April 12, 2014

Question:  I've noticed a few "Private" phone numbers for agencies on the Staff Directory.  These are very helpful when we need to speak to a staff member before we open or when the public lines are busy.  Would it be possible to include a private phone number for all agencies? 

Answer by the Library Communications Team:  Private numbers have been added for those agencies that have them.   Most agencies can be reached before opening or when lines are busy by calling the number listed for the Administrative Assistant.

March 20, 2014

Youth & Teen Large Print Materials

Question:  Ok, so I know everyone just got the Inside VBPL post about "Youth and Teen Large Print Now Classified and Shelved with Adult Large Print."

Here is my question:  Why would we want to place these materials in the adult large print sections when the content of these items do not belong there?  This should follow the same rules as other oddities in the library.  Why not place them at the beginning or end of the youth or teen sections? By placing them in the adult large print sections, the browsability of these items will diminish and, thus, their circulation.  We have seen that JUL separates teen and youth nonfiction and places these items within their teen and youth sections.  This successful example illustrates this point. One of the goals of a library is to make things findable.  This, to me, is a step backwards.

Answer by Materials Management:  Materials Management purchases large print copies of youth and teen titles because of their distinct large print format.  We feel that customers who need this format would enjoy the opportunity to easily locate and browse these books, which are often titles read by all ages.  The Library owns several regular print copies of each title, and these are shelved in youth and teen areas for customers browsing in those sections. 

Finally, the size of the youth and teen large print collection is extremely small; there are currently only about fifteen titles in the collection.  With floating, it is conceivable that an agency may end up with a single youth or teen large print item.  Shelving this small number of large print copies in the youth or teen sections reduces both their findability and browsability, and almost guarantees that customers will overlook them.   

March 13, 2014

What YFS staff does on Friday

Question:  What does the YFS staff do all day Friday?

Answer by Katie Cerqua, Youth and Family Services ManagerOn Fridays the YFS staff, including the ELO department, holds a weekly staff meeting from 9-12 at the MEO Central Library.  In the afternoons we work on system-wide YFS projects and programming or staff finds an open computer in the CL building to read email and plan upcoming storytimes and programming. 

To maximize the time each library location has their YFS Librarian in the building, I have requested that staff use Friday afternoons to make any necessary adjustment to their schedules.  Due to the nature of youth and teen programming, such adjustments are often necessary as YFS staff frequently work over 8 hours daily to offer both morning and evening programs.  Additionally, many YFS staff members also work multiple Saturdays monthly in addition to serving as building managers on night and weekend rotations.

March 3, 2014

Children @ Work

Question:  I understand that when schools are closed due to weather that children cannot be left home alone. However, should staff bring the children into work with them? How can they truly get their work done when they have small children with them? And some of these staff members have 2 and 3 children with them. Does the City allow you to bring your children with you to work anytime that the schools are closed.  I can see if staff were just coming in for a short time and then leaving. But they plan to stay for the day. Either they should find someone to watch their children or, staff should take off. Having small children in the office disrupts everyone's work. Shouldn't the supervisor's being telling these staff that this isn't acceptable? And have them take leave?

Answer by the Library Communications Team:  Here is the policy on Children at Work :

Children at Work Policy
Revised 12/2010
Our expectation is that working parents will have appropriate child care arrangements but we also realize that circumstances frequently arise for working parents when child care arrangements must be temporarily changed or school attendance is not possible due to inclement weather or unexpected school closures.

Staff members must let their building supervisors know if they are planning to have their child in the building during other than public service hours. 

If you have any questions about how this policy is working at your agency, please talk with your supervisor and/or manager.

February 12, 2014

Moving staff

Question:  Did the money to move two employees to Central Library come from Central Library's budget or Library Admin's?  Why is it that the panels used to build their cubicles weren't the same ones used in Information, Circulation and Materials Management?   

Answer by Eva Poole, Director of Public Libraries:  The budget to move the two Library Administration staff to Central Library came from the Library Administration budget. The Sheriff's Department moved their furniture, with city staff moving their equipment, so the cost for the move was nominal.  The panels used to build their cubicles in their new area at Central were installed before it was known that panels in Library Administration would no longer be needed as existing staff in Library Administration will move into their old office.

January 31, 2014

Customer responses to requesting a book

Question:   Do customers get responses when they use the "Not in Catalog?" feature to request a book? If not, is there anyway we could add some kind of follow up to let them know if their request was being processed/approved/denied? Thanks!

Answer by Booker Bates, Materials Management:  Customers do not get a response as to the status of their request when using the "Not in Catalog" feature.   Several years ago we tried notifying customers when an item was not purchased based on our selection criteria but found that it was too labor intensive and time consuming to continue.  Currently, we place the hold for a customer when we purchase the item and we place the hold for them when the item requested was already on the catalog - they just missed it when searching.   A general rule of thumb - if the customer does not see a hold on their record for the item requested within a month - we probably did not order the item.  

November 22, 2013


Question:  Does the response below still hold true?  Can we include breaks with lunch on an occasional basis?  Can we work through lunch and leave early?

April 28, 2008 - Member Question - Breaks
Question:  Why are some staff allowed to include their 15 [minute] breaks with their lunch for one hour and others are not?
Answer by LCDT Archives 2003: Guidelines for Breaks

Breaks are intended as opportunities for rest and refreshment.  They are not provided or regulated by City policy.  The Library has developed these guidelines to assure that breaks are administered equitably throughout the organization.  Everyone needs moments to pause from their work, for their good and for the good of quality customer service.

A few general statements can be made about breaks:

Employees are not allowed (on a regular basis) to skip a break in order to leave early, add a break to a scheduled lunch hour, or combine breaks.  An employee must work one hour prior to taking a lunch/dinner break.

The actual scheduling of breaks is at the discretion of the supervisor to meet the particular needs of the agency.

Answer by the Library Communications Team:  Great job on finding the information in the archives!  Yes, the response is mostly still valid.  Breaks are not provided or regulated by City policy but they are given by the Library Department.  Breaks may not, on a regular basis, be added to a meal break, nor may they be combined or used to leave early for the day.  If there are extenuating circumstances, please talk with your supervisor/manager to see what, if any, accommodation can be made for that particular instance.

The guidelines for breaks are:
       0 to less than 3 hours             no break
       3 to less than 5 hours             1 15 minute break
       5 to less than 8 hours             2 15 minute breaks
       8 hours                                   2 15 minute breaks - one before and one after meal break

Every full-time employee is required to work 8 hours per day.  Since we're not paid for our meal breaks, staff is scheduled to work 8.5 or 9 hours to allow for a 1/2 hour or 1 hour meal.  Working through lunch and leaving early is not something that can or should be done on a regular basis.  Again, if there is an extenuating circumstance, please discuss the situation with your manager/supervisor to determine what accommodation can be made for you.

One change that could and should be made to the archived response is the removal of the line "An employee must work 1 hour prior to taking a lunch/dinner break".  Because we're no longer paid for our meals, a combination of leave and work is required to equal 8 hours.  An employee can take leave (sick or annual) from 8-12 and then work 1-5 for a total of 8 hours.  The meal break in this instance would, of course, be from 12-1.  This employee would still be entitled to an afternoon break of 15 minutes.

All changes to break and meal schedules must be approved by your supervisor.  Please speak with your supervisor if you have additional questions about breaks.