Wednesday, November 19, 2008

HCL Management on Harvard and the Economic Crisis

[November 17, 2008]

To: HCL Staff

From: Nancy Cline
Susan Fliss
Rebecca Graham
Dan Hazen
Marilyn Wood

Re: Recent staff survey, current economic conditions

Thanks go out to all employees who responded to the recent Harvard Staff Survey. Participation across HCL was slightly over 71% (just shy of the University-wide response rate of nearly 74%). While it will be some time before the evaluative data are reported back to us, the first step to having useful data is to have strong participation in the survey process.

On the economic front, we are aware that many questions have been arising after the recent e-mail communications from President Faust and Dean Smith. Their messages from November 10 indicate that Harvard, like other colleges and universities, will be facing exceptional fiscal challenges, but it is also clear that there is not a simple or single set of directions for us to implement. Work is underway to determine how the changing economic conditions as well as the budget planning processes within Harvard and FAS will affect the Library. Once we have some specific planning objectives, we will be sharing the information within HCL and working with HCL Senior Managers and others on a wide range of budget issues.

In the meantime, we appreciate and share the personal uncertainties that the troubled economy may bring. If you have questions about what is happening in the economy or need personal assistance, please consult the resources for staff on the Harvie site: http://harvie.harvard.edu/working/economy/.


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[November 19, 2008]


To: HCL Staff

From: Nancy Cline
Susan Fliss
Rebecca Graham
Dan Hazen
Marilyn Wood

Subject: Update on the impact of economic conditions

At Tuesday afternoon's meeting of the FAS Faculty, Dean Smith spoke about the impact of the global economic crisis on the FAS, parts of which will be covered in the news. We want to assure you that HCL, as a part of FAS, will be working to develop plans for adjusting to the rapidly changing economic conditions, and as we do so, we will work to balance our commitments to Harvard's students, faculty, and other researchers. The Library's staff, collections, and programs are important for meeting the expectations of the diverse academic programs here at Harvard and in maintaining relationships with other institutions around the world. We know that the challenges ahead will be both complex and continuously changing. The conditions that we must work with are being defined by world events that are having an impact on all aspects of society. This will require us to draw on all our strengths, creativity, knowledge, and abilities to determine the best ways to move forward.

HCL's Senior Managers will meet next Monday to address some of the Library's near-term planning and budget processes.

As we work together on HCL's response to the economic conditions, we will maintain communications across all our libraries and units, and will also seek ways of engaging staff ideas and input. Please know that we are working diligently to stay abreast of rapid changes, staying in close contact with Communications, Human Resources, and Financial units as well as with the Dean's Office. In concert with the Senior Managers, we will be putting into place mechanisms to share information regularly.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a "suggestion" that was made for cutting costs in the Harvard College Library. As a "desk worker" I can say that this paradigm would be hellish:


    Suggestion:
    There are still large numbers of hours of underutilized student and staff workers at service desks in HCL.
    #1: Give simple tasks to desk workers to perform they are not busy.
    #2: Cut desk coverage to an absolute minimimum, usually one person at any one time. Install a buzzer or similar alert at the service desk which would require backup staff or managers working at their desks to step in immediately but temporarily to assist whenever patron needs increase to a predetermined level. For example, one person covers a Circulation or other service desk until the number of patrons waiting in line hits three patrons, at which time the desk worker alerts backup to step in temporarily.

    ReplyDelete

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