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Staffing Pattern of the Library


1. Introduction: The staffing is an assessment of the staff which is meant to give the library a competent staff in all the different categories and to get the best out of them. According to Evans, “staffing is the function by which a manager builds an organization through the recruitment, selection and development of individuals as capable employees”. The staffing in libraries consists of the different categories of person with experience and expertise. The library staffs provide materials, they also provide the services of specialists who are experts in finding, organizing and interpreting information needs.

2. Types of Library Professionals: There are various types of LIS professional in general which can be grouped into the following:
a) Professional: Professional consists of those who are employed on professional job and who possess degree in library and information science as well as in some other discipline. Professionals are employed at higher level and middle level and are responsible for administration and managerial and professional job. Usually Librarian, Deputy Librarian, Assistant Librarian and Senior Library Assistants, whatever may be their designation, are included in this category.
b) Para Professional / Semi Professionals: They are with diploma or certificate in LIS. Their designation may be library assistant, technical or professional assistant, junior cataloguer or equivalent. They usually perform the routine professional and technical job.
c) Unskilled / Supporting Staff: They are with the minimum educational background and are adequately experienced in doing a particular job or trade and usually have a non-library degree. The designation may be reprographic assistant, book arranger, book binder, conversation assistant, typist and equivalent.
            Besides the above categories of staff, some other staffs are also necessary. They include attendant, cleaner, peon, gardener, and sweeper.
            The quantum of the staff depends on the total service area of the library, the number of departments / branch and other organized unit, the hours of opening, population and size of library users, amount of circulation and demand for reference service, and the financial support available.

3. Activities of LIS Professionals: The different categories of library personnel are assigned specific public service activities, some of the functions may overlap while some of these can vary from library to library but in general these are of the following types
a) Activities of a Professional
i) General Activities: Establishes operating policy, assigns the personnel, public relations, general supervision, work with faculty.
ii) Professional: Book selection, performing the book order; do classification and cataloguing, indexing, etc. Selection of circulation system, non-routine registration, schedule staff. In case of Interlibrary Loan determine interlibrary loan code.
iii) Reference: Initial patron contact at the Reference Desk or Information Desk, gives general information and answers directional questions, interviews patrons and answers reference questions, searches computer databases, compiles bibliographies, explains the use of library catalogues and periodical indexes, recommends material for purchase.
iv) Miscellaneous Activities: Establishes subject headings for vertical files, works on displays, bulletin boards and exhibits.

b) Activities of a Paraprofessional
i) General: Assigns personnel, public relations, general supervision, and work with faculty.
ii) Professional: Their job includes book ordering, accessioning and preparation of books for the shelves, physical verification of books, membership registration, to maintain files, deal with disputed fines. Supervise collection and catalogue maintenance, circulation, stock verification, charge out and check in materials, accepting interlibrary loan requests, and bibliographic and location search, to identify overdue and carry out overdue procedures, collecting fines, re shelving, shelf reading, shifting materials on shelves, inventory.
iii) Reference: Initial patron contact at Reference Desk or Information Desk, to answer general information and directional questions, answer simple reference questions within limits established by the library, to interview patrons and answer reference questions, compile bibliographies, explain the use of library catalogues and periodical indexes, bibliographic work under librarian's direction, recommend material for purchase.
iv) Miscellaneous Activities: Establishes subject headings for vertical files, upkeep of files and assign subject headings under librarian's direction, work on displays, bulletin boards, exhibits, demonstrates the use of audiovisual equipment and compiles statistics.

c) Activities of an Unskilled / Supporting Staff
i) General: Public relations.
ii) Professional: Typing and other clerical work, book binding, maintaining files, to receive and return different types of material other than document, reprography, micrography, operation of different types of equipment, maintenance of fumigation chambers, de-acidification, lamination and other conservation processes.
iii) Reference: Initial patron contact at the Reference Desk or Information Desk, answering general information and directional questions, answering simple reference questions within limits established by the library, typing and other clerical work.
iv) Miscellaneous Activities: Compiling statistics, upkeep of files and assigning subject headings under librarian's direction, work on displays, bulletin boards, museum exhibits, demonstrating the use of audiovisual equipment.

