Originally Published: May 5, 2009 11:01 p.m.
PRESCOTT VALLEY - Lea Duke, administrative specialist in Town Manager Larry Tarkowski's office, said she fields a number of calls from the public that have nothing to do with her job.
"I had people complaining about the jet stream in the air," Duke said. "We get calls about how to get a patent, where to get a marriage license."
Nevertheless, Duke, who has been on the job about five years, said she enjoys the public contact, and looks forward to contributing a few hours at a time after the new library opens. The new library is due to open Sept. 12 in a 52,000-square-foot building under construction on the Civic Center grounds off Lakeshore Drive and Civic Circle.
"I believe in cross-training," Duke said. "The more you know, the more valuable you are to the employer and the more you are able to help the citizens."
Duke is among more than 100 town employees - more than half of the work force - who are attending two three-hour orientation sessions to learn how the library operates.
Library staffers are preparing the employees, including managers, to help out in the library instead of hiring an additional 15 people to man the library.
Doing so will save the town $500,000 to $600,000 in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, which begins July 1, Tarkowski said. The library currently has 15.25 full-time-equivalent employees.
Employees from other department might work two to four hours a week in the library, Human Resources Manager Danielle Bowman said.
In preparation, Bowman set up five orientation sessions apiece for "Library 101" and "Library 102" in a conference room adjoining the library on the third floor of the Civic Center. Employees will take the second session a few weeks after the first one.
"Library 101 is sort of the history of libraries," Library Director Stuart Mattson said. "We talked about the online public catalog, how that works. We talked about some of the policies," including donations, and the use of cell phones and computers with Internet access.
Mattson said the session also provided an introduction to the Dewey Decimal System, which covers book classifications. Moreover, the session covered an overview of the organization of library materials and a quick tour of the library.
Finance Manager Jim Clemens attended Library 101 Monday, and said he learned about helping the public to find books in the new library.
"We are just getting started," he said. "I am not sure how my skills will apply."
Clemens and others await the second session. Mattson said the library staff gave assignments to employees who attended the first session.
The assignment requires them to obtain a library card if they do not have one, look for a book on the online catalog, put the book on hold and enter the library to check out the book, Mattson said.
Mattson, who has been on the job for more than 20 years, said the second session will be "a little more specific."
He said the library will have seven areas in which employees from other departments might be assigned. Those areas are administration, public services (separately for adults, young children, teens and the Internet), technical services (processing or cataloguing) and behind the scenes/phones.