Auckland Council’s Fit for the Future library restructuring appears to have left our local libraries, Orewa and Whangaparaoa, largely untouched when it comes to staff numbers, despite causing a lot of uncertainty over many months for employees.
A large percentage of library staff had to reapply for their jobs as part of the restructuring process, which aims to improve digital, online and phone services.
In total there was a reduction across both local libraries of 2.3 full time equivalent roles. However, staffing there is currently lower than required and an internal recruitment process is underway to address that.
Council’s head of community libraries North and West, Darryl Soljan, says this situation came about because of a recruitment freeze that began in the middle of last year. “The freeze was to ensure there would be as many roles for staff as possible by way of natural attrition,” he says.
Mr Soljan says over the next few months, staffing will grow and libraries will return to fully staffed levels and that the changes, which include an expanded mobile service, “will result in a broader service for the wider Hibiscus Coast community, not just current library users”.
At last month’s Hibiscus & Bays Local Board meeting, chair Julia Parfitt said that the restructure had caused a lot of angst for library staff, all to save a predicted $1.8 million per year.
She says that Council staff will come to speak to the local board about the Fit for Future programme in the coming weeks.