Backstage Library Works

Day-To-Day Responsibilities of an On-Site Project Manager

Projects come in many shapes and sizes. Some can be sent off-site for cataloging and other maintenance. Some are too large, or too fragile, to move; or, the type of work is such that it must be performed at your library, such as an inventory or massive RFID tagging project.

In these cases, Backstage is known for the flexibility of our options for on-site work. After reviewing your project and nailing down specific details, we’ll walk you through some options – whether it makes sense to have a project manager stay on-site for the remainder of your project or to manage it remotely; or, if your team can take care of the work, but our team will be responsible for organizing a procedure to carry it out.

When our team stays on-site with you, what exactly are they doing? What are their responsibilities and expectations, and what can you expect? We sat down with our Collection Management team to hear more about their duties in the day-to-day administration of an on-site project.

Mornings On Location 

Some libraries are comfortable with Backstage staff arriving before open hours to get a little work completed before staff or patrons start arriving. If this is the case, the PM will function as a keyholder, and added to their daily responsibilities will be disarming any alarms, turning on lights, etc.  

When technicians arrive, the PMs work with them to confirm which sections will be worked on that day. If the project is spread across multiple locations, then their day may involve traveling as well.  

General Ongoing Tasks 

Quality control review is performed during technician working hours or their breaks. Otherwise, the bulk of a PM’s time is spent focusing on the big-picture needs of the project. This may include completing reports, organizing meetings, resolving technical issues, updating the project profile, and tracking & analyzing project statistics. They might also be involved with active hiring if a special production team has been organized for this project as opposed to the library’s existing staff.

Life of a Project 

The first couple of weeks of a given project is usually spent hiring the project team and coordinating with the library on a plan for the order in which collections should be worked. If multiple buildings are involved, they’ll establish a trajectory for completing the work across different locations. Once the project team is assembled, the next couple of weeks are spent in training. Let’s say Backstage is helping you complete a library inventory or reclassification: this would mean that new technicians need to be trained on how to operate the library’s ILS and what the key match points will be from the MARC record.

The remainder of the project will involve monitoring, question answering, and adjustment to the workflows or profile as needed while staying on top of quality assurance review. The PM will continue to monitor production and make sure things are on track to finish on time, or ahead of goal.  

Depending on the type of project being completed, the type and weight of the work may be arranged a little differently. Let’s continue the example of performing an inventory, as with our Inventory Plus projects, versus a library reclassification.   

  • Inventory Plus projects have the bulk of “heavy lifting” – literally and metaphorically – during the production phase. The plan sets the stage for how the inventory will proceed, but by its very nature, an inventory brings problems and situations to light that couldn’t have been anticipated. It’s the PM’s job to respond to these changing needs and communicate additions to the project profile with their staff.
  • Reclassification Projects have the heaviest focus placed on the planning phase. The path of each individual book from its old location to the new is meticulously examined and planned out by the PM. It’s the manager’s job throughout the course of the project to execute this plan accurately and efficiently.  

Value of a Project Manager 

The key to a successful project is always in the planning, and in monitoring that the execution of that plan is agile and accurate. Having a captain at the helm means that a dedicated individual knows all of the moving pieces, and that they can change course or provide solutions that remain within the desired scope and outcomes of the overall project. Project Managers operating on-site in particular need to not only have good time management and people skills, but they also have to be able to wear many hats. As one of our PMs put it:

“I am the liaison between Backstage and the client while also managing a team of technicians and being their go-to person for any computer or mechanical issues, personnel issues, etc. I am also responsible for hiring and training the technicians as well. For projects running on multiple sites at once, learning how to multitask is essential.” 

Contact Us

To learn more about our pricing and how Backstage can help you with your collections, you can call us at 1.800.288.1265, visit us online at, or send an email to

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