Heard about changes?

Join us for a public discussion.  

The SPL Board will hold a public discussion about the organizational changes at Frances Morrison Central Library (Lower Level Meeting Room) from 7 to 8 pm on Wednesday, June 20.


Here are the facts about change at SPL:

Updated May 28, 2018

 

  • Community-Led is a leading library service philosophy in North America, where community input informs decisions about services, programs and the collection. We would not consult on the day-to-day administration of the library.
     
  • Approximately 40% of SPL’s employees are part of the restructuring. All of these employees were eligible for ongoing employment at SPL.
     
  • All existing library departments (Local History, Outreach & Access Services, Children’s, Teen, etc.) will continue to serve you as you have come to expect. The budget for programming & services in these areas has increased in the 2018 budget. There will be no changes to SPL services until we can begin consulting the community in 2019. What we are changing is how we support these departments.
     
  • After the change, there will be 25 full-time librarians (people with a Master’s of Library & Information Sciences degree) working at SPL—more than at any time in recent history.
     
  • In the future, new employees to library service associate roles will be library technicians (professionals with a two-year diploma in library information technology). Currently, our existing employees will fill these roles. A comprehensive employer-funded training program will support existing employees who do not have the library technician qualification.  
     
  • While there are a few remaining appointments left to be made, of employees who accepted appointments in the new structure, 61% will experience a wage increase, 10% will experience no change in their wage, and 29% will experience a wage decrease.
     
  • Employees who experience a net reduction in yearly pay due to a change in pay band and step as a result of the restructuring will receive pay at the rate of their current permanent position until July 15, 2021.
     
  • Six full-time senior library service associate positions remain vacant because there were not enough fully qualified applicants to fill these roles. The union accepted a proposal to underfill these positions with existing SPL employees. As a result there will be additional opportunities for some employees to gain full-time status.
     
  • The net increase in compensation for permanent unionized employees is $88,000 (though it will increase over the coming weeks once all appointments are finalized). A report that stated employee compensation was reduced by $680,000 was incorrect. The reduction represented a reduction in the use of temporary and casual labour.
     
  • 79% of employees retained their previous full-time or part-time status, 9% increased to full-time status, and 6% of employees who didn’t hold permanent roles gained permanent part-time employment.
     
  • Employees who did not retain their full-time status resulted from the union membership choosing to use seniority alone as the as the selection factor for qualified applicants in the restructuring process.
     
  • SPL employees have not been asked to, and are not required to sign non-disclosure agreements. 
     
  • The SPL Board and Library Administration have been and continue to remain open to hearing from residents about their concerns.
     
  • The general level of knowledge across the library system will increase as more employees will have training in more aspects of the library collections and services. Specialized work will be performed by specialists.
     
  • SPL’s new structure has been designed to remove the barriers to success our employees identified through consultation with them. We continue to make changes based on employee suggestions.
     
  • Our new structure has a nearly identical mix of full and part-time positions and has the same number of full-time equivalent positions.
     
  • Lack of adequate management support was identified as a barrier to success in the Service & Staffing review. SPL has a low number of managers relative to other comparable library systems in Canada.
     
  • In May 2017, SPL laid off 22 employees due to budget issues unrelated to the restructuring. With the number of vacancies we had at the time, we knew that while the positions were eliminated, the people wouldn’t as they could all be redeployed. All of the employees who were laid off were eligible for continued employment in other roles at SPL. 13 employees accepted new positions at SPL through bumping (some of whom have already moved into other positions in the library), four people retired, two people found other employment, and three people declined recall employment offers and their employment contracts were terminated.
     
  • SPL will be closed Monday, July 16, and will begin operating in the new structure on July 17.

For over 100 answers to questions about change, click here

For the media release and fact sheet announcing the final processes for moving employees into SPL's new structure, click here.

A Message to the Community from the Saskatoon Public Library Board

In 2016, we released Saskatoon Public Library’s (SPL) strategic plan with a vision to change lives through community connections, engagement, and inclusivity. The new direction for SPL builds on the rich legacy of community service the public library has provided over the years and strives to meet the needs of our community moving forward. 

The world around us has changed, and the needs of our community are changing. Saskatoon is growing and becoming more culturally diverse. Technology is transforming how we interact, view the world and access information. The role public libraries play in their communities is evolving from book repositories and are becoming vibrant people places. We cannot achieve our goals if we continue to operate within the status quo. To meet the needs of the community now and into the future, we must change the way SPL operates—both structurally and fundamentally.

It is a difficult and humbling experience to admit that our operations do not reflect our values of innovation, equitable access, diversity, and inclusion, but that is our current reality. SPL is working to address long-standing operational issues including equitable pay, technology deficiencies, facility issues, and significant inefficiencies. While SPL has met its mandate in the past, the organization has failed to keep pace with both societal changes and public library best practices.

Our strategic plan is an ambitious, but necessary, response to both internal and external realities. The Board has directed Library Administration to implement the strategic plan. Together we're working to provide the best and most relevant library services possible while delivering maximum value for the community’s investment in the public library.

One of the most significant changes required to achieve our vision is a change to our operating philosophy. We’re moving from traditional desk-based service—where the main focus is on providing patrons access to information, where decisions related to programs and services are made solely by library employees—to the Community-Led service philosophy, which focuses on patron and community needs through building relationships and partnerships.

SPL’s move to the Community-Led service philosophy is our acknowledgement we can do better to serve you, the Saskatoon community. To the patrons SPL has served well in the past, you can and should expect service levels to improve with these changes. To community members who feel the library has not served you well, or who have been made to feel unwelcome, we commit to improving. The Community-Led approach calls on libraries to identify and to remove barriers to service—namely for those who face marginalization, discrimination and barriers to full participation in society. In doing so, Community-Led service aims to make public libraries truly inclusive spaces.

We appreciate that these are significant changes and that change, even positive, can be difficult. We are grateful to SPL employees who, despite structural and operational barriers, have served their community and helped establish SPL as a valued public service. We are committed to ensuring their success through this transition.

As with any major organizational change, the benefits may not be immediately apparent. We are asking for the support and patience of our valued employees and community members during this time. We believe that these changes are required and will result in a stronger, more vibrant organization that is better positioned to serve the community’s ever-changing needs.

As we move forward in this process, we will share information with you and keep you updated on our progress. We will continue to add questions and update answers as information is available. 

To learn more about the Saskatoon Public Library Board, please visit: saskatoonlibrary.ca/splboard.

Questions? 

