Moving to a new library is risky personally and professionally. Will you like living in this town? Will you find success in this environment?
Job choice is even more uncertain in the first leap from librarian to director. Brian Kenney, director of the White Plains Public Library, shared what to look for in a new library director job in Publishers Weekly. He has great ideas for figuring out a library’s internal culture:
View the library’s hiring process as a microcosm for how the library operates. The best hiring processes are collegial, involving people from different levels of the organization, and perhaps the community.
Use those librarian research skills in the job hunt. Kenney finds clues about the potential for success in everything from the library board minutes to the “love factor”.
Kenney speaks to an audience of librarians choosing their first director position intentionally, but I hear more often of librarians stumbling into directorship in order to address a pressing vacancy in their own institution. These librarians never intended to rise to administration, but they see a need for leadership in the library they love.
What about you? Did you critically evaluate your library before joining it? Chime in below in the comment section about whether you intentionally chose your first directorship (or plan to do so!).