Staff Coverage for Service Points
The Administrative Council discussed staff coverage of service points in emergency situations in
Fall 2003. This discussion document is intended to broaden this issue slightly wider to include any
situation in which staff cannot be present at a service point that is scheduled to be open.
Immediate problems arise when there is insufficient staff to keep a unit open. The
Administrative Council’s Fall 2003 discussion concluded that each Division should work out
procedures to provide coverage to units that could otherwise not stay open during scheduled
hours. Implementation revealed several problems and misunderstandings that led to some unit
heads closing or planning to close their libraries in the face of foreseeable or unforeseeable
staff shortages, despite posted hours.
- The Library is required to remain open when the University is open. (For the past two
years we have approved libraries with three or fewer permanent staff (civil service and faculty) to
close for Christmas Eve.)
- Civil service staff cannot be forced to take vacation if they work in a unit that is closed for
Christmas Eve. If they do not wish to take vacation that day, work must be found for them in
another unit and these plans must be made in advance.
- Many graduate students and foreign students stay in Champaign-Urbana throughout the year; some
faculty plan to do research during times outside of regular semesters. Some non-UIUC users
wait until the end of semesters to use our libraries because parking is more available then.
We cannot assume that no one wants to use the libraries during holiday breaks.
There are additional factors that are important to the plans we develop to provide staff
coverage for service points:
- In units with two permanent staff members, vacations are usually limited to times in the year
when classes are not in session.
- Central Stacks, the place called when a library does not open on time, also has a reduced
staffing level and cannot always respond to open a library on short notice.
Recent experience has shown that Divisions are not always able to provide coverage on either a
planned or unplanned basis. To date, only a few Divisions have developed written coverage
Does the Administrative Council continue to endorse this approach or does it prefer to ask
Library Administration to assume responsibility for finding coverage for staffing shortages?