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Creating a Dynamic, Modern Library Staffing Model

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Creating a Dynamic, Modern Library Staffing Model

Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library, Fla.

Operations & Management | 2018 | Honorable Mention

Innovation Synopsis

Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library overhauled its existing staffing model, reducing from 17 classifications to six and eliminating antiquated divisions in workflow, overdue fines and cash handling. This modernization yielded savings of $780,000 with no jobs lost and resulted in better service by better qualified and compensated employees.


Outdated job descriptions with narrow job responsibilities hampered aspirations for excellence and efficiency and aggravated chronic staffing shortages. Staff creativity was constrained by these job descriptions and access to professional development and educational opportunities were limited. We needed to have the right kind and number of positions doing the right kind of work and to compensate them accordingly. We also discovered that cash handling from fines owed cost more than the fines collected.

Key Elements of Innovation

New job descriptions reflecting actual staff workflow and the education needed to be successful were adopted. The director met with every staff member to explain the changes, and we included a process for incorporating feedback as staff transitioned to their new positions. Once approval was secured to end overdue fines for late materials and the handling of any cash, we developed and implemented training materials for staff and a public relations campaign for customers.

Achieved Outcomes

The impact was immediate and the positive outcomes have been many. Staff have accurate job descriptions, higher pay, greater access to tuition reimbursement and creative and enriching work. Chronic staffing shortages have been resolved. Customers are better served and no longer denied access due to unpaid fines, creating a more positive and useful relationship with the library. There is a greater capacity for in-depth customer service and a marked increase in customer satisfaction.