Thursday, February 27, 2014

Human Resources of Public Libraries P- 13. Public Libraries * By :C P Vashishth

इस ब्लॉग्स को सृजन करने में आप सभी से सादर सुझाव आमंत्रित हैं , कृपया अपने सुझाव और प्रविष्टियाँ प्रेषित करे , इसका संपूर्ण कार्य क्षेत्र विश्व ज्ञान समुदाय हैं , जो सभी प्रतियोगियों के कॅरिअर निर्माण महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान देगा ,आप अपने सुझाव इस मेल पत्ते पर भेज सकते हैं -

Human Resources of Public Libraries

P- 13. Public Libraries *

By :C P Vashishth

1. Objectives

After reading this module, you will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of human resources in public libraries;

  • Explain the functions of human resource management in public libraries;

  • Identify the levels and types of staff required by public libraries; and

  • Describe the personnel  functions in public libraries.

2.0 Introduction

Human resources are the most vital resource in any public library as all the other resources can be utilised only by the staff of the library. A major portion of the budget is usually spent on the staff of the library. In order to provide best services, it is essential to have well trained and highly motivated staff to make effective use of the resources of the library and to meet the demands of the community.The operations of a library have to  be a team effort which requires close working relationship between all members of library staff. It is thus  important that staff carry out the tasks related to their skills and qualifications. It is a wasteful use of this scarce resource if highly qualified library personnel carry out only routine or clerical library functions. Similarly, for the same reason, it is not necessary to have a highly qualified librarian in every kind of public library regardless of size and other activities. 

3.0 Human Resource Management (HRM)

Human Resource Management (HRM) means employing people, developing their capacities, utilizing, maintaining and compensating their services in tune with the job and organizational requirement. The term human resource management is about people, the foremost asset, in the organization. Without them, none of the activities would exist. Hence it is important that there is a smooth approach to develop the human resources, so that they give their maximum output to the public library to achieve its goals. It is also a planned approach so that the staff employed by the library also meet their own goals.

Activities associated with human resources management include planning, recruitment, selection, orientation, training, appraisal, motivation, remuneration, etc. HRM aims at developing people through work. The human resource function provides significant support and advice to line management. The attraction, preservation and development of high caliber people are a source of competitive advantage for the public libraries  and are the responsibility of HR. 

3.1 Importance of HRM

 Importance of HRM is as below:

  • Each and every employee of the public library has to contribute individually and also collectively to the success of the organization. At the low level, they have to contribute to a goal. To make them contribute, the HRM team has to work harder. It is found that the contribution of an employee is low when they do not know what they are doing.

  • Lack of knowledge on a particular process or technology, leads to low productivity in the organization. The HR department should identify such employees and train them in the necessary skills. They should also know the individual and group psychology to deal such employees in the organization.

  • The HR management team should attract the right talent to the public library, give appropriate compensation, retain them and also develop them to meet the current and future organizational goals. They need to keep track of the skills acquired by the employees during their tenure in the organization and deploy them for the right activities.

  • The employees need to be properly trained and motivated by the HRM team. The ethical policies should be communicated to them at the right time and the problems in the organization should be revealed to get the right solution from them. Thus they should make the employees work more efficiently to meet the organization’s goal. 

3.2 Functions of HRM

The functions of HRM are:

  • Deciding  the staffing needs of an information organization.
  • Hiring  employees to fill these needs.
  • Recruiting  and training the best employees.
  • Ensuring  they are high performers.
  • Dealing  with performance issues, and ensuring that personnel and management practices conform to various regulations.
  • Managing activities that lead to employee benefits and compensation, employee records and personnel policies.
Ensuring that employees have and are aware of personnel policies which conform to current regulations.

3.3 Levels of HRM

  • Macro Approach - strategic
    • HR Planning
    • Forecasting
    • Identification of gaps between projected manpower and desired manpower
    • Utilization of human resources
  • Micro Approach - operational
    • Job analysis
    • Job description
    • Job specification
    • Job evaluation

3.4 Aspects of HRM

• Staffing 
 Types and levels
 Organisational framework
 Personnel  functions – recruitment, hiring, training/induction, staff development, continuing education
 Salary  administration
 Performance appraisal
• Motivation
• Leading/Leadership
• Communication

