Staffing guidelines

Last updated:  28 March 2024

G8. Library staffing


To ensure that the size and mix of library staff support a range of services and programs which meet the needs of the community.

Each public library must have paid qualified staff of one or more persons, including a suitably qualified library manager.  

Relevant standards: S6 to S8 Staffing standards


Note: For discussion of targeted library services see guidelines G13 to G19.  

Library has paid and suitably qualified staff, appropriately trained to discharge their particular job responsibilities.

Staffing levels are sufficient to deliver the services set out in the Library Act 1939 section 10 and other services appropriate for the library’s community.

Responsibility for core services (such as reference and information services and technical services) set out in the guidelines relating to section 10 is assigned to appropriately qualified staff.

Specialist library staff are determined by overall community requirements for the skills of the specialist — consideration should be given to the skills mix of library staff to deliver targeted services described in guidelines G13 to G19.

Library staff undertaking librarianship, library technician and other relevant studies are supported by their library manager and council.

Library staff are encouraged to expand their library and cross-sectoral networks, and further their professional development by attending courses, conferences, and meetings and joining email lists.

The library supports staff work-related study, continuing education and professional activities, including paid work time for attendance, registration fees and travel costs.

All library staff (including casual and relief staff) have sufficient training to undertake the requirements of their roles with a minimum of supervision.

Formal training is augmented by informal skills transfer and information sessions for staff.

Library has an orientation program for new staff.

Library provides a staff mentoring program.

Library has current position descriptions for all positions.

Library has a succession plan for critical positions.

Job rotation and staff exchanges are encouraged as an excellent means of ensuring adequate training and development, especially for more isolated staff such as those in small branch libraries.

Volunteer help from the community is recruited according to the terms and conditions of a written policy defining the tasks which may be undertaken by these volunteers and clarifying their relationship to library operations and staff.

Volunteers are not used as a substitute for appropriately trained and paid library staff — their role is separate from the day to day operation of the library service, and their tasks should not include core library duties.

Suggested performance indicators

  • number of full-time equivalent staff per capita
  • number of qualified staff per head of population served
  • number of items circulated per staff member per annum
  • number of training courses undertaken by staff members per annum
  • staff turnover ratio