If you’ve ever been to a branch of Denver Public Library, you know that there is A LOT going on! The libraries serve as a hub in the community not only for reading, but for gathering, learning, entertainment, and professional development. Just this month you could have attended Buttons and Beer, Beginning Genealogy, Sing-and-Dance Storytime, or Silent Book Club, to name a few. But how is one to learn of all these big happenings? That’s where Engage comes in!

Denver Public Library – Central

Engage is the brochure that outlines all the library activities for the month. While twelve a year might not sound like a lot, there are many moving pieces which requires at least a few brochures in production at a time. As we know, behind every process there are people, and in this case, Jennifer Dewey and Cassie Sandoval serve as the main production team. This dynamic duo manages the process that begins with branch librarians entering their program information into an online calendar. From there, Jenn and Cassie edit the information, put it in the correct format, select visuals, then edit and finalize the brochure for production. This required a lot of back and forth to get everything right which was wasting and keeping staff from focusing on the more substantive work: actually producing the programs.

The dynamic duo: Cassie Sandoval and Jennifer Dewey

In collaboration with representation from all stakeholders, Jenn and Cassie revamped their process! They process mapped, identified root causes, and ultimately came up with an action plan. Through their work, they realized that they needed to better communicate and collaborate with the branch staff that was entering the program information. They increased transparency by educating branch staff on why changes where needed, in addition to writing blogs and engaging in one on one conversations to reveal what happens behind the production curtain.  But it wasn’t a one-way street and they solicited ideas from the staff as well.

Engage Brochure – Jan. 2020

Because of their hard work, they made great strides. What used to take 11 plus weeks of production, is now down to less than seven! They also spend significantly less time going back and forth with branch staff, which reflects a soft savings of roughly $3,500 every year. These numbers are great but it’s all even more impressive because this team of two used to have a third member to help in the process. When their coworker left for another job, Jenn and Cassie had to explore the black hole of what this person had done. Through this exploration, they found even more opportunities for efficiencies, and came out on the other side appreciating the importance of cross training. However, perhaps the biggest win of all is that their efforts have led to a more collaborative culture, and they have even been able to experiment with new ideas generated by branch staff that they were not able to accommodate previously because of a lack of time.

Big kudos to Jenn, Cassie, and all of the staff that supported this innovation! And if you haven’t recently, check out the brochure and figure out how to “Engage” with your local library!

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