Service & Staffing Review

What is the staffing and service review project? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What are the trends in public libraries? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What was the project methodology for the service & staffing review? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What were the findings of the service and staffing review report? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What were the consultant’s recommendations? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What was the cost of the service model review? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)
 
Why is there so much change all at once? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Will SPL have to go through this again in a few years? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Is the restructuring already underway? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Library Service Philosophy

What is a library service model? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What is SPL’s existing service model? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)
 
What is a Community-Led service model? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How do the two library service models compare? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Does Community-Led mean that you consult the community about all aspects of the library? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Will there be public consultation about the change to the service model? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What is the benefit of making this change? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

When will SPL start operating under the new service model? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Will there be a reduction in service to the public? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Organizational Structure

Why does SPL need a new organizational structure? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What does “new and flexible roles” mean? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How and why was this structure decided? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What are the benefits of this structure? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How is the new structure different than the current one? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How are employee roles changing? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How are employees being supported through the transition? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How are employees being transitioned into new roles? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How will system-wide work be done without the traditional departments? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Are long-term employees being asked to re-train? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How have role qualifications changed? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What is the budget for employee re-training? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Who is providing this training program? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Is there other training provided? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Will employees have to reapply for jobs in the new structure? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Who will be eligible to apply for positions in the new structure? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Don’t you have to use seniority for hiring? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Will there be layoffs as a result of the new structure? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Will there be pay decreases for employees? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)
 
Will some employees receive pay increases? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How are wages established at SPL? (Updated: April 17, 2018)

Why are so many of the jobs at SPL only part-time? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Are more managers being hired? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Are employees required to sign non-disclosure (NDA) agreements? (Updated: May 7, 2018)

Customer Service Experience

Why are there fewer people at the service desks? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What does integrated service desk mean? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What does roving reference mean? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How will communication between service points and roving employees work? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Will there still be departments like local history, children’s, teens, fine arts, the gallery, etc.? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Is Local History a priority for SPL? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Will expertise and specialization be lost? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Are you de-skilling the workforce? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What differences will the public see/experience after the new model is operational? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Will self-check machines replace library workers? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What happened to the catalogue computers on the main floor at Frances Morrison Central Library? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Library Budget & Funding

Did SPL ask for a budget increase in 2018? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Is SPL reducing employee compensation in 2018? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How much money does SPL need from City Council to make these changes? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Did the CEO receive a bonus in 2017? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Can the library run a budget deficit? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How can the library continue to upgrades to facilties if it doesn’t have money to pay for employees? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)
 
What is the library budget annually? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How is SPL funded? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What is the status of the provincial consultations after the province restored the funding to public libraries? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Board & Governance

What is the Board’s vision for SPL? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Where can I read SPL's Strategic Plan? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What is the relationship between the Library Board and City Council? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What is the role of the Library Board? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How involved is the Board in making decisions about the library? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Who is on the Library Board? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How do I contact the Library Board? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Where can I read SPL's Report to Our Community? (Updated: May 1, 2018) 

Is the Board and Library Administration open to hearing from residents? (Updated: May 7, 2018)

Collections

How did applying the City of Saskatoon Facility Accessibility Design Standards impact the collection? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)
 
Is SPL only focusing on digital materials? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How many items are in SPL’s collection? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What happens to materials withdrawn from the collection?  (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How are decisions made about what to withdraw from the collection?  (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Will SPL no longer buy local materials? Will SPL employees still order materials or is this done out of province? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What is the role of Friends of the Library? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Technology & Service Enhancements

Public WiFi Speed Increase (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Public Computers and Equipment Added at Frances Morrison Central Library (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Google Chromebook pilot project at Round Prairie & J.S. Wood Branches (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Innovation Lab at Round Prairie Branch (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Is it true that there’s a video game room at Round Prairie? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Charging Lockers at Frances Morrison Central Library and Dr. Freda Ahenakew Branch (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Loanable STEAM Technology (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Facilities Changes

J.S. Wood Branch Refresh (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Furniture & Signage Refresh at Frances Morrison Central Library (FMCL) (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Frances Morrison Central Library (FMCL) Administration Refresh (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Union

Why have library workers been without a collective agreement since December 2016? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Is SPL currently negotiating a new collective agreement with CUPE 2669? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Layoffs – Spring 2017

Did SPL layoff employees after the provincial government restored funding? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How many people were laid off at SPL and how many people were re-hired? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Were the layoffs part of the service model and new organizational structure change? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What is "bumping"? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Were employees only offered lesser paying positions? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

New Central Library

When will there be public consultation about a new central library? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Where can I find more information about the project plans? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

How will a new central library be funded? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Why do we need a new central library? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Why is SPL pursuing a new central library when you laid off employees in 2017? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

SILS (Saskatchewan Integrated Library System)

Does SPL want to leave SILS (provincial materials holds and delivery service)? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Have there been changes to the way SPL handles SILS materials? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

What is SPL’s role in Saskatchewan Information Library Services Consortium (SILS)? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)


What is the staffing and service review project? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

In 2016 SPL undertook a service and staffing review. The purpose of the project was to assess whether:

  1. SPL can achieve a Community-Led service philosophy within the current organizational structure, and
  2. Ensure resources are allocated effectively to result in desired Community-Led service outcomes.

The review also was intended to identify barriers which would need to be removed for SPL to operate a using a Community-Led service orientation.  

What are the trends in public libraries? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Libraries have evolved from book repositories to community gathering places. Today, more than ever, the focus of libraries has shifted from what libraries have to what libraries do.

  1. Library as a Place - There is an emphasis on libraries as a community place. Modern libraries are described as the “third place” (where the first two are home and work) creating neutral and safe spaces for human interaction. Users are interested in a wide range of spaces that include both quiet study spaces, noisy public spaces, as well as technology-centric and comfortable lounge areas.
  2. Broad Literacy Goals - The literacy goals of libraries have broadened beyond reading to places that inspire discovery, creativity, innovation, and where digital, cultural and social literacies are nurtured. 
  3. Community Engagement - Modern libraries focus on increased community collaboration and engagement. Public libraries are shifting from reactive to proactive, patron-focused services. More than just anticipating collections or programs that may be of interest to patrons, support is given to employees to be in the community and interact/gather feedback from patrons in places that are convenient for them. This feedback from patrons will inform future program and service offerings. 

What was the project methodology for the service & staffing review? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

We worked with Dr. Cheryl Stenström, a leading expert in public libraries, and used the following methodology in the review: 

  1. Phone interviews with 47 public services employees selected from across the system with different roles.
  2. Online survey for all public service employees who did not participate in the interviews.
  3. Review of SPL statistics, staffing levels, organizational structure, job descriptions, programs and services in comparison to other Canadian libraries and public library trends.
  4. A gap analysis of current structure and service delivery against the Community-Led model.

What were the findings of the service and staffing review report? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

1. SPL cannot operate within a Community-Led service model within the current organizational structure.

  • The organization is rigid and complex with too many different roles
  • Employees cannot work outside their assigned branch or department
  • Service delivery only happens at a service desk
  • There is no centralized expertise and support for the branches
  • There are departmentalization and silos which prohibits providing good customer service
  • There is no consistency of organizational structure within the branches
  • The number of similar yet different roles and levels equates to a wide range of pay bands and creates constant movement and ongoing recruitment of internal staff
  • There is not enough management support
  • SPL’s organizational structure is making it hard to keep pace with changed and continually changing community needs

2. Resources are not allocated effectively to result in desired Community-Led service outcomes.

  • Roles are too large and encompass too many functions and responsibilities
  • Role responsibilities do not make community engagement a priority
  • Roles exist that no longer serve the needs of the community
  • Roles exist that no longer serve the operational needs of the organization
  • Non-librarians without the required skills and training are doing professional work
  • Decisions about programming, service delivery, and collections management are not evidence-informed
  • There is currently no mechanism to assess the effectiveness of services and programs
  • Lack of systems, resources, and processes to solicit community feedback and input
  • Needs and interests drive decisions about programs, services, and collections
  • SPL has not responded to changes experienced by public libraries and the greater community. For example: increase in overall usage, demands for the library as community space, expanded needs for offerings of technology, customer service expectations, and online service delivery expectations.

