Growth at Fresno County Library
Fresno Partners with AIM To Meet
Increased Staffing Needs
Library system has been steadily growing to serve the needs of its
patrons. In 1998 a sales-tax initiative, Measure B, was voted in
to increase library funding by $8.5 million annually for the 35-branch
library system. These new funds have trebled library material
acquisitions, doubled library hours, and increased literacy
services. Additionally, the funds are enabling the building of
new library branches.
A key element
John K. Kallenberg, recently retired County Librarian, directed and led
the expansion of these library services. A key element needed to
implement these new services was to hire additional professional
staff. He approached Advanced Information Management (AIM) a
staffing firm specializing in libraries since 1984. Aware of the
work AIM did to help Solano Country ramp up staff several years before,
he recognized AIM’s ability to supply professional staff quickly.
Since the partnership was established, Fresno County has hired over 30
librarians using AIM’s services. AIM uses nation-wide recruiting as
well as its own extensive staffing database. Candidates have been
attracted to Fresno County because of its quality of life and the many
opportunities available to its residents. Presently, interested
candidates contact AIM directly for initial information. Their
materials are processed, they are pre-screened and initially
interviewed before being referred to the Library. Nation-wide
advertising is done and information about the positions is posted on
AIM’s web site, www.aimusa.com.
A major benefit of Measure B is the building of new library branches
within Fresno County. In 1990, Fresno County released a
long-range planning document that envisioned ten new regional
libraries. By June 2002, the first new library opened in the town
of Kerman and Caruthers will open in April 2003. Other libraries
are currently in the planning stages, such as a new 22,050 square foot,
$7 million regional library facility for a heavily developed area in
North Fresno is scheduled to open in January 2004. In the near
future, new libraries are planned for the communities of Fowler, and
Mendota. Also many existing branches have been refurbished.
Ultimately, 43 library locations will be available to serve Fresno
County Library's clientele currently consisting of over 800,000 users.
Because of the rich cultural diversity of the Fresno region, increased
efforts have been made to reach non-English speaking residents.
For example, the Fresno Bee newspaper reported in June 2002 that the
Kerman library houses one of California’s most extensive collections of
Punjabi language books and literature. Continued growth in
library staffing is anticipated to mirror the steady growth of Fresno
County. Based on the 2002 Census, Fresno County is the 10th
largest county in California.
Partnering with AIM has worked well for Fresno County Library.
Being able to focus on the final selection of candidates, they have
saved time and money in processing potential applicants. With library
schools turning out fewer graduates due to program closures and greater
number of retirees, there is much more competition for professional
librarians than ever before. Successful recruitment in this field
requires expediting the hiring process to not lose good prospects to
competing library systems, in addition to offering competitive salaries
and good benefits.
Staffing for Rapid Growth
Meeting the needs for rapid staff growth is not a
new experience to
AIM. AIM has provided similar services to other county library
systems, for example, the Solano County Library. AIM has worked
with public libraries since 1984 when it assisted San
Jose Public Library to open for longer hours after a similar bond
issue. Each public library system chooses different approaches to
meeting their staffing needs. San Jose Public used AIM to bring in
professional librarians on a temporary basis until they were able to
hire candidates directly. Solano County worked with AIM in a
similar manner to Fresno to expedite their hiring process.
AIM’s long experience and proven track record ensures a successful
outcome to any library’s recruiting needs. In the case of Fresno
County, AIM’s expertise and experience in library staffing provided an
efficient and cost-effective solution to the Fresno County Library’s
challenge for their rapid growth needs for qualified library