KCLS Services Strategy
Redefining delivery of library service in 2011 and beyond.
Rapid changes in technology. Shifting community demographics.Changing patron needs and expectations. Fiscal constraints.
How do libraries keep pace?
By envisioning the future, and mapping out strategies to be ready when it arrives. The challenges—and the solutions—reach far beyond KCLS. Nationwide, library leaders continually focus on keeping libraries responsive and relevant, regularly implementing new service solutions to meet changing community needs. While not the first, KCLS is among a handful of libraries that are evolving the way they deliver service.
Our preparation began in 2006 with the initiation of what was then called the Future Services Strategy project, a multi-year collaborative effort of KCLS staff across the organization.
KCLS has now completed development and pilot testing of a new staffing model, designed to best staff its libraries to support the KCLS Services Strategy and remain vital and relevant.
King County Library System's Services Strategy identifies organizational service goals, given three distinct drivers:
- Rapid and ongoing advances in technology,
- Significant and ongoing demographic changes in King County, and
- Fiscal constraints on KCLS.
The Strategy centers around traditional library services, but with a fundamental shift in the role of staff, which better positions the library to meet patron service needs through three service delivery modes:
- In the Library: Services and programs that happen inside library buildings
- Reaching Out Beyond the Building: Outreach services and programs that extend out into the community and engage with other organizations to reach new patrons
- The Library Online: Services and programs available anytime online through the KCLS website and catalog
A joint committee of labor and management collaborated to develop a Staffing Model to be deployed as a Pilot project for one year. The proposed new staffing model calls for limiting Librarian hours on the service desks to 25% of total work time in order to increase their availability to plan and implement library services in the libraries, in the community and online. To staff the information desks, KCLS introduced a new position, Public Service Assistant (PSA), who staff service desks at least 75% of their total work time, and who respond to the majority of patron inquiries in the libraries. KCLS also revised community library management roles by separating operations (scheduling and facilities) duties from library service duties.
To test the new staffing model, KCLS developed new public service schedules, hired many staff into new positions and implemented it in the Bothell and Federal Way cluster libraries. These libraries operated in the Staffing Model beginning on January 1, 2011, while other KCLS libraries continued in the existing staffing structure.
Based on the results of the pilot year, KCLS is now refining the new staffing model and transitioning the rest of the System.