Our Children’s Librarian, Brittany, is currently working on her Master’s degree in Library Science. She periodically asks questions or shares things she has done in class. This week, Brittany asked to interview me for one of her classes. I decided to kill 2 birds with 1 stone, yep; you are going to get to the interview too! There are 10 questions, so this might take a couple of weeks.
- Please describe your library – what type of library is it, and what types of patrons or users does it serve?
Our library is a public county library that receives its financial support in whole or part from public funds. Although we borrow books from libraries across the state and we share digital resources through the Missouri Libraries 2 Go consortium, we are a standalone library, yep, only the Morgan County Library card works here. We not only serve any citizen in our county, because of the large population of people that vacation at the lake, we decided long ago to allow anyone to get a library card, regardless if they are permanent resident or not. No worries, although the largest part of our funding is at the local level, we can say that the state funds we receive cover the cost of the non-residents.
- How is your library organized (e.g. departments)?
Well, we are a small library, so we really do not have “departments”, but we do have a division of tasks. All staff works with the public and general circulation, yep, even the director. We have a Director, duh, that is me, and an assistant, Jessica, who knows what to do if I go missing. We have 2 children’s positions, Collections and Services. We also have a media relations position and a staff member that orders all the material needed so that we can all do our jobs. So, not really departments like a large library would have, but we all have unique tasks. Just ask any of them, they will tell you I have always have something for them to do.
- What are the most challenging aspects of being a manager/director? What is the most rewarding?
The most challenging aspect of being a director for me personally is working in a small library. At a small library, you wear more hats, for me the building maintenance hat is my least favorite. Filling positions can also be challenging, but if you do it right, it can be the most rewarding aspect of the job. When you can get a good team, everything falls into place.
- What has been the most surprising thing about being a manager/director?
Being called the boss still is weird. I feel more comfortable with the term director, or maybe we should change it to conductor, my job is to direct the library vs. an orchestra or choir. I also mentioned building maintenance, it would be cool to just be worried about books, but there is so much more, 5 years in and I keep learning new aspects of the job. Back to that word, boss, being in charge puts you in a different place. I love my staff and want them to love me, but I recognize that when you are in charge there is a separation, kinda of like being a parent and a best friend does not go together.
- How would you describe your management style, and how did you develop it?
I think I am pretty laid back; I want my staff to be happy and confident in what they do. I know from years of teaching and just being the human that I am, I do better being real. I also think it is important to feel a true sense of belonging and that you are a vital contributor, which means you let me know what is or is not working. I hope my staff feels like they can come to me with any concerns or ideas they might have. Teaching, being a mom and a brutally honest person, plus trial and error, or more like “sink or swim” helped develop my management style.
To be continued…
Upcoming Events: 9/8 Story Time at 10am, 9/9 Board Meeting at 5:15pm, 9/11 STEAM at 10:30, Adult Reading Challenge has started and runs through October 30th, swing by the library for more information