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  Public Library Director's Guidebook

    Important Information Worksheet

New directors are encouraged to connect with their Library System as soon as they can after starting their new job. This will be the fastest way to obtain vital information needed to run the library and to connect with peers throughout your System who will help answer questions that arise, be there to commiserate with and serve as models for your library so you don’t have to recreate the wheel at every turn.

As a new library director you have a tremendous opportunity to positively impact your Library and your community within the first hours, days, weeks and months of your arrival.
Public libraries are one of the most important, critical service organizations in Nebraska. People rely on public libraries for education and entertainment, enjoyment and fulfillment. You have been entrusted with the leadership of this essential community institution and your community is counting on you to not only maintain the library’s services but to improve them to meet their changing needs. In all things you do as director of the library think “community first” and you will rarely go wrong.

Quality library service begins with you. The tone you set with the staff, trustees, patrons, and community-at-large from your very first days on the job will help determine your success or failure in the library.

Everyone has their own style for tackling their first day at a new job, but at the very least you are meeting your staff, getting a tour of the library facility, and sorting out the essential documents you need to manage the library.

Take the time to learn how things work at the library before prioritizing change. Coming in like a whirlwind and running around ―making things right‖ (firing volunteers, heavy weeding of the collection, disposing of a donated collection that seems useless) can destabilize an organization if done without understanding the whole nature of the organization – even if these are things that ultimately need to happen. Calmly learning about the people, collection, and facility may take some time but is well worth it in the long run.

Here’s a starter checklist to get you going:

*Excerpted and adapted from: Aldrich, R. (2010). Handbook for New Public Library Directors in New York State. PDF.

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