February 17, 2018

HI Rebounding from Budget Woes, Now Faces Recruitment Challenge

By LJ Staff

The Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS), with 51 branches across the islands as well as the state library, faces some unique recruitment challenges. After a period of budget decreases, which resulted in slashed branch hours and unfilled positions, "We have many more vacancies than we can easily fill," explained State Librarian Jo Ann Schindler. HSPLS is committed to restoring service hours, and, as of September 26, expanded hours were announced at four facilities. But each change in staff scheduling must be approved by the union, and filling vacancies continues to be difficult. "We are challenged by baby boomer demographics, a high retirement rate, relatively low wages, a high cost of living, and many years of underfunding, including a hiring freeze," said Schindler.

Additionally, only librarian IV and V positions, either library heads or subject area heads at the state library, may be recruited from outside Hawaii. Though HSPLS has filled 84 vacancies since April 2003, as of September 30, the system had 135 vacancies, with 31 of them in librarian positions. Approximately 94 recruitments are currently in progress. Only 17 employees have been recruited from outside HSPLS, so most of the movement has been internal. Schindler expects this situation to continue for the foreseeable future. "Some good news has just been released," said Schindler. Library assistant and technician recruitment for positions statewide opened October 17. State residency is required. Additionally, salaries will increase on January 1, 2005.