From The Director
It’s a safe bet that your family and friends have all been looking for ways to save money over the past few years. The St. Clair County Library System is here to aid your efforts to do more with less. People are seeing real savings by relying on their libraries to provide consistent access to the Internet, programs, popular books, movies, music, and other information resources.
The library system has also been looking for ways to economize and use your tax dollars wisely. Like most organizations, the library has had to consider how to approach financial challenges due to the recession. Declining home values affect the millage-based income your library relies upon to operate. We have also had to adapt to the recent developments of the Affordable Health Care Act.
Complying with the Affordable Health Care Act required us to look closely at our part-time staff and the way that we scheduled them throughout our system. As mentioned in a recent Times Herald article, we had to look at reductions for part-time staff who worked 30 or more hours per week. While reviewing staff hours, it became clear that we would also need to address our widely varying operational hours. On Mondays for instance, our libraries opened at 5 different times and closed at 4 different times, some branches were closed a day during the week, and some closed as early as 2pm on Saturday. This variation went on throughout the week creating confusion for patrons as well as staff.
The library’s management team developed a plan that, addressed the new health care requirements, changed the varying branch schedules, enhanced service hours, and stayed within budget. The plan did call for reduction in some staff hours. This was not an easy decision as it impacted fourteen, part-time employees and their families. Ten additional part-time positions were created to help cover the reduction of staff hours and thankfully no positions were eliminated.
Service to the community is the primary goal of the library and as a result of the restructuring project; the library now operates within a staffing model that provides a more balanced, efficient, and equitable system-wide workforce. This new staffing model ensures that all branches are able to meet the needs of its surrounding communities. This change has allowed us to increase the hours and days that the library system is available to users by 5.5% or 32 additional service hours every week. By assigning new hours of operation so that every branch is open six days per week, library service is more consistent and hours of operation are easier to remember.
The new hours have been in effect since January 2, 2013. If you haven’t visited your local library lately, please stop by and let the knowledgeable and friendly staff show you all that your library has to offer. We think that you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find. Your library continues to connect you to a world of information, just as we have done for over 90 years. Hours of operation for your neighborhood branch can be found on the back page or at www.stclaircountylibrary.org/Locations.aspx.
Library Director Allison Arnold
Talking Book Library
Do you know anyone who has severe eye problems or has trouble holding a book? They could qualify as a library patron for the St. Clair County Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped (LBPH) service.
One card - 11 Locations
We are not just one library - we are one library system with 11 locations throughout St. Clair County to better serve you. You are only minutes away from great library service wherever you are. And it is all FREE with just one card!