In 2023, the San Bernardino County Library celebrated four distinguished National Association of Counties (NACo) awards for outstanding service to both its staff as well as the general public. Unsurprisingly, the library attributed its drive to the principals outlined in San Bernardino County’s Countywide Vision, a guiding light for its policies, practices, and protocol: CAO Vision – San Bernardino CountyWide Vision (

First, the library received an award for its unique interviewing structure. During the transition into post-pandemic realities, the San Bernardino County Library, as with many employers, saw an increase in the number of vacancies due to resignations, retirements, and other life changes. With retention in mind, the library worked to fill vacanciesof varying capacities throughout its 32 library branch locations and administration office. In the past, the library would schedule first interviews on one day, and second or final interviews on a separate day. This scheduling process often led to second interviews that were scheduled one to two weeks following the first interview, at times resulting in losing candidates to other employers. The additional time for the second interview would also delay the completion of onboarding paperwork, background checks, and fingerprinting, which caused the hiring process to be slow and prolonged.

Additionally, the extended interview and onboarding process deterred quality candidates who sought to begin work immediately. To remain competitive with other organizations and move to hire within a shorter timeframe, the San Bernardino County Library implemented a new process of conducting second interviews on the same day as first interviews. The new procedure resulted in the hiring process (application to onboarding) taking two to three months, whereas in the past the process could take four to six months. The implementation of this process has resulted in the hiring of higher quality candidates due to the library’s ability to compete with private sector hiring timelines.

In addition, the library received a NACo award for its orientation program, entitled “Introduction to Library Basics (ILB).” ILB is a training program that focuses on library expectations, operations, and most importantly, customer service. This program offers an additional layer of training to new hires that reinforces what they learn at their training branches. Introduction to Library Basics sets a foundation for new hires to learn County culture, also equipping them with the tools they need to be successful County Library employees.

Moreover, the library received an award for the launch of its Leadership Training Program, a 4-week certificate program which further enhances the knowledge, skills, and abilities of all library staff, both part-time and full-time. Not only does this Leadership Training Program inspire future leaders and boost team morale, it also aligns with part of San Bernardino County’s overarching vision, particularly envisioning “a vibrant economy with a skilled workforce that attracts employers who seize the opportunities presented by the county’s unique advantages and provide the jobs that create countywide prosperity.” Alyssa Lovell, librarian II and Leadership Training alumna, remarked on her experience, “It was great to interact with other library staff, not only learning valuable tips to grow as a manager, but engaging with staff from other branches who have diverse leadership experiences to share.” 

Lastly, the library received an award for its implementation of Beanstack, a mobile and web application used to track reading programs for all ages. Since the San Bernardino County Library offered several “Read for Rewards” programs, such as the Summer Reading Program and In-N-Out Cover-to-Cover Program, the utilization of a mobile and web application such as Beanstack is a convenient, easy-to-use way for families to participate, increasing literacy throughout San Bernardino County. With the support of this mobile application, the San Bernardino County Library System circulated over 4 million print and digital items in 2022-2023. Adelia Laguerta, a patron at the Big Bear Lake Branch Library, thanked the staff for its user-friendly interface: “I’m 72 years old and came from the Philippines in the ‘70s. I usually do not feel comfortable with computers, but the staff helped me to become more confident with using technology, including this app. Now, when I bring my grandchildren to the library, I can help them track their reading and earn prizes. I’m a fun Lola!”

Undoubtedly, the San Bernardino County Library continues to provide exemplary services to the community by prioritizing good customer service to both internal and external customers—that is, its staff and patrons. Because the team of over 250 employees continues to collaborate to improve the organization, notable services and projects continue to support over 4 million items circulated and over 150,000 library program attendees. With four new NACo awards to add to their accolades, the San Bernardino County Library is confident that they will continue to epitomize the County’s newest Opportunity Campaign: Opportunity – Welcome to San Bernardino County (

Additional County Update News – July 7, 2023

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