Library jobs still on line

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 06:29 09/10/2012

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The review of Palmerston North Library – where five to 10 of the 105 staff could lose their jobs – has slowed to consider a flood of submissions.

General manager for library and community services Anthony Lewis said 72 individuals and groups, including the PSA, had commented on the proposal for change, with the volume of commentary adding up to 250 pages.

‘‘There are many well-thought-out ideas,’’ he said.

To have time to consider all the comments, the finalised plan will not be completed until the end of the month.

The original plan was released a month ago after a report from a consultant, former National Library acting chief executive Sue Sutherland.

PSA organiser John Shennan said it was heartening that the library management was taking staff feedback seriously, and that an undertaking had been made to engage with the unit about improving workplace culture after the review.

The downside was that it made the uncertainty about job security drag on.

‘‘I don’t think any review is ever a good experience.

‘‘It is always stressful when dealing with a reduction in staff, and I do feel the way this particular review has been structured has aggravated that to a major degree.’’

Mr Lewis said the changes would start to be implemented from November onwards.

But Mr Shennan said uncertainty would linger into next year for some staff, because the reorganisation of management positions into two tiers would have to be staged.

That would leave some staff uncertain about their roles, and others not knowing how people in revamped supervisory positions wanted to structure their teams.

Mr Shennan said staff who worked weekends were likely to see the greatest changes, with proposals that included longer opening hours on Sundays, but the prospect of some short, weekend-only shifts disappearing from the roster.

‘‘We will get a better deal for some people, but others will feel aggrieved.’’

Mr Lewis said at the beginning of the progress that the review needed to position the library to cope with the reality of a fall in the number of items issued from the library, and the rise in the use of digital technologies.

The future role of libraries would be helping people to access information and develop new knowledge, rather than focusing on catalogues and buildings.

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- Manawatu Standard

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