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COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM

BACKGROUND

The County Library System is a division under the umbrella of the General Services Administration (GSA). There are seven locations throughout the County with a total staff of 19. The Main Library in Jackson has five full-time and three part-time staff members. In addition, there are three extra persons in Jackson who are assisting with the library automation. There are also fifty volunteers who assist the library staff. The Amador City, Ione, Pine Grove, and Plymouth libraries each have one part-time person. The 1999-2000 County Library System budget is $634,095 with $40,633 in revenue for the period July 1999 to March 2000 of which $36,848 comes from the State Library Trust Fund.

The County Library System participates in a book exchange program with other libraries along the Highway 49/99 corridor. Books, periodicals, tapes, and other materials requested by County patrons are delivered daily from Stockton. This program enables the County Library System to provide books and other related items not on local library shelves.

A tie-in to an automated system was purchased with funds from a $10,000 grant. This system will assist the staff in providing control over it's resources (books, periodicals, audio and visual tapes and other materials), identifying and collecting of fines for overdue books and generating management reports.

"Friends of the Library," a non-profit organization, is dedicated to supporting the needs and services of the Library. They assist by raising needed funds through book sales and other fund-raising events and actively promote gift giving through memorials and group communications.

METHODOLOGY

Persons interviewed:

  1. GSA Director
  2. Library Administrator
  3. Branch Library Assistants, except Pioneer and Plymouth

Documents examined:

  1. 1999-2000 Final County Budget
  2. County job descriptions for all library-related positions
  3. Amador County Library Computer Policy
  4. Schedule of Library hours for all locations

Site visits:

FACTS

  1. The Main Library building is too small for current usage.
  2. The County Library System has a weekly circulation of books, audio and video tapes, periodicals and other materials, that is estimated to be between 1500 and 1750 items.
  3. Data input for the new automated library system is 80% completed, with 100% expected in June 2000.
  4. Jackson has six computers dedicated to patrons' use and five for staff. In addition, there are eight obsolete computers that are not in use. Ione has one computer (but no printer) which is not on a network. There are no computers in the other branches. The 1999-2000 Budget contains funds for three computers to be used in the branches. These computers are allocated for use by both the public and library staff and are expected to be delivered, installed, and on-line in June 2000. Funds for three additional computers have been requested.
  5. The library staff has received some computer training but lacks the skill and technical knowledge for operating and maintaining them. Problems occur on a daily basis and staff must request assistance from the County Data Processing Division, resulting in downtime.
  6. Facilities needing attention are:
  7. The Library Administrator conducts weekly staff meetings in Jackson, but rarely do the branch librarians attend. The Administrator visits the branches weekly. In-service training is held from two to four times annually.
  8. Each Branch Librarian submits a monthly report providing information such as number of patrons, circulation of resources, number of cases where assistance was given to the patrons, etc. This information aids the Administrator in managing that location.
  9. The Amador City Branch is open one day per week for four and one-half hours with approximately 5 patrons weekly.

CONCLUSIONS

  1. The Main Library facility needs to be expanded or relocated.
  2. The practice of stacking combustible material at the rear door at the Jackson location presents a fire hazard and an open invitation for vandalism.
  3. The overhead lighting in the reading room of the Jackson location needs updating and the door to the storage shed needs repair.
  4. The door that opens inward and is used for both entry and exit at the Sutter Creek location presents a safety hazard in the event of fire or other emergencies.
  5. The restroom at the Plymouth location needs thorough cleaning.
  6. The Librarians at the Pine Grove and Sutter Creek locations need a means of alerting authorities in the event of an emergency when the telephone is not an option.
  7. By not including the Branch Librarians in weekly staff meetings, the opportunity for them to contribute and learn from the resolutions of issues and problems, that other librarians have faced, is being missed.
  8. More computer training and hands-on computer use is needed for those staff members who assist the public with computer usage.
  9. A part-time Microcomputer Technician is needed on-site to support the Library's computers used by the public.
  10. The Amador City Branch Library is not cost-effective.
  11. Obsolete computers need to be removed, freeing valuable space for other usage.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Conduct a study to determine the options for relocating or expanding the Main Library.
  2. Reverse the entry/exit door at the Sutter Creek Branch so that it opens out.
  3. Discontinue the practice of leaving combustible material outside the rear door at the Jackson facility.
  4. Update the overhead lighting in the patrons' reading area and repair the door to the outside storage locker at the Jackson facility.
  5. Clean the restroom at the Plymouth Branch.
  6. Install an alarm system to improve employee safety at the Pine Grove and Sutter Creek Branches.
  7. The Branch Librarians should participate in staff meetings. Reduce the Administrator's visits to the branches.
  8. Provide staff with additional computer training and encourage daily use.
  9. Assign a Microcomputer Technician to the library part time.
  10. Assess the need for a Library Branch in Amador City and take appropriate action.
  11. Dispose of all obsolete equipment throughout the County Library System.

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