Scheduling: it’s one of the most annoying (and perhaps one of the most important) responsibilities children’s services managers have. From making sure storytimes and book groups are organized to providing adequate coverage for desk time to finding time to do outreach visits into the local community, managers must plan carefully, work around scheduled staff vacations, and deal with unplanned absences.
One free and easy way to track programs, staff schedules, and vacation requests is by using Google Drive applications. Users need only register for a free Gmail account to get started.
One Calendar to Rule Them All
Google Calendar allows you to create multiple mini-calendars, differentiated by color, in one interface. At the Darien Library, for example, head of children’s services Claire Moore uses Google Calendar to track staff schedules, vacation requests, and staff meetings in purple; registered storytimes and after-school programs in red; drop-in programs in light green; school and other outreach visits in gold; and tentative programs and events in bright green.
As staffing needs change or meetings get shifted, managers can easily update and share the information with their staff members or supervisor. Another benefit of using cloud applications is that they allow the information to be accessed almost anywhere at any time- providing you have an internet connection. For managers who like to have a paper calendar on hand as well, the Google calendars can also be printed.
Managers may also choose to share the calendar with fellow staff as an editable document (meaning that staff can make changes to it) or as a read-only. For part-time staff members who may not be at your library on a daily or weekly basis, and therefore unable to check a physical calendar, having the schedule available online can be a great convenience.
Day by Day
While the above Google calendar allows for daily scheduling, managers may wish to create a customized schedule using the Drive spreadsheets application. Like the calendar, documents created using Google Drive are cloud-based and can be shared with staff, updated in real time, and printed. For libraries where many programs, meetings, and events happen each day, creating a customized spreadsheet can be a simpler way of seeing lots of information at a glance.
Using Claire Moore’s schedule as an example, you can see that a Google spreadsheet functions much like an Excel spreadsheet. Each day of the week has its own tab. The day is arranged by open library hours (9am to 8pm) and includes places to record which librarian is on desk, which staff members are running programs, and who may be in a meeting or training session. The staff is denoted by initials and color-coded for easy reference.
Other cloud-based applications like Evernote may also be used similarly. How do you schedule your desk time and programs? Have you found a software or method that works particularly well? Please share it in the comments section below.
Our guest blogger today represents the Managing Children’s Services Committee.
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