    4.0 Human Resources of Public Libraries

    The public libraries are established for the  members of the community who have varied requirements. The staff of public library should have various skills and qualities that include, interpersonal skills, social awareness, teamwork and leadership and competence in the practices and procedures of the particular library. The qualities and skills required by public library staff are:

    • Communication abilities for communication with various members of the society
    • Ability to understand the needs of users
    • Capability  to co-operate with individuals and groups in the community
    • Knowledge and understanding of cultural diversity
    • Knowledge of the kinds of material required by  public libraries and skill to  access it
    • An understanding of the principles of public service
    • Ability to cooperate with co-workers for providing  effective library services
    • Organizational skills, with the flexibility to identify and implement changes
    • Imagination, vision and openness to new ideas and practices and flexibility to change when new situations emerge
    • Knowledge of modern  information and communications technologies

    4.1 Types of Staff

    Library staff is an important constituent of the public library. Library staff constitutes an important component of the library trinity. The entire staff structure of the  library usually consists of employees in various ranks of employees. The ranking of employees is determined according to the types of work they perform. The staff that serves in public libraries is classified into four categories, which are, professional, semi-professional, non-professional and support staff. Let us know some details of each category of staff. In this regard, recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission for public libraries in India are given in the Appendix. 

    4.1.1 Professional

    Professional category consists of those who are employed on professional job and who possess degree in library and information science as well as in some other discipline. Professionals are employed at higher level and middle level and are responsible for administration and managerial and professional job. In a large public library, the positions such as Librarian, Deputy Librarian, Assistant Librarian, Professional  Assistant, etc. are considered professional positions. In a medium sized public library, a Librarian and a Professional Assistant usually are the professional staff. Lastly, in a small public library, a Librarian usually belongs to this category. The professional staff has library qualification. The various jobs performed by a professional include book selection, book order, technical processing of documents, indexing/abstracting, reference service, information services, planning library activities and preparation of library budget.

    The professional staff is required to achieve the objective of the library, apply modern techniques and technologies in various library operations and ensure that the public library is involved in library automation, resource sharing and  networking activities.

    4.1.2 Semi-professional

    The semi-professional staff of the library are engaged in performing library routines and techniques under the guidance of the professional staff and have to receive alternatively training in library science. They are with diploma or certificate in library and information science (LIS). Their designation may be library assistant, technical or professional assistant, junior cataloguer or equivalent. They usually perform the routine professional and technical activities. In many public libraries, this category of staff works as support to professional activities under direction of a senior professional. 

    4.1.3 Non-professional

    In most of the libraries, the non-professionals  are with the minimum educational background and are adequately experienced in doing a particular job or trade and usually have a non-library degree. Their  designation may be accounts assistant, store assistant,  reprographic assistant, typist, data entry operators, filing clerk, book arranger, book binder, etc. Also some non-professional (clerical) and unskilled workers are appointed to perform certain library works. They perform activities like shelf management, maintaining files, managing circulation desk, operation of different types of equipment, maintenance of library material,  lamination and other conservation processes.

    Modern large public libraries also  employ specialists  to carry out specific functions, for example, computer experts, hardware and software engineers, database managers, administrative, financial, training and marketing staff. This special staff may have qualifications in their area of specialisation  than in librarianship.

    4.1.3 Support Staff

    Support staff includes helpers, caretakers, housekeeping, cleaners, drivers and security staff. The functions they  carry out are very important, as these contribute to the smooth operation of the library functioning. They should be regarded as an integral part of the library’s staff.

    The quantum of the support staff depends on the total service area of the library, the number of departments and other organized units, the hours of opening, size of library users, amount of circulation and demand for reference services, and the financial support available. 

    4.2 Levels of Staff

    Library staff, like any other organisation works at  three levels of management, viz., top, middle and lower level of management. At each level, individual library professional has to carry out different roles and functions.

    4.2.1 TopLevel

    The top level management determines the objectives, policies and plans of the organisation. They mobilise (assemble and bring together) available resources. The top level management does mostly the work of thinking, planning and deciding. Therefore, they are also referred to as the administrators and the brain of the organisation. While spending more time in planning and organising, the top level management has maximum authority and responsibility. Being  top or final authority in the organisation, this level is directly responsible to the planners, policy makers and the general public. The success or failure of the organisation largely depends on their efficiency and decision making as they have more conceptual skills and less technical skills.

