Buncombe County’s 12 library branches serve thousands of our friends, neighbors, children, and visitors each year. It’s no easy task to maintain service with 89 regular staff and 50 additional temporary staff. To improve service delivery and also provide opportunity for temporary employees to have permanent employment, Buncombe County is embarking on a three-year transition to ensure minimum staffing for all branches with permanent positions. Over the last several years, we launched a systemic process to correctly classify temporary workers. To date, more than 40 temporary positions in various departments were converted to full-time positions.
“This long-term plan will help ensure the quality and consistency of our service delivery,” said Assistant County Manager DK Wesley. “Even though we know the outcome will help our patrons, these changes have a personal impact to our staff, many of whom who have served in ‘temporary’ roles for years, even decades. The selection process is thoughtful and intentional and aims to support the transition of impacted page or substitute staff into a permanent position in our organization.”
Because both library page and library substitute classifications are temporary, those positions were excluded from last year’s compensation study. Additionally, temporary positions are not included in the County’s minimum wage of $17 per hour.
During the first phase through June 30, 2023, seven full-time library assistant positions will be created. These positions will first be made available for application to staff who are currently in page positions with Buncombe County. Subsequently, regular part-time library assistants will be allowed to apply. When part-time library assistants move into full-time rolls, those part-time positions will once again be available to our pages. If vacant positions remain, the application will be open to current library staff only, including substitutes.
The remaining phases will be implemented in FY24 and FY25 along with consideration and approval of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. By the end of FY25, the intent is that the Library system will be up to minimum staffing and reduce the County’s reliance on temporary staff.