4. S. R. Ranganathan Staff Formula: In 1948, Dr. S.R. Ranganathan constructed a staff-formula to determine the strength of the staff required in a library in terms of various factors such as accession, circulation, hours of functioning and so on. In the book of “Library Administration” 2nd edition (1959) in pages 28-30, Dr. S. R. Ranganathan has recommended the following staff formula. It may be noted that requirement of staff for each section has been calculated on the basis of experience. According to formula, the number of professionals required for different sections is based on the assumption that those number of professionals are sufficient for managing that volume of work.
a) Staff for Book Section (SB): One person for every 6,000 volumes added in a year i.e. SB = A/6000 where “A” means number of volumes (books) accessioned in a year divided by “6000” (a constant).
b) Staff for Circulation Section (SC): One person for every 1,500 hours for which the library has to be kept open a counter gate in a year i.e. SC = G/1500 where “G” means number of gate-hours for a year (if the library has two or more counter gate then the gate hour should be calculated accordingly) divided by “1500” (a constant). Here one gate hour means one counter gate kept open for one hour so, if two counter gate need to be kept open for one hour the number of gate hour will be 2.
c) Staff for Leadership Role (Supervisory Function) (SL): Number of persons as librarian and his/her deputies. For every 1,500 opening hours of a library in a year there should be 1 librarian and 1 deputy librarian i.e. HW/1500 where “H” means number of hours library is kept open in day multiplied by “W” which means number of working days in a year divided by “1500” (a constant).
d) Staff for Maintenance Section (SM): One person for every 3,000 volumes added (accessioned) in a year i.e. SM = A/3000 where “A” means number of volumes accessioned in a year divided by “3000” (a constant).
e) Staff for Periodical-publications Section (SP): One person for every 500 periodicals currently taken i.e. SP = P/500 where “P” means number of periodicals currently taken divided by “500” (a constant).
f) Staff for Reference Section (SR): One person for every 50 readers using the library in a day of the year i.e. SR = (R/50) (W/250) where [“R” means number of readers per day divided by 50 (a constant)] multiplied by [“W” means number of working days in a year divided by “250” (a constant)].
g) Staff for Technical (i.e. Classification and Cataloguing) Section (ST): ST = (A+40D)/2000 where “A” means number of volumes accessioned in a year plus “40” (a constant) multiplied by “D” means number of periodicals abstracted and indexed (documented) in a year divided by 2000 (a constant).
            So, based on the above, the total requirement of staff can be calculated as follows-
a) Professional Staff Pattern: The formula stated by Dr. Ranganathan is: SB + SC + SL + SM + SP + SR + ST where “S” means staff and the other letter means the name of the section. Here, SB = Number of persons in book section; SC = Number of persons in circulation section; SL = Number of persons as librarian and his deputies; SM = Number of persons in maintenance section; SP = Number of persons in a periodicals section; SR = Number of persons in reference section and ST = Number of persons in technical- that is classification and cataloguing-section.
So, in general
SB + SC + SL + SM + SP + SR + ST
= {(A/6000) + (G/1500) + (HW/1500) + (A/3000) + (P/500) + [(R/50) (W/250)] + [(A+40D)/2000]}
= {3(A+20D)+2(G+3P)+2W(H+6[R/50])}/3000
b) Non-Professional Skilled Staff: B/30,000+(S/100) where “B” means annual budget allotment in rupees and “S” means number of seats for readers.
c) Unskilled Staff: SB/4+SC/2+SL+SM/4+SP/2+SR/8+A/20,000+D/500+B/60,000+
(S/100)/4+V/30,000 where “SB” means staff required for book section, “SC” means staff required in the circulation section; “SL” means staff required in supervisory section; “SM” means staff required in maintenance section; “SP” means staff required in periodical-publications section; “SR” means staff required in reference section; “A” means number of volumes accessioned in a year; “D” means number of periodicals abstracted and indexed in a year; “B” means annual budget allotment in rupees; “S” means number of seats for readers and “V” means number of volumes in the library.
So, in general
SB/4+SC/2+SL+SM/4+SP/2+SR/8+A/20,000+D/500+B/60,000+
(S/100)/4+V/30,000
={27A+2(B+120D)+40(G+3P)+30,000[S/100]+4V+2W(40H+3[R/50]}/120,000

