Leaving the Library

Megan Hartline —  July 8, 2015 — Leave a comment

This week I’m leaving my job at one library to move 1,200 miles away and join another library.

I’ve left jobs before, but I’ve never resigned as a manager.  After writing a resignation email to my boss, I was faced with a whole new dilemma: how to tell my team?

Ask A Manager, my go-to resource on all things supervisory, has plenty to say on how to resign – but there’s not a lot out there on specifically how to communicate with your team. Here’s the step-by-step plan I pulled together to let people know their supervisor was leaving.

Make a Transition Plan

Helping decide on new leadership, even if it was interim, became a priority. I’ve worked without a boss before and it felt like steering a book cart with three wonky wheels.

photo of walking feet with wheels of library cart in background

Walking away. Note non-wonky library cart wheels

I wanted to make sure my team knew what was happening after I left. Of course, they know what to do to keep their part of the library humming without day to day direction, but knowing the overall plan is a big help.

I worked with my supervisor to decide what needed attention right away, and how I would share the news with my department.

Tell Direct Reports One-On-One

I met with each of my direct employees to share the news with them. An unscheduled meeting with your boss can have a chilling effect, so I broke into the topic as quickly as possible: “I want to share some news with you about me and my role here.”

After sharing the facts, I moved as quickly into the impact on each employee as quickly as possible: “Of course, this impacts you.” I then shared as much information as I had at that point, including the timeline for settling on a new supervisor.

Tell the Team ASAP

After sharing news with a few individuals, rumors start spreading across the library. I wanted to be as clear as possible, so I sent an email to my team and then my department. Ask A Manager recommends brevity on the order of a few sentences, but my personal style and library culture extends to a few paragraphs of “Here’s the deal” and “I’ll miss you all so much!”.

Exit Feedback

In one of my final acts, I asked my team for feedback about my managerial style. 360 reviews and periodic feedback are always worthwhile, but the manager-employee relationship means that upward feedback will always candor held back. This was a rare opportunity to ask for feedback with no constraints. I sent an email to my group asking:

  • What worked well?
  • What do you wish I’d done differently?
  • Specifically in communication, what different techniques or skills should I try?
  • Any other thoughts?

Return All Library Material

Sometimes library employees make the worst library patrons. I realized at the last minute I needed to turn in all my library materials – including my leadership guides! Now I need the good advice of Library Lost & Found. What are your pro tips for starting a new library manager job?

Megan Hartline


Megan Hartline (@awrybrarian on Twitter) is a librarian in Denver, Colorado. In addition to librarianship, Megan's background is in nonprofit leadership. She would love to visit your library to talk about management, workflows, or customer service.

No Comments

Be the first to start the conversation!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s