customer service. With implementation of the safety management system there has been an increase in safety awareness through training, identifying and addressing safety hazards and encouraging more effective communication.


Implementing two management systems involves staff participation at all levels and significant management commitment. In implementing the quality management system the library began by developing writing teams who were charged with documenting every procedure and process, as well as standardizing forms utilized by staff, from checking-in materials and issuing library cards to processing invoices and ordering materials. Staff training was provided to ensure uniformity throughout the system. In regards to the safety management system, the library created a cross-functional team, made up of staff members from all levels of the organization, which were responsible for conducting risk assessments, facility assessments, reviewing job safety analysis and establishing safety objectives. They also identified safety training requirements for each position within the library system. The key elements of a management system involve not only standardization but continual improvement of the systems, which requires annual reviews, documentation of non-conformances or failure to follow written procedures, internal/external audits and process improvement. Library management meets on a quarterly basis to review the performance of both management systems, including: customer satisfaction, non-conformances and process improvements, vendor evaluations and accident/injury reports. External audits of our management systems are conducted by a third-party auditor who visits several locations and talks with staff and reviews documentation to ensure that the systems are working properly. In January 2013, two auditors visited 15 locations to review both systems and the library was granted ISO 9001:2008 and 18001:2007 certifications, with no major non-conformances. The auditors noted that “the system was well defined and in almost all cases far exceeded the defined objectives.”


The quality management system provided the library with better control of its processes resulting in a higher level of consistency throughout the system. Staff is now able to move fluidly between 29 facilities without needing any additional training. This allows staff to focus on meeting quality objectives, including achieving a higher rate of customer satisfaction with the variety of materials, programming and overall quality of service. Implementation of the management system required staff to document all procedures and standardize all forms, resulting in the creation of over 423 documents, which are reviewed and updated annually. All documents are available via a centralized webpage that staff can access daily, improving and reducing the training period for new employees. The Library’s safety management system enhanced staff awareness through procedures that help them identify and address potential hazards. For example, staff performs monthly visual inspections of their facilities, provides accident/injury reports for both the public and staff, and completes “Near Miss” forms to track potential risks of personal injury or property damage. In seeking our certification we have implemented several enhancements to improve safety in our facilities, including: new and additional fire extinguishers, increased security measures, documentation of emergency response procedures and increased staff training frequency. Over the last few years staff has taken ownership of these systems and frequently submit performance improvement and non-conformances to ensure that we maintain a system that is well organized and produces quality outcomes.