Work Blog 12

Just went to a long boring meeting with all of our school’s library staff. The purpose of this meeting is to introduce the top management’s version of mapped workflow analysis to us. They designed these 100 pages of complicated maps explaining how library procedures should be done. They felt these documents are necessary because it helps the entire university library system to work consistently. Also when someone leave their position, the new replacement can quickly understand his job nature by reading these documents. However, I bet over half of the staff sitting there today couldn’t really understand these maps filled with squares, circles, arrows..etc. Perhaps not that many people even care to read them when they have questions on the procedures. When asked if any of us had checked out these documents before the meeting, only less than a handful of people had raised their hands.

They spend over one hour explaining these documents and what accomplishments they have done. Then they opened the session for questions and suggestions. Immediately many people raised their hands asking questions about those maps. Several of the staff at the meeting work in the cataloging department. The head of the cataloging department recently left his position and the staff working there didn’t really have a channel to voice their concerns and problems. They quickly turned their heads to the leader in the meeting today and raised the issue of understaffed and not enough time to take care of everything. They’ve complained that why do managements bother to spend time designing those maps while they should really do some practical works. The tension got very heated as the leader and the staffs go back and forth. They even mentioned that some foreign materials shouldn’t be set as priorities while other more important materials should be worked on first. All of the staff working in the East Asian Library (including me) jolted upon listening to these comments. They probably wouldn’t be too happy to know there are 10 of us working on the Asian languages materials.

With all these comments and complains, the leader gracefully answered that she would be happy to have another meeting with them and address these issues. She also stated firmly that adding more staff wouldn’t be an option for the school. Realistically speaking, the university have been quite generous with us and they simply couldn’t afford to hire more people to help alleviate everyone’s workload. “It is our responsibilities to set out priorities and determine what’s more efficient to get things done!” she said.

*sigh*~~Now I know even libraries have so many problems, especially in this overly complex USC organization. Right now I’m just a small piece in this hierarchical structure. Later on I will see more and more of these problems coming out as I understand more about our library system.