What were the consultant’s recommendations? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Based on Dr. Stenström’s findings and supported by the barriers to success that employees identified, SPL cannot adopt a Community-Led service model working within our current organizational structure. The recommendations align roles with the strategic plan, as well as simplify the structure to allow for flexible and nimble service delivery. Upon implementation, this means new portfolios are recommended to manage specific strategic directions and that the reporting structure is considerably flattened.

  • There needs to be time available for employees to focus on strengthening relationships with community partners and service groups.
  • The delivery of traditional services, such as collection development and desk service (circulation and information services) can be more efficient and effective.
  • Front-line employees should be trained to troubleshoot technology.
  • More robust technology support in all branches would be beneficial.
  • Service employees need the training to handle significantly increased in-branch patron interaction.
  • Librarians should focus on outreach, partnerships, external service delivery, and strategic programming.
  • A management support structure to include assessment, training, and project implementation portfolios.

What was the cost of the service model review? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

We budgeted $44,000.00 for the project, but the final costs came in at $27,400 -- or $16,600 under budget.

Why is there so much change all at once? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

SPL has not kept pace with responding to changes in community demographics, technology, and the changing role of public libraries over the last number of decades. The result is a rigid and inflexible organization. SPL is so far behind other urban library systems that we could not meet our goals through slow, incremental change. 2018 is intended to be a one-time transition year for SPL. Due to the scale of the change, we don’t expect to get the structure perfect on the first try. We will continue to assess and adapt as needed over the next few years. We are also learning from other libraries who have adopted the Community-Led service model and have reflected these learnings in our planning. For example, some library systems did not make significant changes to their organizational structure at the same time they changed the service model. They are now finding that they have to make these changes because their structure cannot support the service.

Will SPL have to go through this again in a few years? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

No. SPL's new model and structure has been designed to be flexible and able to adapt to changing community needs and societal drivers moving forward. Any further changes will be minor/incremental and ongoing.

Is the restructuring already underway?  (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Yes, but no actual changes to the organization have been made. At this point, we are transitioning employees into new positions, but they will not be operating in these new roles until the summer of 2018. Adopting a new service philosophy and organizational structure is a large-scale change, and timelines may continue to change as we move forward. We are committed to doing this right and rather than following a rigid adherence to a particular timeline. Once we have everyone operating in their new roles, we will we begin to develop SPL’s approach for implementing Community-Led in Saskatoon. The intention of managing the restructuring this way is to be able to work together with our employees on many aspects of the plan and implementation.

What is a library service model (service philosophy)? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

A library service model is a philosophy and approach to working with the community that is used to frame resource-allocation decisions. A library service model has a direct impact on decisions made about: 

  • The organizational structure of public services and support services.
  • Roles and the types of responsibilities associated with them. 
  • What services we offer to the public and how we offer them. 
  • How we curate the library’s collection. 
  • What programs are available, and the how the delivery of those programs happens.  
  • Required changes and upgrades at facilities.

What is SPL’s existing service model? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

SPL has operated using a traditional desk-based service model.

  • We engage with patrons and assist them from behind a service desk.
  • The priority of all roles is to check out materials and to prepare for reference questions.
  • Employee time and resources are allocated for other system work including programming, collections management, and outreach only after the desk shifts are scheduled.
  • The organizational structure schedules 2-3 people at each service desk during all open hours, with no assessment of the need or appropriateness of the staffing levels.
  • Work schedule decisions reflect an internal, rather than external or patron-based focus.
  • Decisions about the library’s collections, services and programming are made solely by employees.
  • Outreach is intended to promote the use of the library.
  • Assessment is mainly output-based and measured from the perspective of the library. For example number of available programs, how many people attend programs, visits, and circulation.

What is a Community-Led service model? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The Community-Led service model was developed in 2004 and is considered the best practice in library service models across North America. The Community-Led service model is one where the library engages the community to inform decision-making processes about the library’s collections, services, and programming, with a focus on removing barriers to access and building inclusivity. Libraries operating under traditional service models serve some segments of the population better than others, namely those who are confidently able to engage in society well. For others who struggle with literacy, poverty, discrimination and social isolation, there are barriers to accessing library services. Through community consultation, these barriers can be identified and then removed. We will take the Community-Led Took Kit and develop a tailored implementation plan for Saskatoon. As the community evolves so too will our programs and services. We will be seeking input from SPL employees on developing SPL’s service philosophy.

Related Information:

Service Model Overview
Community-Led Tool Kit

How do the two library service models compare? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

  TRADITIONAL COMMUNITY-LED
Vision Community Service Community Builder
Goal Inform / Educate
Decisions made about library operations are shared out to the community as information.
Partner / Collaborate
The community informs decisions about library operations.
Service Excellence Quantity
of programs and services delivered.
Quality
of the user experience.
Who is the needs expert Library is the Expert
Library employees direct what the public needs and provide access.
Community is the Expert
The role of the library staff is to facilitate, identify, and help community fill those needs.
Community Relationships

Consultation
The library asks for information and feedback from the community about existing library services and programs.

Engagement
The focus is active and meaningful community involvement that engages the community in decision making.
Measurement & Assessment Outputs
The focus is on how the library delivers.
Outcomes
The focus is on the impact on patrons and the community.
Spaces Library-Driven
Areas and spaces within the library are controlled by employees and are only accessible to the public during programs.
User-Driven
Spaces within the library are available for the public to self-direct learning and experiences.
Programming Design Employee Direct and Lead
Employees decide what to offer based on their knowledge and abilities. Employees decide what they think would be interesting and important to the public and assess based on numbers of attendance and observation of attendee interest.

Partnerships
Employees coordinate and collaborate with community partners. Employees design programs based on evidence and evaluation of community needs. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Community-Led mean that you consult the community about all aspects of the library? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Community-Led means the public will have an opportunity to shape some aspects of the programs and services we deliver in neighbourhoods throughout the city. For example, we would expect to consult the community on things like:

  • Programming: We may find that in one neighbourhood after-school programming is a top priority while seniors’ programming is a priority in another.
  • Collection: We may find that in one community we need more materials in different languages than we do at another branch.
  • Services: We may find that one branch needs services like access to a fax machine while other branches do not, or that one branch needs more open hours in the mornings than the evenings.

This information will be brought back to the Board and Library Administration and will inform their decisions. Some of the feedback received will be easily acted on whereas others that have significant budget impacts. For example, extending operating hours may or may not be possible.

