Monday, May 23, 2016
The deadline is May 31, 2016.
The Fairfax County Public Library Board of Trustees is undertaking an interactive project to solicit input about the types of services and programs the Library could offer in the future. The project seeks information from the public and staff regarding perceptions about the Library; the types of services that will meet current and future community needs, interests and concerns; and how the Library can better communicate its value to the residents of Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
This month, we want to celebrate the news that 44 current pages working in the branches have completed the Circulation (Circ) Mentoring Program. This program enables pages to have opportunities to shadow current library aides and other circulation staff in order to increase their skills, confidence, and hire-ability for circulation department openings as they are announced.
While this program is not new, it is a prime example of ways FCPL can and should be actively nurturing the growth of its staff. When we build viable “ladders” for internal promotion, we contribute to the kind of succession planning that enriches the best library systems across the country and creates the leader-managers we need most. Recently retired City of Fairfax Branch Manager Kathy Hoffman moved up from a 10-hour a week Librarian I position over 30 years ago to eventually master a leadership role that not only reflected her own experience of active mentoring, but her skills as a mentor to current and future managers within our system.
Whether we are growing non-merit pages for merit positions, circulation staff preparing for information desk and programming roles, or library school graduates for management roles in our system, we need to see our branches and our human resources department as partners in an ambitious laboratory based on respect, opportunity, imagination, and growth for all.
Jessica Hudson’s story of being inspired as a student “shelver” or page in her local public library to pursue the impressive career and achievements that have brought her to us should not be an exception, but a model.
As we move to the next phase of the Public Engagement Project with its telephone and online surveys, we need to remember that the proof of each public library’s value is in the experience of its current and future users. And that experience in turn depends on having staff with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to imagine and create peak experiences.
Like other managers in our system, I am beginning to work on annual performance evaluations for my staff. Key to the success of these conversations is being able to respond to the dreams staff bring to me for training, for promotions, and for experimental projects that may or may not lead to immediate success. We are at our best when we see these evaluations not as driven by a judging attitude that focuses on minimally acceptable standards, but as aspirational flights that nurture trust, ambition, skill-building, and better outcomes for all.
For each of us, the colleagues and managers who saw beyond our limits to help us reach higher are the ones we thank most when we look back. Let’s be a library system that makes that achievement happen for the greatest number of staff. Our library users will benefit from that strength.
President, Fairfax County Public Library Employee Association