Interested, Invested and Involved

From stepping into the building for the first time to attending my first library board meeting tonight, I can’t believe how quickly my first two weeks as director have gone by. I’ve done everything from touring the building and meeting the staff to managing invoices, placing orders for new materials, and even interviewing and hiring new staff! I arrive every day at 8:00 a.m. and am amazed at how fast 5:00 comes around. The board of trustees, Friends of the Library and Library Foundation sponsored a great reception the Thursday evening after my first day, during which I met many members of the community, including the mayor and a few city councilmen. I interviewed with the local newspaper, the Oskaloosa Herald, Osky News, an online news site, and CRI News, the local television news station. I almost felt like a celebrity!

One of the questions I had to answer was “What are your plans for the library?” When I interviewed for the position, I told the board that I wouldn’t consider any major changes within the first 6 months to a year. My first intentions were to get to know the staff, the board and the community, and then I said I would work from there. One small goal I’ve been working on, though, is increasing the library’s social media presence. So far since I’ve started helping provide content, the reach of the library’s Facebook page has risen to about 6,000 (up from ~250) with an average of nearly 200 people interacting with our content weekly, and we’ve gained a couple of new followers on Twitter. At the board meeting tonight, I presented this information, explained that I’ll be forming a social media and website team with staff, and then requested the policy committee work on developing a social media policy, which will help guide and inform the team. I’m very excited to see where we can go with social media.

Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only areas in which I’m getting involved, though. Day by day, I’m learning the collection, training at the desks, and working with the staff in understanding how they’ve gotten along so far and coming up with ways in which we, as a team, can improve the services of the library. In his closing remarks at tonight’s meeting, the president of the board of trustees said that I was a breath of fresh air for the library. He explained that I was the first director to express an interest in meeting with each of the board members individually and mentioned that I was also the first to attend the teen advisory board’s Annual Cemetery Walk. I’m just doing what they asked me to do, though – be interested, invested and involved in as many of the details of the library as possible. To me, that’s what it means to be a library director.

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