Will there be public consultation about the change to the service model? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The Community-Led service model is one where the library consults the community about what programs and services, collections, etc. are desired by the community. The decision about how the library meets those needs is made by the Board and Library Administration. We would not consult on the day-to-day administration of the library including things like staffing, scheduling, pay, types of roles and role responsibilities.

What is the benefit of making this change? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

These changes benefit all of our stakeholders by:

  1. Increasing SPL's ability to strategically and deliberately make a community impact—beyond access to information.
  2. Reducing structural barriers to employee success—making it easier for people who serve the public to do their jobs.
  3. Unlocking the potential and productivity of SPL, resulting in a higher return on investment for the community.

When will SPL start operating under the new service model? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

We are aiming to begin operating in our new structure in summer 2018. We anticipate it will be 2019 before we begin to see any significant impact of operating within the Community-Led service model. These timelines are fluid, and we may be changing them as we progress.  

Will there be a reduction in service to the public? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The Community-Led model and the supporting organizational structure will enhance SPL’s ability to make community impact—beyond access to information. We are not changing our services right now. We are changing how we provide them. Even though our approach to decisions about collections, programs and services will be different in the future, our commitment to fundamentals like children’s programming, the physical collection, and Local History will remain. At this time we have not made any changes to our services as a result of the new service model. We won’t be making any changes to our services until we are operating in our new organizational structure and can consult the community about what changes they might like to see.

Why does SPL need a new organizational structure? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Our existing service model and structure is designed to provide desk-based service inside the library. As a result, current roles and schedules are rigid, and the structure is confusing. To operate within a Community-Led service model, we need a structure that supports community engagement and supports serving the community from not only at our service desks, but anywhere inside and outside the library. Our organization must have flexible roles that enable employees to identify and respond to community needs in efficient and meaningful ways, and they need to have proper support from the organization to do this.

What does “new and flexible roles” mean? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

In our existing structure employees are hired and trained to work at a single service desk only. In our new structure, employees will be trained to work at any service desk in a particular location. The flexibility of the roles will result in enhanced customer-service opportunities as patrons will not be asked to go to a different desk as they are now. We will also not have all of our employees working on the service desks. Some will be available to assist elsewhere in the library, and some will solely focus on functions such as collections and programming. A comprehensive training plan will support the cross-training required to ensure employees feel confident serving patrons. In-depth reference questions will continue to be performed by employees with specialized knowledge.

How and why was this structure decided? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The new structure was designed based on employee consultation, as well as trends and industry best practices. We’ve been working on this project since 2016 and employees have been informed and consulted along the way. In fact, employees identified the barriers that the new structure is designed to remove. Since we shared the new structure with employees in the spring, the CEO has hosted over 45 town hall meetings and talked to employees about the opportunities they see and the concerns they have. Based on their feedback, we’ve made many refinements to the structure and transition process.

What are the benefits of this structure? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Customer Service Orientation

  • Service delivery takes place at the point of patron need and service employees receive training in all departments.
  • Our public desk services are one point of interaction – not the only point of interaction.

Create Meaningful Employment

  • Librarians are doing professional work, which they haven’t been fully able to do in the past.
  • Non-librarian employees will receive library-specific training.

Employee Support

  • Provides appropriate levels of management support.
  • Comprehensive training and development provided.

Meeting Community Needs

  • Evidence-informed coordination across the system, meaning we will see more consistency across SPL with planning, evaluation/assessment, and training.
  • Structure facilitates and supports community engagement.
  • New job descriptions allow for present and future flexibility in service provision, giving our employees the ability to respond to unique community needs.

Improved Efficiencies

  • Cross-functional teamwork replaces standing committees with regular meetings.
  • Easier to identify group training needs across roles because the roles are consistent.
  • Enable our organization to respond to our environment, to trends, and to better utilize our resources.
  • Flexibility in job descriptions allows more employees to respond to community needs.
  • Reduction in outdated job descriptions aligns with our strategic plan.
  • Improved assessment allows us to continue to find efficiencies and deliver excellent customer service.

How is the new organizational structure different than the current one? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Currently, the organizational structure closely resembles the structure of our public facing departments (children, teen, fiction, etc.). In our new structure, the public-facing departments will be the same, but the work units will be different. The new work units are by service area such as (programming & creative spaces, community education & partnerships, and welcoming initiatives). These specialized areas will support the entire system, including the central access team at Frances Morrison.

Organizational structure (reporting lines) highlights:

  • The structure facilitates and supports community engagement.
  • The focus increasingly emphasizes bringing information into the library from the community.
  • A realigning of roles and responsibilities between librarians and library service associates.
  • Organized by functional work units.
  • There are dedicated roles for enhanced employee specialization in many areas.
  • System priorities are accomplished using collaborative vertical teams (made up of all different levels and roles).
  • The structure enables evidence-informed decision making.
  • Reporting structure creates enhanced coordination between the central library and branches.
  • Patron services delivery at integrated desks & anywhere in the library.
  CURRENT STRUCTURE

NEW STRUCTURE

Organizational structure

Departments
Collections areas (children’s, teens, adult, etc.) aligns with the departmental structure. Each department has a distinct service desk. 

Work Units
Collections areas (children’s, teens, adult, etc.) remain, but there is a workflow realignment to allow for a holistic view of patron needs. Service points respond to public needs for service.

How are library services received in the central branch? 

At a Series of Specialized Desks
Library employees sit behind the desk and wait for people to come to ask for service. Each desk is specialized, so patrons cannot have all of their needs met at one desk. They need to move between different desks for different needs.

Detailed and in-depth reference questions are handled by specialists in that area.   

At an Integrated Desk & Anywhere in the Library
The service desks are integrated; staff at the desks can cover all areas and all topics. Patrons can have all their needs met at one service point. Rather than staff only engaging with patrons at the desk, they are also “on the floor” providing service at the point of need.

Detailed and in-depth reference questions and handled by specialists in that area.

 

How are library services received outside the branch?

Outreach
The library is the authority, and the focus is on disseminating or providing access to information, programming or service. The aim is to advocate for library services and entice people to use the existing library services.

Meets Community Needs
The focus on bringing information into the library from the community for improved service delivery. Aim to listen to and engage with the community. Focus on relationship building and finding ways to meet public needs. 

How are system priorities accomplished?

Centralized & Rolled Out
Large committees comprised of either one level of staff or centralized departments make decisions for system changes to service and programming. 

Vertical Teams
Multiple levels of employees who work in different locations and capacities work together to address priorities. 

Customer- service orientation

Passive 
Employees are sitting behind desks waiting for patrons to come to them. Employees can only help patrons “in their area.” 

Active
In addition to the desks, employees roam the library and help people at their point of need. They can help patrons in any area, with any need.

Ability to meet community needs

Fixed & Rigid
There are institutional barriers, processes, and rules. The focus is ensuring the desk is fully staffed by each department, leaving little in the way of resources for meeting community needs.  

Responsive & Agile
The structure supports community engagement and meeting community needs as a priority, while also providing excellent public service in our branches.

