With 4 Positions Down, What’s a Team to Do?

Recently my team at work, Materials Access Team (MAT), has suffered some big losses. One supervisory position became vacant a couple months ago due to a resignation. That position has been filled but by one of our information associate seniors so now that position is vacant. An associate position then became vacant when the staff member applied and got a position in another team within the library. Then one other associate position became vacant when a colleague took a job at the public library. Then another position, Information Analyst, will be vacant in a couple weeks because the librarian’s moving on to a position in Nebraska. So just within the last couple months we’re now down 4 whole people, which is difficult when we’re the team in the library that staffs the service desks at 4 different sites, and classes begin in less than a month which makes it a very busy time of year with reserves processing, hiring and training new student workers, etc. The beginning of fall is always a hectic time around campus and the library.

Fortunately, with a little bit of magic our team leader has managed to find us some help. Two staff members who work in a different team, Undergraduate Services, have agreed to be bumped up from 30 to 40 hours a week to help staff our desks. One woman on our team has agreed to move from half-time to full-time for the fall semester to help with desk hours and other necessary work. A staff member in the Partners team, who in the past worked the Science desk for years, has agreed to pick up desk hours, and so has a staff member at Special Collections. I am so impressed by the willingness of other people in the library to help us out. To be flexible in this way. We could have been in a whole lot of trouble come the fall semester but with people chipping in and helping out I think we’ll be just fine. It will be a struggle figuring out who will be doing exactly what, with 4 job descriptions flying around, but it will work out. People on MAT are used to being flexible and changing their work around as things come about. But this experience really goes to show that teamwork, not just within workteams at the library but through the whole library functioning as a team, can be really awesome.

Now my position is changing and I’m getting a special assignment to duty as Library Information Analyst. Fancy, right? I’m taking over for Toni, who is the one moving to Nebraska, and what the bulk of this job is has to do with fines and collection agencies. I’ve been working as a Fines Lead for quite some time now, but this means when the difficult customers call now they get to talk to me. Such as those students that graduated in 2002 but now are at a collection agency for not returning 14 library items and owe over a thousand dollars, or they thought they had returned the items but we can’t find them anywhere and they’re held responsible, or the due diligence letter we sent was to an old dorm address, the list it goes on. It will be quite a challenge. Like I said, I have been doing this sort of work for awhile so it shouldn’t be too bad, and I’ll be getting a little more money which is always good. But I’m used to getting these sorts of calls and knowing Toni’s always got my back. Now it will just be me, and I’ll be getting other peoples’ backs. An interesting fall semester awaits…


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