5. Library Committee, 1957 Appointed by UGC: The University Grants Commission (India), appointed in 1957 a committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. S.R. Ranganathan to advice the UGC about development of university and college libraries and their organisation. The Library Committee laid down the strength of the staff for different sections in university and college libraries to be determined roughly on the following basis.
a) Book Section and Acquisition Section: One person for every 6000 volumes added in a year.
b) Periodical Publication Section: One person for every 500 current periodicals subscribed.
c) Documentation Section: One person for every 1,000 entries prepared in a year for the development of information products like bulletins.
d) Technical Section: One person for every 2,000 volumes added in a year and processing it for the availability in library viz. cataloguing, classification and indexing.
e) Maintenance Section: One person for every 6,000 volumes added in a year, one person for every 500 volumes to be replaced in a day and one person for every 1,00,000 volumes in the library.
f) Administrative Section: Minimum one accountant, one steno typist and one clerk for managing administrative jobs.
g) Reference Section: One person for every 50 readers (other than the users of the textbook collection) in a day for providing short range and long range reference services as well as referral services.
h) Circulation Section: One person for every 1,500 hours for which one wicket gate of the library has to be kept open in a year who looks after all the circulation activities.
i) Supervision Section: One librarian and one assistant or deputy librarian for undertaking managerial tasks.
j) Unskilled Staff: One cleaner for every 30,000 volumes in the library, one attendant each for every 6,000 volumes added in a year, one attendant for every 500 current periodicals taken, and for each of the shifts in the circulation section, besides unskilled and the semiskilled workers normal to any institution
Later on, in 1965, S.R. Ranganathan suggested certain changes in the above mentioned norms as given below:
a) Periodical Publication Section: 1500 periodicals subscribed.
b) Documentation Section (to supplement the work done by the INSDOC and the international abstracting services): 30 research workers in the university.
c) Maintenance Section: 1500 volumes newly added, 50,000 volumes to be looked after

6. UGC Staff Formula of 1979: The staff formula for library firstly proposed by the library committee under the chairmanship of Dr. S R Ranganathan in 1957. This formula was modified later in 1965 and during March 5-7, 1979. The UGC Workshop on formulating standards for college libraries was held at Khandala from March 5-7, 1979. The recommendations made by the Workshop were considered and approved by the UGC Sub-Committee at its meeting held on August 30, 1979. The recommendations made by the Sub-committee regarding library staffs are given below.
Basic staff for the college having the strength of 500 students and the collection of 5000 volumes in the library should have a total of 8 staff i.e. Librarian (1), Assistant Librarian (1), Library Assistant (2), Library Clerk-cum-Typist (1), Library Attendants (3).
Besides the above staff, for an increase of every 500 student’s enrolment, 1 library assistant and 2 library attendants should be added. Similarly a college will be required to appoint 1 library assistant and 2 library attendants for every addition of 25,000 volumes upto the limit of 80,000 volumes.
When the strength of students exceeds 2000, one more Assistant Librarian and one Library Clerk should be appointed.

7. UGC Staff Formula for Delhi University Colleges: In Delhi University day college libraries, the following staff strength has been sanctioned by UGC (vide letter No. F.1-18/63(CUP) of 25.9.1964 and letter No. F.1-35/47(CU) of 18.2.1968).
Librarian (1), Professional Assistant (1), Library Assistant (2), Typist (1), Attendants upto a collection of 15000 volumes (2), Attendants for more than 15,000 and less than 30,000 collection (3). If the collection is more than 30,000 volumes, then 4 attendants are provided. For an extended college (having more than 1500 students), 2 additional attendants are given. In case, a library opens for 12 hours, then 2 additional attendants are provided.
In Delhi University Evening Colleges, the following staff has been sanctioned: Librarian (1), Library Assistants (2), Typist (1), Attendants upto a collection of 15,000 volumes (2).  A collection of above 30,000 volumes, 4 attendants are provided, 50% of the attendants are placed in the senior scale.

