n months 33-35 since the pandemic started the library continued to strive for normalization of operations. Library staff members adjusted their work schedules (which vary naturally from quarter to quarter), struggling to balance personal leave needs while maintaining adequate "in-person" staffing required for the library to run as effectively as it has in the past. Despite our best efforts to collaborate through weekly discussions and use of a Google calendar for staff leave, the library was "understaffed" several days this quarter, and "accidentally unstaffed" again several times.
Our goal was to have at least one person at the library for some period of time Monday-Friday. We did not fully achieve that goal, largely due to coordination of schedules, which seem more variable than ever. Barb Neyman returned to pre-pandemic in-person staffing routine of 4 days a week in person, though she took two weeks of vacation leave in October. Gil Kenner continued to telework 2 days a week, working at the library 2 days a week (a schedule started last quarter). Rebecca Ernest modified her schedule to work in person some days and from an alternate location in other days. This quarter she worked from Suffolk 16 days, up from 6 days last quarter. Ken Winter continues as a full-time teleworker, a status he has had since 2009. While that telework helps with some activities, it does not contribute to in-person staffing needs. In addition, library staff collectively took 276 hours of leave this quarter, which is above average. Thankfully Q2 has the most holiday closures of any quarter (7.5 of 13 days this year), so it is a perfect time for leave.
Staff have used a Google calendar to manage and coordinate schedules and service-point coverage, but VDOT has announced that as of April 2023 it will be migrating from Gsuite to Office 365. We have known for some time our key scheduling tool will disappear, so Ken Winter and Gil Kenner have begun exploring the LibStaffer scheduling system, which we hope will help library staff take the leave they need while minimizing accidental instances of the library being completely unstaffed. We hope a better tool will help us avoid that while improving customer service.
Requests for literature searches remained low this quarter, though the single search requested was delivered on time by Rebecca Ernest. Conversely, patron self-service database use hit an all-time high with 4,396 downloads. Another key event was our successful trial of four new content categories in Knovel, detailed in this quarter's Spotlight.
Kenner Provides Critical Outreach to VDOT Communications, Structure & Bridge Divisions
Gil Kenner represented the library this quarter at an "in-person" meeting of VDOT's communications staff from all districts, which met at the nearby Virginia Department of Forestry. Gil talked about library resources and fielded questions from more than 25 staffers. Later in the quarter Kenner traveled to Central Office Structure & Bridge Division to assess rare VDOT publications, finding one item of special interest, which he scanned to add to our Digital Archive.
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