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Updated: May 30, 2007

link iconPersonnel (L4L)


The most challenging part of managing any organization or business often proves to be managing the people. There's the paper work, driven by laws and requirements that are sometimes baffling and complex; the business of hiring, evaluating, training, promoting, and occasionally dismissing employees; the need for policies and handbooks, job descriptions, benefits ranging from maternity leave to retirement; and the interaction among people that often makes or breaks the overall success of the services you provide, and certainly affects the day-to-day feelings everyone has about work.

Below are some resources designed to provide the library director with knowledge, information, and suggestions that will facilitate and improve personnel management. Remember that when you're reading material written for the business community, you'll need to assess what's relevant for you in the public sector.

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Federal Resources

Social Security Online
The official web site of the Social Security Administration. It's packed with useful information that's well-organized. It's possible for any employee to request a social security statement that will estimate future benefits and summarize the individual's history of earnings.

The United States Office of Personnel Management
This site is directed primarily at federal agencies and their employees, but the site is worth browsing for insights that you can adapt and borrow. One excellent example is the Performance Management section which provides a concise overview of the elements in evaluating employees and then offers a wealth of resources on each element.

Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination: Questions and Answers
Provides valuable information on what the relevant laws are, what kinds of discrimination are prohibited, and how charges are filed and resolved. One of the topics discussed is the American Disabilities Act (ADA).

Occupational Safety and Health Administration
This site offers information on OSHA's regulations and information for improving work place safety. Of particular interest are their findings on ergonomics and ways to prevent repetitive motion problems. Note that you can find the address and phone number for Wisconsin's OSHA offices.

The U.S. Government's official web portal connects Americans to millions of pages of information from and about the government. It's a good idea to begin with About Us and then browse the main sections or "gateways," i.e., for citizens, for businesses and non-profits, for federal employees, and government-to-government. (Formerly known as First.gov.)

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Wisconsin Resources

The Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds
This site provides detailed information about the Wisconsin Retirement System, as well as health, income continuation, and life insurance programs and deferred compensations. The section on retirement planning includes information on estimating retirement benefits. In addition, the employers' section includes the administration manual, bulletins, forms, and a contact list. Don't overlook the FAQ section, which is divided into sections on Deferred Compensation, Group Health Insurance, Group Life Insurance, the Wisconsin Retirement System, and more.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
(Formerly the Department of Industry, Labor, and Human Relations.) Provides information on equal rights, new hire reporting, unemployment insurance, worker's comp, and other matters of concern to employers and employees in the state. One can access the WT-4 form Adobe Acrobat formatfor withholding and new hire reporting from this site, as well as other forms. Another important feature of the site is information about fair wage and hour/labor standards addressing such topics as breaks and meals, hours of work and overtime, work permits, and posters every organization is required to display for employees.

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Sample Policies

Sample Library Policies for the Small Public Library
These sample policies include a fine personnel policy that can serve, too, as an overview of the topics to be included in any personnel policy. This is a basic, extremely useful document for any small public library.

The Fulton County (Indiana) Public Library Adobe Acrobat format
This site includes an in-depth personnel policy on the web that is thoughtful and comprehensive, valuable. While this is the policy of a larger library, much that is in it would be worth looking at by any size library. Notice the inclusion of individual job descriptions (Appendix B).

OWLS Employee Handbook Adobe Acrobat format
A good example of a personnel handbook from a library system. Sections include: Welcome; Employment at Will Statement; Getting Started; Working at OWLS; Pay and Progress; Time Away From Work; Insurance; Other Benefits; Leaving OWLS; Documents and Resources.

Iola (Kansas) Public Library Personnel Policy
Another example of a personnel handbook from Southeast Kansas Library System and Iola Public Library.

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Sites about Human Resources Management

Human Resources
About.com's human resources page is a good place to begin browsing the site's many different pages of interest, e.g., policies/handbooks, compensation, benefits, performance management, morale/motivation, selecting and retaining employees. The pages include practical tips, clear information, and opinions that can help the reader see the familiar from a different perspective.

Human Resources Management
Lots of collected articles about human resources management from the Free Management Library. Sections include: Basic Overviews; Getting the Best Employees; Paying and Providing Benefits; Training Employees; Ensuring Safe Work Environments; and more.

Personnel (Human Resources)
Brief discussions of important personnel issue, sample policies, and suggested resources from Washington State's Municipal Research and Services Center. Some items in this are available only in paper form and are specific to Washington, but the site is worth browsing for the links, the public sector perspective, and the general interest materials it contains.

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Of Related Interest

Developing an Employee Compensation Program
This article was written by Rick Krumwiede and Greta Thompson of the Outagamie Waupaca Library System. It outlines a number of steps to follow in order to develop an effective employee compensation program.

Guide to Writing Job Descriptions
From UCLA, a detailed guide to a basic task. The home page is difficult to read, but the rest of the pages are much easier on the eyes and contain a lot of helpful information.

Writing Sentences for Job Descriptions
Ten brief and useful tips on style. Very practical!

Orientation for New Employees
The Ohio Library Council has provided a very useful site for introducing new people on your staff to what libraries are all about. There are "activities for learning" on such topics as public services, the catalog, call numbers, and confidentiality. First you read, then you walk around the library looking for certain things and/or take an online tour of a library, and afterward there's a quiz to take. There's a page for the supervisor of the new person to read, as well. Even the fact that the site has been developed for Ohio libraries can be turned to advantage if you spend time talking together about the similarities and differences.

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