    4.2.2 Middle Level

    Middle level managers give recommendations  to the top level management and implement the policies and plans made by the top level management. This level thus co-ordinates the activities of all the departments. As this level has to communicate with the top and the lower level management all the time, its time is usually spent in co-ordinating and communicating. The middle level management has limited authority and responsibility as it is an intermediary between top and lower management. This level requires more managerial and technical skills and less conceptual skills.

    4.2.2 LowerLevel

     Lower level management directs the other staff of the library. They develop morale in the staff and  maintain a link between them and the middle level management. The lower level management informs the workers about the decisions which are taken by the management. They also inform the management about the performance, difficulties, feelings, demands, etc., of the staff. They spend more time in directing and controlling as they have limited authority but important responsibility of getting the work done from the workers. They regularly report and are directly responsible to the middle level management. Along with the experience and basic management skills, they also require more technical and communication skills.

    5. Salary and Benefits

      • Base salary plus allowances, total salary, total remuneration
      • Salary scales –overlapping and non-overlapping
      • Salary structure based on:
        • Length of service
        • Merit
        • Combination of both
        • Employee insurance, retirement benefits, bonus, conveyance allowance, medical benefits, etc
        Monetary rewards

        6.0 Personnel Function

        The personnel function is associated with recruitment and hiring. Recruitment of staff refers to employ new, best and most suitable personnel for desired jobs. This includes:

        • Recruitment sources – internal/external
        • Inviting applications
        • Written tests and interviewing
        • Applicants short listed – most suitable candidates selected
        • Selection
        • Induction
        • Training professional staff
        • Exit interview
        The other details related to recruitment and hiring  have been discussed in the paper on 'Management of Library and Information Centres'

        6.1 Discipline and Grievances

        Discipline in the libraries is an effective management tool with which one can achieve a better and more efficient workplace. It  applies to staff conduct, whether by act or omission, that interferes with or affects in any way the orderly and efficient operation of the library work.  It includes:

        • Violation of rules and regulations;
        • Unsatisfactory work performance caused by careless or malicious conduct;
        • Off-duty behavior that adversely affects work performance or morale; and
        • Failure to meet employment requirements because of inability or insufficient training

        In libraries, discipline can be maintained by using several steps or measures when an employee fails to correct a problem after being given reasonable opportunities to do so.

        Grievance means any real or imaginary feeling of dissatisfaction and injustice which an employee has about his/her employment relationship. Library staff who wish to pursue a grievance should initially attempt to informally resolve the grievance with their immediate superior.  The library authorities should ensure that all employees are treated fairly.  A staff member who believes that s/he has been treated unfairly may  write a letter of grievance to the appropriate authority.  It is the responsibility of the library authorities to ensure that each grievance is resolved suitably.

        6.2 Staff Development

        Developing the employee can be regarded as investing in a valuable asset. It is not only a source of motivation but also helps the employees to fulfil their potential. Staff development also ensures opportunities, promotion, personal development  and continuing professional development programmes by training or education or development of the employee. The various staff development  programmes are:

        • Lectures
        • Job rotation
        • Do-it-yourself activities
        • Discussion groups
        • Projects
        • Demonstration
        • Coaching
        • Formal training
        • Formal study
        • Consultancy
        • Mentoring
        • Supervision
        • Technical assistance
        • Ad hoc transfers
        • Membership of Committees
        • Sponsoring for Seminars/conferences
        • Publications
        • Memberships of professional associations
        • Subscription to professional journals

        6.3 Training

        Very similar to development, training enables employees to acquire new skills, keeps the employee up to date with changes in the field, aims to improve efficiency and can be carried out  in-house or elsewhere. It is thus a vital aspect in public libraries. The developments in information and communication technology have made the need for regular training even more essential.  The importance of resource sharing and networking and access to other information sources should be included in training programmes for staff of public libraries. 

        6.4 Ethical standards

        Public library staff have a responsibility to maintain high ethical standards in their dealings with the public, other members of staff and external organizations. All members of the public should be dealt with on an equal basis. Every effort must be made to ensure that desired documents are complete and accurate as far as possible. Library staff must not allow their personal attitudes and opinions to determine which members of the public are served and what materials are selected and displayed. The public must have confidence in the impartiality of the library staff if the library is to meet the needs of all members of the community. Library associations in some countries have developed codes of ethics, which can be used as models to introduce similar codes elsewhere.

