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Tips for Ensuring Scheduling Success

Let's be honest - managing staffing schedules is just the pits. Trying to remember who works which days. Who has scheduled time-off. Who hates mornings and prefers afternoons. And don't even get us started on scheduling workstudy students. Many Springies were former academic librarians in charge of scheduling dozens and dozens of workstudy students, semester after semester, trying to keep track of their class schedule, their social commitments, and their weekly cap on hours. To say some of us are still traumatized from that experience would be an understatement.

Scheduling is a mind-numbing thankless job that has to be done to ensure the library and all its service points are staffed. You'll never get a parade for a well-staffed schedule but you'll sure hear the complaints if a mistake is made.


Well, we hear you - the cries of managers trying to make it through the day, week, or month walking the tightrope of scheduling.... and this blog post is for you.

Quick Tips for Scheduling Success

  1. Think about staffing needs ahead of time. Roll up your sleeves, it's time for some gate count analysis. Which days of the week, and times of the day are you busiest/least busy? Knowing the ebb/flow of your traffic will help you staff your service points adequately.
  2. Build in flexibility. If moving one staffer causes the whole schedule to collapse, then it might be too rigid. Be sure to build in space for flexibility so if that someone can't cover a shift, the schedule can still function.
  3. Who wants extra shifts? This one's for Public Libraries - if you're working with a part-time staff or pages, they might want some extra shifts. When using LibStaffer, be sure to account for that in their maximum weekly hours.
  4. Follow rules and regulations. For Academic Libraries that employ work-study students, there are federal laws you have to follow regarding the maximum numbers of hours they can work in a school year. In LibStaffer, take that value and divide it by the number of months they're working for you. Enter that value into the maximum monthly hours to ensure they don't go over.
  5. Publish the schedule early. It's tempting to publish a schedule on Friday for the following Monday. But, then you're probably going to spend all weekend making adjustments because adjustments are inevitable. Give yourself, and staffers, good lead time and consider publishing schedules two weeks ahead of time. This way, if a change needs to be made, all parties have plenty of time.
  6. Communicate your rationale. Scheduling almost always leads to controversy with perceived favoritism, slights, and resentment. "It's not fair that so-and-so got the shift I wanted." Be sure to communicate the reasoning behind your choices. This will help reduce friction amongst staff and will ensure better communication with you. Tip: Use LibStaffer's 'Send Email' feature and add your rationale to the optional email message area.
Communicate the why behind your schedule choices.
Communicate the why behind your schedule choices.

LibStaffer to the Rescue!

In case you hadn't heard, Springshare makes a web-based scheduling tool called LibStaffer, designed to take some of the headache out of scheduling. While we can't stop the infighting between staff over who ate the last cookie in the staff lounge, we can help you with the tedious task of scheduling.

LibStaffer Features:

  • Auto-scheduler functionality that take the guesswork out of scheduling dozens of staff, pages, volunteers, or work-study students with variable schedules.
  • Time-clocks to ensure everyone is actually working their scheduled shifts.
  • Hierarchical position structures and robust reporting to make sure the correct managers are informed of schedule changes.
  • SMS-Messaging sends updates to Gen-Z of their upcoming shifts.
  • ... and more!

Register for a webinar to learn tips for using LibStaffer to schedule smarter.

All webinars listed in US Eastern Time.

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