Librarians Learn and Grow Despite Staffing Shortages.

Libraries today are increasingly challenged with staffing shortages and budget cuts. Through creative technical solutions, libraries are making the most of their resources to create a culture of learning and growth. In this article, we’ll take a look at opportunities and resources librarians are utilizing to address staffing challenges, advocating for BEAD funding to expand internet access for patrons, and building relationships with their communities and other libraries to grow into the future. With the right strategies in place, libraries have empowered staff to stay ahead of the curve and achieve excellence.

Staffing Shortages

Busy Librarian Managing Opportunities for Growth

Across the country libraries are facing staffing shortages leaving fewer librarians to take on the growing number of responsibilities the library has in the community. Libraries of all sizes are relying on librarians to take on the responsibilities in lieu of new staff. Libraries are looking for creative ways to continue to impact the communities they serve at the same levels as before these staffing challenges arose. One way they are accomplishing this is by reducing the time spent in collecting, organizing, and reporting library specific data. Of course there is value in this reporting, but finding new ways to simplify and make this process easier has been beneficial for many libraries. With time saved librarians have time to use the accurate insights for action. There are a number of methods that libraries are utilizing to combat this common library problem.

ALA Conference 2022
Connect with Other Libraries

First, libraries have shown us that creating a culture of learning and growth begins not with patrons but with library staff themselves. The best opportunities for librarians to learn effectively come from… you guessed it… other libraries! There are a number of groups where libraries get connected whether it’s a Facebook Group like Library Think Tank, a state listserv or forum, or attending a conference in person like the PLA Biannual Conference. Meeting and discussing the contemporary challenges ranging from the aforementioned staff shortage, best practices for addressing book bans, and methods for completing state reports can provide insights to take back to your own library. 

Librarian Attending Virtual Conference
Virtual Conferences

Of course meeting with other libraries regularly, engaging with the community and taking on new initiatives sounds wonderful, but where do these librarians find the time? Technology has provided us with numerous solutions to stay connected in an ever digitized world. Now more than ever it’s easy to connect with other libraries virtually. Forums and virtual conferences provide one easy method to share new ideas. The best practices shared  in these groups can help to improve operations for library staff  and provide insights into new community initiatives like utilizing BEAD funding to help unserved areas gain access to stable high speed internet connection. 

Librarian Helping Patron Digital Equity
Secure Funding for New Initiatives

Libraries are eligible to receive BEAD funding to increase the internet connection speed for both their location up to 1GB/s as well as to promote broadband and digital equity initiatives within communities. This program is a great way for libraries to work with other state entities to improve their communities. Libraries can work with state officials to identify opportunities to leverage existing fiber connections and other infrastructure to extend high-speed internet service to surrounding homes and businesses. If you would like to learn more about how libraries can work with the state to improve digital equity you can review our post from last week here

Making a Difference

Librarians are fostering a culture of learning both internally and for the communities they serve. It’s no secret that digital equity and access to technology are needed in many communities, librarians take an active role in using funding from programs such as BEAD to positively impact the communities they serve. Investing in ongoing learning and professional development opportunities can help ensure every librarian is able to make the greatest impact possible and promote digital equity where it’s needed the most. We are thankful to every librarian and the difference they make in their communities. 

To learn more about WhoFi and how we help simplify reporting on library services allowing staff more time for planning and professional development please visit or email  We look forward to  learning more about your library and goals.