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Library and Information Science


ObjectiveHow do we manage support staff development in the modern health sciences library? Increasingly, the need for more highly skilled staff is evident. This poster describes a three phase project encompassing the development, approval, and implementation processes necessary to make a career ladder a reality in a medium-sized academic health sciences library.

MethodsThe Management Team gathered information from library literature and business and government sources as a starting point. In the development phase, the team posed questions as the foundation for developing a competency-based program to manage support staff development. e.g., What will support staff be doing in the future? Can we define the competencies staff will need? How do we create a flexible system that keeps us poised to respond to change? How do we build a skilled work force and prepare current staff to take on new tasks? How do we develop a measurement framework for objective employee evaluation? In the approval phase, the emphasis was on educating the university’s administration, HR, and the union about the library’s strategic direction and the benefits of the plan to staff. The implementation phase focused on staff buy-in, roll-out timing, and developing training to ensure success for current and future staff.

Results and ConclusionsCompetencies, education, and years of service formed the promotion plan’s basis. Managers identified task-based areas of responsibility, divided into achievement stages with frameworks detailed for objective employee evaluation. A policy for advancement, based on performance in multiple areas of responsibility, was developed. The plan allows for growth and promotion, and encourages staff to build a knowledge base across library departments.

Throughout the planning process the team met with human resources, the union, and administration to explain program goals, as well as to address their concerns and incorporate their input as we developed the program details, resulting in a smooth approval process.

For implementation, one manager assumed responsibility for coordinating orientation and training development. The team was surprised by initial negative staff reaction to increased responsibility and the certification/testing requirements. The team continues to face implementation challenges and issues.

Presented at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting on May 18, 2008, in Chicago, IL.


career ladder, support staff, promotion, management

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2008 Medical Library Association Annual Meeting