How are employee roles changing? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The majority of roles at SPL will not be new (only 40% will be new). However, as an example, our librarian roles are currently built around providing coverage on the service desks. For example, in a current role as Young Adult / Adult Librarian, the employee is primarily scheduled to work the service desk. In their limited off-desk time they are responsible for supervision and scheduling, ordering materials for the collection, outreach, and designing and delivering programs. We heard from employees that this was not supporting success for them personally or for the organization. In response, we’ve created new librarian roles that are instead dedicated solely to areas such as programming, collections, and reference to support specialization.

How are employees being supported through the transition? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

We’ve been talking with employees about this transition since the fall of 2016. There has been and will continue to be employees consultation. The structure and roles are designed to remove barriers that our employees identified. We announced the transition plan to employees in the spring of 2017. Since then, more than 45 town hall meetings have been held between the CEO and employees. A comprehensive training and development program that supports employee success is in place. The focus is on customer service and technology-based skills development. We are doing what we can to minimize the impacts by ensuring that they are well supported with information and training as we move through the transition, and we will continue to adjust as we find areas that can be improved.

How are employees being transitioned into new roles? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

SPL operates under a collective agreement with CUPE 2669, and we are working within the agreement to move employees into new positions. The recruitment of existing employees into new roles began in November 2017. We anticipate the recruitment process to be complete by late spring 2018. We have adjusted the original timeline to allow for a three-to-five month training and familiarization period before we begin operating in the new structure. We are committed to employee success as we move through this process. 

How will system-wide work be done without the traditional departments? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

SPL will employ vertical teams as part of the system-wide planning of services, programs, and other projects. Other library systems working within a Community-Led model use vertical teams. The teams will be composed of employees from different roles including Directors, Senior Managers, Managers, Librarians, Service & Programming Associates, and support services (marketing & communications, collections services, information technology, human resources, facilities, and finance). Committees mandated in the Collective Agreement (Joint Job Evaluation, Occupational Health & Safety, Joint Technology Change) will remain.

The following are the standing vertical teams for the new structure:

  • Early Childhood Literacy: Core programs and services for young children
  • Adult Literacy: Technology for adults, adult basic educattion (ABE), including tours and outreach activities.
  • Teen Services and Programming: Teen advisory committee, tours and group programming, programs for teens.
  • Adult Services and Programming: Educational and entertainment programming for adults including tours, book club in a bag, book clubs, fine arts programming.
  • STEAM Services and Programming: Robotics, materials lending, in-house use, innovation labs, programming.
  • Newcomer Supports Partnerships, English as an additional language (EAL) programming, and services, tours for newcomers.
  • Services to People with Differing Abilities: Activities and programming for people whith differing abilities.
  • Education and School Connections: Partnerships with school boards and schools, curriculum programming. Work with homeschooling organizations and preschools.
  • Outreach and Events: Events and outreach opportunities in the community.
  • Borrower Services: Check in and out, displays.
  • Public Technology: Service enhancements with technology in public spaces.
  • Employee Engagement: Fostering an engaging, respectful and healthy workplace.

Are long-term employees being asked to re-train? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

We’re building a culture of continuous learning at SPL. Historically, SPL has not supported training and development need well. The new roles have different responsibilities and accountabilities associated with them. We do not expect our existing employees to have those skills. We are implementing training for employees to support their success in these new roles. After the transition is complete, we will continue to offer training and development opportunities for employees.

How have role qualifications changed? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The qualification for the new Library Service Associate roles is a Library Technology Diploma. For employees who do not possess a Library Technology Diploma, SPL is offering a Professional Development Certificate that upon completion and combined with relevant experience, will be accepted as an educational equivalent for the Library Technology Diploma. This approach ensures there is a base-level of knowledge and training provided to everyone in these roles. The certificate consists of two courses from the Library Technology Diploma program. Therefore there is no travel or classroom work required. There are no prerequisites or admission requirements required. SPL is paying for both the cost of the course and the time for the employee to complete the courses.

What is the budget for employee re-training? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

In 2018 SPL is anticipating spending approximately $180,000 on training and development for unionized employees.

Who is providing this training program? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The Library Service Associate training is delivered by SAIT Polytechnic using learning modules from their Library Information Technology Diploma. SAIT was selected because they offer their program through continuing/distance education program, meaning that it can be done online rather than in a classroom format.

Is there other training provided? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Yes, we are also developing in-house training programs that will include job shadowing, workshops, and one-on-one training to ensure employees are ready to start their new positions. We are also offering some additional training through Saskatchewan Polytechnic to provide training in archival, reference and circulation at the request of our employees. We are also providing Prepare Training®, Naloxone administration, Mental Health First Aid, Anti-Racism and Aboriginal Awareness.

Will employees have to reapply for their current jobs in the new structure? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

No. Only about 40% of SPL employees will be moving into new roles. Employees are not being required to reapply for their existing jobs. The new structure has some brand new roles, and these are the jobs that require an application process as per the collective agreement. Our goal is to transition people as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, our collective agreement outlines the process to follow when creating new roles in the system so this is what we have to follow without an agreement with the union. We’ve continued to reassure employees there is a place for everyone in the new structure, and while roles will change, there will be no loss of employment as a result of the transition.

Related Information:

Collective Agreement

Who will be eligible to apply for positions in the new structure? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

There will initially be no external recruitment during the transition to the new structure. External recruitment will only happen if there are no qualified candidates for a position.

Don’t you have to use seniority for hiring? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Yes. However, candidates must possess and demonstrate qualifications for the position. Positions will be offered based on the seniority of the successful applicants for the position. The collective agreement and past practice govern the recruitment process. Management could not legally appoint employees into new roles without an agreement from the union to do so. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that would have addressed this and negated the need for interviews was rejected by the union. 

Will there be layoffs as a result of the new structure? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

No. There is a place for everyone in the new structure, and while some roles will change, there will be no loss of employment as a result of the restructuring. As with any business, it has been and will continue to be within the normal course of business to evaluate the need for positions. This transition impacts public services employees only. Support service departments have been restructuring over the past two years to serve the organization better. To date, there have been no changes to roles as a result of the new service model or organizational structure, and there have been no associated layoffs.

Will there be pay decreases for employees? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

We have a Joint Job Evaluation Committee (JJE) to establish pay grades for new positions. JJE is a joint management and union committee. All new positions are evaluated, by the committee, and a pay band is assigned. At the end of one year, each new position is automatically re-evaluated by the committee. The result of this process is that in some cases, wages will go up, and in others, they will be going down. In the end, we will have appropriate and fair compensation across the organization.

Related Information:

Collective Agreement

Will some employees receive pay increases? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Yes. In the new structure, all employees who perform the same work will be assigned to the same pay band. For many years there has been an inequity of pay between employees who are doing similar work.

How are wages established at SPL? (Updated: April 17, 2018)

Pay for unionized employees at SPL is determined by two mechanisms. The union and the employer negotiate salaries in fifteen pay bands through the collective bargaining process. A six-member committee that includes three union and three management representatives determines the pay band placement of individual unionized positions. The committee uses an objective evaluation of the role, accountabilities, scope, and competencies required to place each position in a pay band. The methodology has been in use by SPL since the early 2000’s. Neither the union nor management can make unilateral decisions about unionized salaries or pay bands.

