New York State Library
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NYS Library Core Work Values and Ground Rules

This document proposes a set of core values and ground rules for the State Library's Research Library. The document was prepared by the Parallel Organization and is reviewed by the Strategic Planning Management Group (Exec and Associates).

Core Work Values: Core work values are statements that articulate the attitudes and values of the people who work in the Library.

Ground rules: Ground rules are based on the core work values and are meant to express those values in terms of a set of behaviors or actions.

Core Work Value I: We are here to serve the public.

Ground rules:

  1. Kinds of Service provided:
    • We will provide the highest quality service possible.
    • When we cannot fulfill the requests of Library patrons, we will suggest alternatives.
  2. Ways in Which Service is Provided:
    • We will treat our customers as we would like to be treated.
    • We will always provide prompt, friendly, courteous and professional customer service.
    • We will try to explain our services in the most positive manner possible (i.e. emphasize what we can do for people, rather than restrictions.)
    • We will train staff to provide the best customer service.
    • Customer service will take precedence over all other activities.

Core Work Value II: We are all part of one Library, and we work together towards our common goals.

Ground Rules:

  1. Library-wide goals and priorities:
    • Library-wide goals and priorities will be established and made clear to all staff.
    • Library-wide priorities take precedence over Service Area and work unit priorities.
    • Service Areas and work units will communicate with each other how their work fits in with the common goals and priorities.
    • Services will be re-evaluated at least annually to ensure they are meeting our goals and priorities.
    • Deployment of staff (i.e. changing staff assignments within the context of their job titles) will be re-evaluated at least annually based on priorities.
    • Once a goal or priority is set, all staff will support and work towards it.
  2. Commitment to the Whole Library:
    • Loyalty to the whole Library is more important than loyalty to your Service Area or work unit.
    • Principal Librarians will make decisions based first on what is good for the Library as a whole, and then on what is good for their Service Area.
    • Service Areas and work units will cooperate with each other to the extent of sharing staff and resources when necessary.
    • More staff will be involved in Library-wide committees in order to contribute to the whole of the Library.
  3. Teamwork:
    • Managers and staff will maintain a cooperative environment with the Director of the Library as the head of the institution.
    • Managers and staff will uphold team principles within their work units and committees, including an understanding that:
      • Managers and supervisors need to find a balance between making decisions and delegating work and authority to others.
      • Staff need to make suggestions for improvement in a reasonable and courteous manner.
      • Managers and supervisors need to listen carefully to their staff's suggestions.
      • Staff should have a part in decision making when appropriate.
      • After receiving staff input, final decisions are the responsibility of the leadership and management of the Library.
    • The Executive Group will work as a team with open and honest communication.
    • Managers will communicate information to their staff in an accurate and timely manner.
    • Managers will set an example to all staff, by working cooperatively together and putting the Library first.
    • Staff with special expertise, knowledge, or experience will pass along what they know to other staff.

Core Work Value III: We are committed to working to the best of our abilities.

Ground Rules:

  1. Every person working in the Library will:
    • Recognize that each person's work is an important part of the Library.
    • Be thorough and accurate in their work.
    • Be flexible and willing to pitch in and help where needed.
    • Follow the rules and procedures of the Library.
  2. Managers and Supervisors will:
    • Be a model for their staff in terms of how to treat other people.
    • Be clear and specific about their expectations of staff.
    • Provide honest feedback to staff, both the positive and negative, so that people know how they have performed.
    • Give constructive criticism that critiques the work not the person.
    • Provide timely, accurate information to staff.
    • Provide staff with the right training to do quality work.
    • Take every opportunity to recognize staff for work that is well done --
      • Insure that all of the people who have done the work get recognized.
      • Recognize quality of work, not just quantity.
  3. Staff will:
    • Let supervisors know if there is anything that keeps them from doing quality work (e.g. supplies, equipment, training).
    • Let supervisors know if there is anything that keeps them from doing a particular assignment (e.g. work load problems, expertise, physical limitations).
    • Recognize that managers and supervisors are human too.

Core Work Value IV: We value and respect each other.

Ground Rules:

  1. Behavior of all Library Staff: We will treat each other with respect, courtesy and professionalism. We will:
    • Take responsibility for our own actions.
    • Treat our colleagues at all grade levels as we wish to be treated.
    • Always act in an adult and appropriate manner towards each other.
    • Value the work that everyone does in the Library.
  2. Managers' and Supervisors' Responsibilities: Managers and supervisors have special responsibility to model the Library's core values. Therefore, managers and supervisors will:
    • Remember they have a great deal of authority, and therefore should use that authority in a fair, measured way.
    • Bring any lapses in professional behavior directly to that staff person's attention.
    • Respect confidentiality.
Last Updated: June 4, 2021