Barry-Lawrence Library to raise minimum wage

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

New positions added for future when funding available

In revising the budget for 2017-2018, the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library board approved wage increases to help even hourly employees continue with the system.

Director Gina Milburn, in looking at the possibility of the minimum wage in Missouri rising to a "living" wage of $10 an hour, suggested proactively increasing the pay for the library clerk position incrementally over the next five years. Clerks presently earn the state minimum of $7.70 per hour.

Board members agreed to boost that amount to $8 an hour, beginning Jan. 1, 2018, and renaming the position to library assistant. Duties would expand from handling circulation and shelving to also including helping with programs.

To further enhance benefits for library staff, the board approved giving part-time staff paid vacation and sick leave for the first time. Personal leave is still only available for full-time staff.

The salary schedule also underwent revisions. New positions that may be filled in the future, depending on the need and availability of funds, includes a marketing and social media manager, a cataloguer and maintenance supervisory. The schedule also made allowances for paying staff more, depending on their experience.

"The way we do our pay scale is a little different, with no HR [human resources] department," Milburn said. "It could be years before we implement these positions. I figured because we were proposing redoing the pay, now was the time to insert it, rather than redoing on the back end."

The marketing and social media manager will fall in the top end of the pay spectrum when hired, higher than the collections development person and lower than computer technician.

At the present time, administrative assistant Joyce Frazier catalogues the DVDs and Rhonda Duff catalogues the rest of the new acquisitions. The cataloguer would assume duties if one of those two retired.

The proposed maintenance supervisor would oversee equipment support in all 10 branches, eight of which are owned by the library system, rather than leaving many of those decisions to branch managers to bring to the board. Milburn said a maintenance supervisor might, for example, decide to replace carpet, or paint on salary, which would be cheaper than bidding the work at prevailing wage.

Milburn said discussion has also started on reactivating the bookmobile. A supervisor, paid comparably to a small branch manager, and an assistant would be needed for that service.

In addition, Janea Coker serves as the youth services coordinator. Milburn said she is looking at changing that title to programming and outreach coordinator to do both youth and adult programming system-wide, rather than hiring a second person for adult programs. Moving Coker to that slot, she noted, would mean passing her hat at Marionville branch manager to someone else.

Making these changes, Milburn noted, will remain dependent on available funds and space. She has not calculated a bottom dollar cost for adding the new positions yet. Some will depend on whether pay is part-time or full-time with benefits.

"We're so locked in at the Monett building, where would we put them [the new staffers in these positions]? This is all thinking about the future. When we have a separate regional office, we can think about these new positions as well."

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