Why are so many of the jobs at SPL only part-time? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

We aim to offer as many full-time positions as we can. SPL is bound to schedule employees by hours of work in our collective agreement. It states that all full-time and part-time employees shall work not more than one (1) Sunday in four (4) and no more than one (1) Saturday in four (4). To schedule for all of our open hours, we require part-time positions to adhere to the hours of work article in the collective agreement.

Are more managers being hired? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

One of the barriers employees identified in employee consultations was inadequate management support. In 2012 there were 14 managers. In 2018 there will be 20 managers (a new branch was also added in 2017). Many of the new managers are former unionized employees who have been promoted. The number of managers includes the executive team and the CEO. The number of managers at SPL is low compared to similar library systems across Canada.

Are employees required to sign non-disclosure (NDA) agreements? (Updated: May 7, 2018)

SPL employees have not been asked to, and are not required to sign non-disclosure agreements. 

Why are there fewer people at the service desks? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Our current job descriptions do not make it possible to deploy staff from one desk to another even within the same building, and this is a temporary problem which is resolved by the new structure. New job descriptions provide more flexibility and will allow us to increase the number of staff on the floor because they will be able to work on more than one service desk. We have also added roving service at Frances Morrison Central Library. We are moving to an integrated desk model with roving reference. The integrated desk will create enhanced service opportunities to meet patrons at their point of need in public and collection areas. These newly integrated schedules are not yet active, but once we make the shift to operate in our new structure, we anticipate there being more service employees available to serve you.

What does integrated service desk mean? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

An integrated desk means that most patron questions will be able to be answered by any SPL employee. In contrast, patrons currently have to seek out specific desks or be redirected to one by an employee. At Frances Morrison Central Library, there are eight service desks. Some of these desks operate on shorter hours than the library, meaning if you need assistance from that desk you may be asked to come back at an alternate time. We aim for a higher level of service.

In-depth research questions may still require the assistance of a specialized librarian.

What does roving reference mean? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Roving reference is a practice that has been used in public libraries since the 1980’s. Roving reference means employees are moving around the library and able to answer questions and provide support anywhere within the library. What kind of things might rovers do?

  • Provide customer service. For example, answering questions, providing reference services, wayfinding, being available for patron needs in all areas of the library.
  • Help a patron access material from another area of the building.
  • Assist patrons who have questions about technology and computers.

How will communication between service points and roving employees work? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

To ensure effective communication between our employees working at dedicated service points and employees who are roving the building, we are acquiring radio headsets. Other public libraries already use such systems. This system would enable everyone—working at either a service point or roving—to communicate with each other easily and efficiently. Radio headsets will be utilized only in locations where it necessary or appropriate to do so.

Will there still be departments like local history, children’s, teens, fine arts, the gallery, etc.? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Yes. The departments at Frances Morrison Central Library will remain from the patron’s standpoint as they are today. Fine Arts, Local History, Teens, Fiction, Non-Fiction, the Gallery, Children’s, etc. will all continue to exist as they are. The services offered, including those for people with differing abilities and book club in a bag, are also not changing. What we are changing is how work units are aligned to support those departments.

Is Local History a priority for SPL? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Yes. Local History has been, and remains, a priority for SPL. The local history collection at SPL is an important resource for local historians, genealogists, authors and history buffs looking to uncover family stories and dig into the rich history of Saskatoon. The strategic goals for the local history space and collections for the next five years include increased digitization of aging and degraded photo and print collections; a continued focus on preservation and encapsulation; and increased focus on collection development and public access. We are putting a priority on digitizing the collection due to the physical deterioration of items. We will continue to work on the backlog of physical items that require accession. Expanding the digital collection will result in significantly increased access to these resources for everyone, everywhere—whether they’re at home, school or work. It will also enable the creation of community programs tied to the local history collection, and allow our branch libraries to more actively engage with these resources. There is a dedicated librarian position who will oversee local history. 

Will expertise and specialization be lost? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

No. The overall level of expertise in the system will increase. We’re applying the single point of contact philosophy current offered at the neighbourhood branches and applying that to our downtown location. At the same time, we’re taking the specialization that exists at our downtown location and bringing that to our neighbourhood branches. Once all the cross-training has occurred, this approach will result in raising the expertise across the entire system.

In-depth and specialized work will continue to be performed by professional librarians, and we have removed many barriers in the new structure that will enable our librarians to utilize their expertise. In the new structure, Library Service Associates trained in library customer service, technology and answering reference questions will support the librarians. At Frances Morrison Central Library, all of the Library Service Associates will be cross-trained to provide service and support anywhere in the library (i.e., not limited to a single service point as in our current structure).

Are you de-skilling the workforce? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Absolutely not, and the sentiment is a disservice to our employees who hold the new qualification of a Library Information Technology diploma. Most of the roles at SPL and the qualifications for these roles are not changing. For example, all librarians hold and will continue to hold a Master’s of Information and Library Science degree.

The qualifications have changed for our Library Service Associate roles. They are different but most certainly are not de-skilled. The educational qualification for this role is a Library Information Technology Diploma. These employees have two years of library training before they arrive at SPL. Future employees will come prepared to meet the needs of the organization with specialized library training, and some of our employees already hold this credential.

Our current requirements for non-librarian positions require a university degree in any subject, but no specialized library, technology or customer service training.

What differences will the public see/experience after the new model is operational? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

We anticipate providing enhanced customer service both inside and outside the library so that every employee you interact with can meet your needs, rather than having to move between multiple service points. In both the old and new structures, dedicated specialists in each area address in-depth and specialized patron needs.

These changes will be most noticeable at the downtown Frances Morrison Central Library. We will be adopting the single-point-of-contact philosophy we currently offer at the neighbourhood branches and applying that to our central branch. For example, a patron who comes to a service desk whose needs are to obtain a library card, place a hold on a book, and then use a computer would need to go three different service points in our current model. In the new model, the first employee the patron interacts with will likely be able to meet all of their needs. A patron who comes in with in-depth research needs in local history will still be directed to the local history specialist, just like they would today.

We will also be taking the specializations that exist at our central branch and bringing them to our neighbourhood branches. For example, in the area of programming, we will have a dedicated programming team who will deliver programs that previously delivered by a specialist at the downtown location, that same specialist will now be delivering those programs at the neighbourhood branches as well.

This change will result in increased employee expertise and a consistent patron experience across the system.

Will self-check machines replace library workers? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

No. SPL has used self-checks since the late 90’s. As the world has changed, more and more patrons desire the ability to self-serve, but we will continue to have people available to check-out books for those patrons who prefer that option.

What happened to the catalogue computers on the main floor at Frances Morrison Central Library? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

We moved them (and added more) to the public computers area on the west-side of the main floor. There are also two new catalogue computers added on the east-side of the main floor as well. These computers were positioned in the main traffic area in front of the non-fiction shelving. Not only did they block the pathways creating accessibility issues, but because they were in a high traffic area, they offered little privacy for the patrons using them.

