Friday, November 10, 2017

#NYLA2017 : The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Library Director

Cassie Guthrie 

Guthrie discussed these five rights of the library director:
  1. A Fare Wage - Finding and retaining the right library director means attracting the right candidates, which means providing a fare wage.
  2. Feedback - You need to give regular positive and negative feedback.  You should give an annual evaluation.  However don’t wait for the annual review to give feedback.
  3. A Unified and Loyal Board - Board members need to respect the collective decisions of the board.  When a library director makes a mistake, the board needs to remain loyal.
  4. Freedom from Meddling - Two most difficult: special treatment requests and overstepping bounds (micromanaging).  For example, the board should not manage library staff.
  5. A Free Hand in Personnel Management - Trustees supervise only one person: the director.  Trustees need to be careful in talking to staff about the library director.  Trustees should not undermine the director’s ability to manage the staff. Recognize that when you (board member) walks into the library, you are not an average patron.  Be careful with how and when you give feedback or input.
The Library Trustee’s Declaration of Expectations:
  • A Hard Day’s Work - In return for a fare wage, the trustees expect the director to do the work.
  • Effective Personnel Management - Trustees should support professional development requests to receive more training in Personnel Management.
  • Options, Not Ultimatums - Give the board all of the available options they need in order to make strategic decisions.
  • Loyalty - The Director needs to be loyal to the decisions of the trustees.
An idea is to have library board training as a part of the monthly board meeting.
If necessary, bring in a third party to help with specific situations.

The Pyramid of Public Library Transformation
  • Traits of trustees who transform 
    • Curiosity
    • Courage
    • Aspirational
    • Politically aware 
  • Good and honest communications
  • Trustees and director understand their roles
The board governs, the director manages.

The Regents see the role of the trustee to be care, loyalty and obedience.

The director is the chief executive officer of the library.
Trustees are the chief governing body.
Trustees do not do operational work.
The trustees plan for the library’s future, development policies.

Recorded webinar “The critical partnership” - Jerry Nichols (handout)

The library Board President is the liaison between the board and the director.  The library board meeting is key for communications. 

The library director should update the board at the board meeting.  Send in advance, so the board can read it and be ready to ask questions.

If the board does not like how the director is doing his/her job, that conversation  needs to happen in a board meeting.

Hold board meetings when the community can attend.
Adhere to the open meetings law.
Be open and honest with the community.
Be fair and consistent with your policies.
The board should understand the library’s policies.  The policies need to be good. The policies need to be followed.

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