New Library Directors Handbook

Personnel Overview

Library staff is the most important resource you have. Your library staff will determine whether or not a customer enjoys coming to the library. Even if your collection is not new and your building needs some work, a smiling, friendly staff member can make a customer's experience pleasant. Likewise staff that ignore customers will make any experience the public has uncomfortable.

Managing personnel is probably the most challenging part of any managerial job. You're working with people who have their own needs and agendas. Different people require different management styles, which further complicates the job. The other issue to be aware of is the legal trouble a library can get into over its personnel policy (or lack thereof). You will have your own management style, but a good personnel policy can guide you and assist you in treating people equitably.

This chapter covers the personnel policy, hiring, interviewing, evaluations, promotions, discipline, grievances, and finally some employment laws. Although we can give you a basic introduction to each, you should talk with other library directors or read articles, books, etc. about this topic. Personnel management is complex, but the thing to remember is that communication and treating people fairly and with respect are the best tools you have.