Did SPL ask for a budget increase in 2018? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

No, SPL didn’t ask for an increase in the levy in 2018, meaning that there was no budget increase granted and thus no tax increase.

Is SPL reducing employee compensation in 2018? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

News media reported that SPL is reducing employee compensation (wages) by $700,000 in 2018. The number is accurate, but the full context was not made clear. SPL has 148.8 permanent full-time equivalent positions in the budget, but the total number of people who work at SPL in part-time and casual positions is closer to 300. The actual budget reduction is $680,100. 

There is not a $700,000 reduction in hours, salaries and benefits of the 148.8 permanent employees. We will achieve this reduction through scheduling efficiencies of non-permanent employees. SPL is making some incremental operating efficiencies concerning how we staff our service points in 2018. When you combine the incremental impact of these efficiencies across 14 service points, 334 days of operation and approximately 570 open hours per week, it adds up to a significant saving. Examples of incremental changes include a reduction of overtime, and not calling in additional employee to cover service points when someone calls in sick, has a meeting, or is on vacation if it is not operationally required. Past practice has been to call in casual employees or pay overtime to permanent employees to cover all of these absences, even when doing so is not operationally required. 

How much money does SPL need from City Council to make these changes? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

SPL doesn’t need any additional funding to be able to make this transition, and we didn’t request an increase to the levy (tax) in 2018.

Did the CEO receive a bonus in 2017? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Ms. Cooley’s salary is the same for the period ending May 31, 2017, as it was for the period ending May 31, 2016. The Board included in the CEO contract a bonus structure, in which we can award a bonus of up to 8% of annual salary. The contract period is from June 1 – May 31 annually. For the contract period ending May 31, 2017, Ms. Cooley received a bonus of $1,300 (before tax).  In the period ending May 31, 2017, the Board determined the cash bonus did not reflect the merit of the work done over the prior year, and that providing funding for professional development would reflect the merits without additional monetary compensation. The executive training program referenced pertains to the professional development opportunity for the CEO. It is an executive leadership program at Queen’s University. The cost of the program is $9,900. There are no other SPL employees who are eligible for bonuses. Unionized employees at Saskatoon Public Library do receive professional development opportunities, and there is a significant investment in training and development for those employees in 2018.

Can the library run a budget deficit? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

No. The public library cannot run a deficit.

How can the library continue to upgrade facilities if it doesn’t have money to pay for employees? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The library operating budget (where salaries are paid from) can only cover operating expenses. Funds saved and allocated to capital budgets are set out in bylaws and cannot be re-directed to operating expenses for things like salaries, collections, etc.

What is the library budget annually? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The 2018 budget is: $24,069,400.

How is SPL funded? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

SPL receives approximately 97% of its funding from municipal taxpayers. The balance of 3% comes from the province. The funding for urban libraries (Regina and Saskatoon) is different than the regional library systems which rely more heavily on provincial funding. SPL has other small revenue sources including donations, fines, and the sale of items. However, none of these activities results in significant revenue generation. Revenue generation will be a focus of the library in coming years, but it will not come in the form of paid memberships to SPL.  

What is the status of the provincial consultations after the province restored the funding to public libraries? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The provincial government announced a consultative review of libraries when they restored funding to libraries. At that time they indicated they would be reviewing the public library act. At this time that review has not begun. We do not have any details about this process.

What is the Board’s vision for SPL? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Saskatoon Public Library's Strategic Plan (2016-2021) sets forth an exciting and ambitious vision of growth, modernization and cultural progress for our organization. With Saskatoon witnessing rapid growth and technology changing, this plan will help guide the critical and necessary evolution of SPL over the next five years. Our vision is to change lives through community connections, engagement, and inclusivity.

Where can I read SPL's Strategic Plan? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Read SPL's 2016 - 2021 Strategic Plan here. Or pick up a copy at any SPL location. 

What is the relationship between the Library Board and City Council? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

A volunteer board governs Saskatoon Public Library. They are mandated by the Public Libraries Act, 1996. City Council appoints board members as per the Public Libraries Act. City residents interested in applying to sit on the Board can find more information by visiting the City of Saskatoon website.

What is the role of the Library Board? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The Saskatoon Public Library Board is a governance board. They provide direction to Library Administration. The CEO is responsible for the operations. Library Administration and the Board work closely together.

How involved is the Board in making decisions about the library? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The Board sets the strategic direction. They approve all major decisions.  

Who is on the Library Board? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The 2018 Board members are here

How do I contact the Library Board? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Address letters to:

Saskatoon Public Library Board
Frances Morrison Central Library
311 23 St E, Saskatoon, SK   S7K 0J6

City residents interested in making a presentation at a board meeting can fill out a Request to Make a Deputation.

Where can I read SPL's Report to Our Community? (Updated: May 1, 2018) 

Click here to read our most recent Reports to Our Community. 

Is the Board and Library Administration open to hearing from residents? (Updated: May 7, 2018)

The SPL Board and Library Administration have been and continue to remain open to hearing from residents about their concerns. For information on how to contct the Board, click here

How did applying the City of Saskatoon Facility Accessibility Design Standards impact the collection? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

You can read more about this here

Is SPL only focusing on digital materials? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

No. For our collection to remain relevant and meet patron demand, we are allocating more funds to digital resources/collections than we have in past years. However, maintaining a vibrant and contemporary physical collection remains a priority. 

How many items are in SPL’s collection? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

There are approximately 580,000 items in SPL’s physical collection. In addition to all provincial items available. SPL adds approximately 90,000 new physical items annually.

What happens to materials that withdrawn from the collection? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

SPL regularly withdraws materials that are no longer circulating. The Friends of the Library accept withdrawn materials and re-sell them. They donate the funds back to SPL. Some items are given away to the community at outreach events. Materials which are in disarray are recycled or discarded. 

How are decisions made about what to withdraw from the collection? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Library employees make decisions about what items to withdraw from the collection. They factor into their decision many things including: is the items still circulating? Is the item in poor condition? How many are similar items in the collection there are? How many duplicates of this item are there in the holdings? (In this case the number of copies may be reduced, but the title remains). Is the material still relevant (non-fiction materials)?  SPL does not have any criteria to that dictates a specific number of items to remove from the annually. We use criteria similar to other libraries across Canada.

Will SPL no longer buy local materials? Will SPL employees still order materials or is this done out of province? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

In our existing structure, many of the roles have selection of materials as a small part of their responsibilities, but there are not any roles dedicated to selection. In our new structure, we have a local team of dedicated selection librarians. The acquisition of local materials will remain important criteria in our collections development strategy. 

What is the role of Friends of the Library? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Friends of the Library is a non-profit volunteer organization who fundraise for the library through the sale of withdrawn materials. They have a shop located at Frances Morrison and pop-up sale displays at all SPL locations. The Friends then donate the funds back to the library to be used for special projects and purchases. 

You can learn more about the Friends here.

Public WiFi Speed Increase (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

In 2017 the WiFi speed at all SPL locations was upgraded to 100 Mbps. 

