Director’s Thoughts #4

7 Dec


I’ve been a library director for a total of almost 4 months!  There are days when I can tell you I have no idea what I’ve done, but I’m constantly busy and for the most part loving my new role. Our previous director, (I’ve been working for this library for the past 8.5 years) allowed us to try new programs and make many decisions based on what we saw were issues on the front lines.  He supported our new ideas and gave us all the credit when things went well.  He was in the role for 30+ years and in the last few years, didn’t spend much time out on the public floor.

Coming from a reference desk where I was always the go-to person for reference questions, reader’s advisory and tech questions in both children’s and adult departments, moving into an office in the staff area has been a huge adjustment.  It’s great to be fairly uninterrupted (I can get a lot of work done), but I also feel extremely disconnected from the community we serve.  So, a few days ago I sent a note to my departments heads making it very clear that if they were short-staffed on a desk anywhere in the library, that I was willing to jump in and help out where it was necessary.  I’m blessed with a large staff, so for the past eight years I’ve learned the ins and outs of children’s reference, but never got a lot of experience working circulation or in the adult department.  So starting in January (because December is nuts!) I’m going to be shadowing different staff members to better learn other areas of the library.  I’ve begun this process already – asking questions, observing what goes on and talking with staff members, but I want to be able to help patrons if I see them looking lost or needing some attention as I walk through the library.

There’s a fine line, I believe between micromanaging and having a clear understanding of how processes work and it’s definitely not my intention to micromanage, but I love to learn new things and as the director, I want to make sure I’m as educated as possible as to what happens in my library!

I already got the chance to work the adult reference desk for a couple hours yesterday.  I helped a gentleman print an insurance policy from his email and helped a woman put a few materials on hold (after figuring out which books in the series she had read and which she hadn’t).  I also troubleshooted (is that a word?) Overdrive on her phone for her so she could listen to books as she travels.  I love helping people and I just have to remember that even though I don’t have one-on-one interactions with patrons everyday, my staff does and it’s my job to make sure those interactions are positive and helpful!


One Response to “Director’s Thoughts #4”

  1. Sheila Lorrett Emerson December 7, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

    Hi Laura,
    From the first day I met you, I’ve always been impressed by your passion, creativity, and dedication to making our community library an extraordinary experence for everyone. From Enchanted Library to the spring production and everything in between, before and after, you’be taken us along with you on a magical ride. Thank you! I can’t wait to see the exciting things you’ll cook up next!

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