8. Staffing Pattern Suggested by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE): The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is another accrediting body in India for recommendations in technical education throughout the country. It has developed norms and standards for engineering colleges (degree programs) in 1990 (AICTE 1990 p. 53-54), and has made them applicable too. These norms gave number of staff admissible and job description, the council proposed minimum staff for engineering college libraries as one librarian, two assistant librarians, four library assistants and two library attendants.

9. The Indian Library Association: The Indian Library Association (ILA) took initiative in 1982 and 1985 and had a discussion on the problem of staffing pattern for libraries and suggested to revise the staffing pattern but the identification filed as suggestions only.

10. Advisory Committee for Libraries Recommendations: The professional and non-professional staff that will be required for a public library service has been estimated by the Advisory Committee for Libraries set up by the Government of India (PSG Kumar, 2003, P.151) as follows:
a) State Central Library: One state librarian, one deputy librarian, one assistant librarian, twenty-two Non-professionals;
b) District Library: One librarian, one assistant librarian, three professional assistants and nine other non-professional personnels;
c) City Library: One librarian, one deputy librarian, (except in cities with a population of less than 5 lakhs), one assistant librarian (except in cities with a population of less than 2 lakhs), professional assistants minimum 2, and maximum 18 according to population served;
d) City Branch Library: One librarian, two professional assistants and five non-professional personnels;
e) Mobile Library: Two professional assistants and three other personnels;
f) Block Library: One librarian and two other personnels.
Besides these, a few state governments also proposed some staffing structure for the libraries, like the Government of Karnataka issued orders in 1981 (p.3) and prescribed the staff pattern for college libraries. The Himachal Pradesh Government has suggested minimum (core) staff for academic colleges in their manual for college libraries (p. 263). In 1971, the Kerala Government issued orders regarding staffing at colleges in Kerala and classified the college libraries into four grades and prescribed norms for appointment of librarians. Further, in 1982 the pattern of non – teaching staff in science and arts colleges was revised. Maharashtra government in 1980 (p.3) issued orders regarding the staff for academic college libraries. The formula suggested one class IV servant for every 250 students in the college and every fourth is a clerk.

11. Problem with the Staff Formula: No recommendations regarding staff structure of libraries were implemented fully. Even S. R. Ranganathan staff formula is very difficult to apply in case of any public / college / school library that subscribe to less than 6000 volume in a year, where, a person to look after the book section independently may not be possible. It can only be true in case of the university library. Similarly, in case of maintenance section there are hardly any public / college / school library where 3,000 volumes added (accessioned) in a year. So, one independent maintenance staff is also not possible. To add on this, there are hardly any public / college / school / university library where 500 periodicals currently taken. So, appointment of an independent staff for periodical section is also not feasible. Again, the formula does not suggest staff for property counter, watchman, reading room, photocopy service, digital library section and so on.
In the UGC Staff formula of 1979, the recommendation does not suggest core staff for colleges having student strength of less than 500. Hence the formula is inefficient for the small institutes.
In the UGC Staff formula for Delhi University colleges there is discrimination between Day College and evening college libraries. There should be a common library for both the day college and the evening college; so long both were using the same premises. This provision would have required lesser staff and the savings could have been used on extending the library buildings, collections and the services.
            The formula proposed by AICTE does not suggest staff for other purposes like watchman, cleaner, and so on and do not have any scope of increase in staff if number of readers, documents or timings of the library increase.

12. Conclusion: In 1948, Dr. S.R. Ranganathan constructed a staff-formula to determine the strength of the staff required in the library. Later on, the University Grants Commission (India), appointed in 1957 a committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. S.R. Ranganathan to advice the UGC about development of university and college libraries and their organization. In the report of the committee, we can see a modified staff formula of earlier forum proposed by Dr. S. R. Ranganathan. This formula was modified later in 1965 and during March 5-7, 1979 in the UGC Workshop on formulating standards for college libraries held at Khandala from. The recommendations made by the Workshop were considered and approved by the UGC Sub-Committee at its meeting held on August 30, 1979. However, still a lack of a standardize staff formula and its acceptance by the concerned body created the missing link among the staff available and number of staff required in the libraries.


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