Public Computers and Equipment Added at Frances Morrison Central Library (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

13 new public access computers added to meet the demand of our patrons, bringing the total to 42. Public printers have been upgraded to offer advanced printing services such as scanning to PDF. We have added additional power outlets and a laptop bar to enable patrons to charge their own devices.

Google Chromebook pilot project at Round Prairie & J.S. Wood Branches (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

10 Google Chromebooks are available for use anywhere in the library at both Round Prairie and J.S. Wood Branches. Sign one out for two hours and find a comfy spot in the library to work.

Innovation Lab at Round Prairie Branch (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

SPL’s first innovation lab is at Round Prairie Branch. All of the technology is available for self-directed learning and exploration.

  • MacBook Pros: with GarageBand, Audacity, and video editing software (iMovie, Quicktime) and Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • iPads: family-friendly games designed to encourage early literacy and creative discovery skills are available on the tablets.
  • Robotics: kids can build their STEM skills with our kits, including Makey Makey, LittleBits, and Snap Circuits.
  • LEGO: a classic we all love, use our building sets, without having to worry about losing pieces!
  • Button Maker: the button maker meets your more low-tech, DIY needs.
  • Cricut cutting machine: a personal electronic cutting machine for making precision paper, fabric or vinyl cuts.
  • Canon PowerShot SX60: HD digital camera & tripod
  • Yamaha MG10XU: mixing console with microphone & mic stand
  • Green screen

Is it true that there’s a video game room at Round Prairie Branch?  (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Yes! We’ve got two screens where you can play Wii U, PlayStation 4 Pro, and Xbox One S.

Charging Lockers at Frances Morrison Central Library and Dr. Freda Ahenakew Branch (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Mobile charging lockers are available at two branches. Patrons can lock their mobile device in the locker while it is charging so they can use the library.

Loanable STEAM Technology (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

In 2017 SPL won USD 10,000 for our public relations campaign. We’ve invested these funds into loanable technology for the collection. Once added, you will be able to borrow technology learning toys and take them home with your library card. We expect to launch this service within the next few months.

J.S. Wood Branch Refresh (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Carlyle King Branch saw a refresh in 2015, and J.S. Wood Branch main floor received a fresh new makeover in 2017.  

Furniture & Signage Refresh at Frances Morrison Central Library (FMCL) (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

We’re making a few changes at FMCL to clean it up and make some of the space more accessible and usable. New wayfinding signage is being rolled out. We’re replacing old and broken furniture, and we’re making sure that patrons can manoeuvre space in wheelchairs and scooters.

Frances Morrison Central Library (FMCL) Administration Refresh (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

In 2017 two employee workspaces were refreshed at FMCL. The result is more efficient layouts to have more employees occupy the same previous square footage. The cost of building refreshes come out of capital budgets. Funds allocated to capital budgets cannot by law be re-directed to operating expenses for things like salaries, collections, etc. The cost of the two space re-design projects was just under $200,000. The City of Saskatoon Design Services project managed the renovation for SPL. 

Why have library workers been without a collective agreement since December 2016? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The collective agreement expired December 31, 2016. SPL advised the union leadership that we would be introducing a new service model and structure, and jointly agreed that neither side could reach a new agreement effectively until we shared the new structure and service model.  

Is SPL currently negotiating a new collective agreement with CUPE 2669? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Yes, formal negotiations have begun. Details about the negotiations are confidential.

Did SPL layoff employees after the provincial government restored funding? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

When the province eliminated the SPL’s funding, an operating efficiency was identified and subsequently implemented. By implementing the operating efficiency, SPL was able to absorb the 2018 cost increases within our existing operating budget, without requesting a mill rate increase for 2018. All of the employees who laid off were eligible to "bump" back into the system. Fortunately, we were able to offer new positions to all of the employees who were laid off. Any of the employees who left the organization as a result of the layoff did so voluntarily.

Were the layoffs part of the service model and new organizational structure change? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

No, the restructuring is part of our 2016-2021 Strategic Plan. The Library Board and administration began the planning for this service model and structural change in early 2016.

How many people were laid off at SPL, and how many were re-hired? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

In May 2017, 22 employees were laid off. All of the employees who were laid off were eligible to bump and were offered continued employment in other roles at SPL. Anyone who left the organization as a result of the layoffs did so voluntarily. 13 employees accepted new positions at SPL through bumping (some of whom have already moved into other positions in the library), four people retired, two people found other employment, and three people declined recall employment offers and their employment contracts were terminated.

What is bumping? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

As per the collective agreement, bumping allows a laid-off employee to take another position for which they are qualified based on their seniority.

Were employees only offered lesser paying positions? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

The process and the criteria used for bumping was developed together with, supported by and signed in a joint Memorandum of Agreement between SPL and CUPE 2669. The union was actively involved in placing employees in new positions that matched their qualifications.

When will there be public consultation about a new central library? (Updated: May 1, 2018)

There was a public consultation about the new central library project from Mar 1 – April 15. There were pop-up events around the city, as well as an online survey and an open house. Thank you to everyone who participated. We are currently working on the report and will share it with the community this fall.

Where can I find more information about the project plans? (Updated: Mar 1, 2018)

The project website is saskatooncentrallibrary.ca . Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @stoonlibrary for updates and announcements.   

How will a new central library be funded? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

A new central library project will require the approval of City Council. The project will be paid for by drawing from the library’s new central library reserve fund, through the library levy, and through fundraising, making it different from other civic projects that are funded (at least in part) by the City itself.

Why do we need a new central library? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Saskatoon’s central library opened in 1966 and was built to serve a population of 110,000 people. Since the central library opened membership has quadrupled, and the city’s population has more than doubled. The Frances Morrison Central Library is currently noncompliant with all significant building codes including fire, mechanical, electrical, and accessibility, with the deficiencies, identified dating back over seventeen years.

Why is SPL pursuing a new central library when you laid off employees? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

We need to balance our short-term realities with our long-term goals. At this time we are only working on developing a business case. We need the business case so we can understand and plan for what would be required, but right now there is no decision to be made, or request for resources. The work for the new central library is a capital project which does not draw on operating dollars.

Does SPL want to leave SILS (provincial materials holds and delivery service)? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

No. SPL views sharing materials around the province as valuable and important service in Saskatchewan and wants to see the service continue into the future.

A commitment has been made between libraries and the Province to explore more efficient ways of sharing materials. We look forward to working with all parties to ensure Saskatchewan continues to have quality library services, now and into the future.

Have there been changes to the way SPL handles SILS materials? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

Yes, all SILS agencies made a change. Across the province, a small delay was in fulfillment was added to the materials holds service which allows the material to be able to be filled by the home library rather than borrowing from another system. This change is resulting in considerable cost savings and efficiencies for member libraries. 

What is SPL’s role in Saskatchewan Information Library Services Consortium (SILS)? (Updated: Mar 14, 2018)

As the largest library system in the province, SPL and by default, Saskatoon’s municipal taxpayers are the largest funders of the service. SPL’s Director of Libraries and CEO is a board member of SILS.

SILS serves Saskatoon patrons with a shared provincial catalogue enabled borrowing from any of the province’s public libraries.

Related Information:

Saskatchewan Information Library Services Consortium