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Library to receive AFSO21's efficiency-minded 'expertise'

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Amanda West, a librarian's aid at the base library, admires the work of Vandenberg’s Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century team. In the early planning stages of the library's renovations, a team of AFSO21 personnel lined the walls of a vacant room in the library with construction paper to further analyze the library’s processes from multiple angles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Amanda West, a librarian's aid at the base library, admires the work of Vandenberg’s Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century team. In the early planning stages of the library's renovations, a team of AFSO21 personnel lined the walls of a vacant room in the library with construction paper to further analyze the library’s processes from multiple angles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Personnel from Vandenberg's Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century program are currently assessing and integrating plans to improve the efficiency of operations at the base library.

Due to AFSO21's assessment, the library is scheduled to close Oct. 12-26 for renovations.

The goal of the AFSO21 staff is to identify areas that need improvement and solve problems within an organization. The staff uses a '6S' process where they brainstorm ways to make the work space more manageable and efficient by means of sorting, straightening, shining, standardizing, sustaining and creating a safer work environment.

After receiving addition funding from 30th Space Wing leadership, management at the base library called upon the assistance of the AFSO21 staff.

"The AFSO21 team came into the library and thoroughly overlooked our processes, broke down our employee's daily tasks and analyzed the layout of the building, all to maximize our overall efficiency," said Christine McLaughlin, a supervisory librarian with the Vandenberg Library.

Once the observation of the library was completed, the AFSO21 team came together and formed an action plan.

"We provided the library with the facilitating tools used to make improvements," said Elaine Huggins, a 30th Space Wing AFSO21 process manager. "When units on base have problems with their daily operations, we can help by creating an action plan to solve and fix problems. Our goal is to cut out unnecessary waste from the workplace."

The plan consists of renovations such as adding new furniture, replacing the tile flooring, and painting the walls and ceilings for a visual appeal. With efficiency in mind, the AFSO21 staff is also planning to implement a new source of electricity in the library, which will conserve more energy.

Furthermore, once all of the renovations are completed, the AFSO21 team plans to reconfigure more than 4,000 items owned by the library to create an atmosphere that is beneficial in many ways. Rearranging the configuration of the library is meant to increase the efficiency of the staff and create an environment that is easily accessible and enjoyable for the patrons. The AFSO21 staff has lightened the workload of the library's employees by moving the most popular library items closer to the main desk, which will save time.

Another project for the AFSO21 team is helping the library achieve a five-star rating from the Air Force.

"The library always seems to get four star ratings because it does not circulate enough customers due to certain staffing issues," Ms. Huggins said. "So, we are using our tools to help find a solution to their staffing problem and improve their process."

AFSO21's involvement at the library has been very positive, Ms. McLaughlin said.

"The library will look more attractive and our customers will be able to enjoy all of the new furniture," Ms. McLaughlin said. "Also, Part of the funding we have received will be used to buy computers and books for a new children section. The rearrangement of the library will be very beneficial for everybody."

The combined efforts of the base library staff and AFSO21 team will pay dividends for the library in the future. 

"I am grateful we have the opportunity to receive the expertise of the AFSO21 team," Ms. McLaughlin said. "What they are doing here will make it easier for us to serve our patrons. AFSO21's ideas will save us the time we need to work on special programs for the entire Vandenberg community."