Here - Chief Officers of State Library Agencies

Library Directors 101
YOUR NEW ROLE Script—March 31, 2015
SLIDE #1 Welcome to Library Directors 101, brought to you by COSLA, the Chief Officers of State Library
Agencies, an independent organization of the chief officers of state and territorial agencies designated
as the state library administrative agency and responsible for statewide library development. COSLA's CE
(Continuing Education) Connector project is supported through funding from the Institute of Museum
and Library Services (IMLS) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
SLIDE #2 Congratulations on your new job as library director. This COSLA series was developed to
introduce you to the many and unique facets of your new job. The series is intended as a very broad
overview to provide some insights that will both inform and, hopefully, inspire you. New directors are
encouraged to introduce themselves to their State Librarian as soon as they start. Many state library
agencies or local/regional library services have programs in place to assist and train new library
directors. While this is an exciting, important, and sometimes daunting position that you have accepted,
you are not alone.
SLIDE # 3 There are four videos in this series: This one is the first and will explore your new role as we
talk about ethics, values, leadership and your own commitment to our field.
The other three episodes in this series cover:
#2 Community Relations – the director is an outwardly-focused position in the library, this session will
explore that concept
#3 Planning and project management – the director is the futurist for the library and while you may have
participated in planning activities in the past, now you’ll be leading the charge in planning for your
library’s future and implementing that plan.
# 4 Asset management – Finally, this episode looks at how you will be managing all the assets of your
library system - which includes buildings, your collection, and your staff
You’ve assumed an important role in your community and in the greater field of information and
librarianship. Your new job involves leadership and management.
SLIDE # 4 Let’s talk about the important duties of your new role:
You might think about these responsibilities as concentric circles – There is no one place to start, no
circle that is more important than the other. These are your duties:
1. You have a duty to your library – to sustain and build important services and assets
2. You have a duty to your local community – to recognize the dynamic characteristics of your
community and to adjust your services to meet changing needs in your community; you
must value every aspect of the community you serve and be inclusive.
3. You have a duty to your region and state, as most library services are enhanced through
partnerships and collaboration.
4. And you have a duty to the profession and tradition of public libraries - to the universe of
public library service across the globe and through time. You have accepted responsibility
for the grand tradition of information access and literacy. This legacy is now yours to
Of course, all of these duties involve Leadership, especially as it relates to your duties to your library and
The library is a direct reflection of the director. If the director is engaging, enthusiastic, and
outward focused, so will be the library.
SLIDE #5 The library director must be a manager as well. Peter Drucker notes “Managers only get credit
for two things: innovation and marketing.” Be mindful of these two roles because they are not the
same. He also says, “Management is doing things right: Leadership is doing the right things.”
Know your leadership style and build on your strengths. If you are not sure, consider taking a
class or attending a leadership institute. Your local Chamber of Commerce or business
development agency may sponsor leadership training. Your state or regional library association
or your State Library may have a program as well. Learn how to be the best leader you can be.
Become active in your state library association. Join a committee where you can play a
leadership role, be there to learn, find mentors.
SLIDE # 6 For library directors, there are specific ethics and values that are the legacy of our field:
The concept that the library provides equal access for all:
Slide # 7 That intellectual freedom is to be preserved and that no act of censorship occurs
Slide # 8 That our patron’s privacy and confidentiality is to be protected
Slide # 9 That we give attention to policies and procedures approved by our governing
authorities and that we apply these equally and fairly
Slide # 10 That we preserve intellectual property rights for the creative persons whose original
works fill our shelves and online resources; we observe copyright laws and take steps to prevent
others from violating intellectual property rights
Slide #11 We share our collection with other libraries and actively work to increase access to
information for everyone around the globe through resource sharing
Slide # 12 The library provides equal access to everyone in the community
Slide # 13 You are OUTWARDLY FOCUSED - you serve the community and the universe of public
library service
SLIDE # 14 For more detail on these values – see the Idaho Commission for Libraries ABLE 12 Ethics and
Public Service online course.
The American Library Association has also published a Code of Ethics for Librarians. Check it out—it is
included in the resources accompanying this presentation.
SLIDE # 15 Perhaps you are new to the community or maybe you’ve lived there a long time – Either way,
you must get out from behind your desk, walk out of the library and reach out to your community. Your
library should be adapting to change and responding to needs. As the director, listen and be caring.
Slide # 16 Develop a plan on how to get to know your community and for them to know you.
Ask your friends group, boards, or other library leadership to introduce you to different
community groups and organizations.
Slide # 17 In your first few weeks, meet with one or two people who are recognized as
community leaders. Tell them simply that you want to introduce yourself and to hear what
they feel are the important activities and needs of your community. The first time you
meet, make sure it is outside of the library; end your meeting with an invitation for them to
visit the library for a personal tour and to meet the staff.
Slide # 18 Are there clubs, church groups, or civic organizations in your community that you
could join or speak to? What are the most appropriate ones for you and the library to get
involved with quickly?
Slide # 19 As you network, listen for opportunities that relate to library services. Keep notes,
report your findings to your board. Generate some ideas for change.
SLIDE # 20 In this new role, you will need to set a shining example as you pursue ongoing and continual
professional development.
Slide # 21 Become a member in your state’s library association, in regional groups, and the
American Library Association. Attend conferences and encourage your board and staff to
attend. Include a note about your professional development activities in your monthly report.
Slide # 22 Call the State Library and learn how they can support you in your new position. Many
state libraries provide onsite and online learning.
Slide # 23 Subscribe to the Wyoming webinar calendar of free learning opportunities and other
providers of continuing education. There is quality library training available to you free online –
make a point to attend and learn something new every month.
Take charge of your staff’s and board’s professional development by sponsoring training for
them at your library and by making professional development part of staff’s work plans.
Slide # 24 We’ve covered a lot, but there is one final part of this introduction that needs your
consideration – YOU MUST HAVE A VISION for your library.
Here are a few case studies of inspiring stories of how libraries are transformative, get inspired by these
The library as a valued center of the community. These two examples serve large and
very small communities, but they are passionate about their role as a community
center. Salt Lake City situated their building right along their new light rail line to make
it easy to get to. There are family activities and programs and they pioneered the
coffee-shop-in-the-library idea. It’s truly a destination in their city. The Belgrade
community library in a tiny town in Montana shares a parking lot with the town hall.
Their programs and community outreach earned them the Best Small Library in America
award from Library Journal in 2015.
SLIDE # 25 These libraries take their role as the cornerstone of literacy, information, and life-long
learning very seriously and are not afraid to try something new…
SLIDE # 26 For examples of how libraries can be transformative, how about these:
An abandoned Walmart in McAllen, Texas was transformed into a community library,
and The Pima County Library is putting a new spin on the book mobile with a traveling
book bike in Tucson, Arizona.
SLIDE # 27 Think of the possibilities as more of our patrons access information online – libraries have a
role in making resources available – like with the Library of Congress Chronicling America project- it’s
individual libraries and archives that are digitizing and contributing content to that growing online
resource. Are your local newspapers archived there yet?
Slide # 28 If you feel a bit overwhelmed, that’s normal. Your new job is essential for your community
and we’ve just covered some BIG ideas. Thank you for watching this first session and continue with us
to view the other segments in this series: Community Relations, Strategic Planning/Project
Management and Asset Management.