        7.0 Summary

        The greatest resource for development of any library is the human resource hence no library can develop in isolation of its human resources. Human resource management is that aspect of the management function which is primarily concerned with human relationships within an organization.  Its objective is the maintenance of those relationships on a basis which, by consideration of the well-being of the individual, enables all those engaged in the undertaking to make their maximum personal contribution in the effective working of the undertaking.

        In this module, we have covered the  importance, functions, levels and types  of staff in public libraries. Human resources are acknowledged as the most valuable and important assets in any organization and recognized as valued resources with potential. Of the various components of the library, human resources are recognised as the most vital component. The management of library staff is an important task. Effective library services depend to a large extent on the library staff’s level, responsibility and ability to co-operate with library users. All staff should have a clear understanding of the policy of the library service, well-defined duties and responsibilities, properly regulated conditions of employment and salaries that are competitive with other similar jobs.

        8.0 Appendix


        Public Libraries  have four tiers – State Central Library, District Library, Sub-Divisional/Town Library, Rural Knowledge Centre/Community Information Centre;

        Staffing requirements of various types of libraries:

        a)  To ensure that the services match the changing scenario, these libraries will also act as  Knowledge Centres and be expected to perform the following types of activities in addition to the routine library responsibilities (the lists given below are only indicative and  not exhaustive):
             i.        State Central Library: Information service, e-learning, knowledge management, knowledge centre activities, content creation and management, subject gateways, content  analysis, collaborative publishing, E-governance, training.
            ii.        District Library: Information service, E-governance, content development, co-ordination of rural knowledge centres.
            iii       Sub-divisional/Town Library: Lending of books, reference services, inter-library loan, web-based services such as e-learning, banking and insurance, community information, content and database creation.
            iv.        Rural Knowledge Centre/Community Information Centre: Lending of books, web-based services such as e-learning, banking and insurance, panchayat-level information, E-governance, community information, content and database creation.

        b)  There should be proper co-ordination of activities between the different levels of libraries, especially in respect of those activities which will be of common interest, such as training, sharing of databases and contents, problem-solving, transaction analysis, gathering of information towards development of uniform standards and modelling of inspection of need, access and dissemination, and inspection of progress of knowledge based activities and identifying weaknesses in the system, if any.

        c)    Several routine jobs may be outsourced. These would be stack management, library binding, stock verification, retro-conversion, bar coding, borrowers’ registration, digitization, library security and upkeep, physical infrastructure and maintenance, computer network and maintenance. The work of administrative staff such as night watchman, cleaner, gardener, driver, book binder and cleaner may also be outsourced.

        d)  Keeping this categorization in view, the following staff structure is recommended for public libraries:

        State Central Library (Category III)

        i. Managerial Staff (Group A)
        a. State Librarian
        b. Deputy Library Director
        c. Assistant Library Director (presently designated as Information Officer)

        ii. Professional/Technical Staff (Group B)
        a. Information Assistant
        b. Junior Information Assistant
        c. Data Entry Operator

        iii. Para-professional/Support Staff (Group C)
        a. Library Attendant

        iv. Administrative Staff
        a. Administrative Officer
        b. Stenographer
        c. Cashier
        d. Administrative Support Staff
        e. Night Watchman, Gardener, Driver, Book Binder to be outsourced

        District Library (Category II)

        i. Managerial Staff (Group A)
        a. District Librarian

        ii. Professional/Technical Staff (Group B)
        a. Information Assistant
        b. Data Entry Operator

        iii. Para-professional/Support Staff (Group C)
        a. Library Attendant

        iv. Administrative Staff
        a. Night Watchman, Gardener, Driver, Book Binder to be outsourced

        Sub-divisional/Town Library (Category I )

        i. Managerial Staff (Group A)
        a. Town Librarian

        ii. Professional/Technical Staff (Group B)
        a. Data Entry Operator

        iii. Para-professional/Support Staff (Group C)
        a. Library Attendant

        iv. Administrative Staff
        a. Night Watchman, Gardener, Book Binder to be outsourced

        Rural Knowledge Centre/Community Information Centre (Block Level)

        i. Professional/Technical Staff (Group B)
        a. Information Assistant
        b. Para-professional/Support Staff (Group C)
        c. Library Attendant
        d. Administrative Staff
        e. Village Level Volunteers

        An Information Officer is needed to look after and co-ordinate the activities of clusters of
        four to six District Libraries and their Knowledge Centres.

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