New Starts in New Cities

On July 16, I started a new position as Library Director of the Huntingdon Valley Library in Pennsylvania.  Two weeks prior to that, I left NEKLS, got married, packed up my two cats and moved in with my husband here in Center City Philadelphia.  Luckily, I like change.  In preparation for this move away from consulting and back into leading a public library, I picked the brains of my peers, colleagues and friends.  I’ve done my very best to follow their advice…including:

  • Scheduling one-on-one meetings with the staff.  I’m about half done, but I think these have been very enlightening.
  • Planning  Staff In-service where we visit other area libraries for ideas, inspiration and comparison purposes.
  • Meeting with the Lower Moreland Township Manager and his Buildings and Grounds Supervisor. We have already scheduled quarterly meetings to stay in touch and see how we can help each other out.
  • Meeting with the Friends of the Library to see how exactly they would like to work with us – I think I’ll be resurrecting the “Request for Funding” pages I used at Tongie – they provide not just a money amount, but details and justification for the request so the Friends can make an informed decision about what to fund!  Seems reasonable and professional and respectful.
  • Meeting with the Web design team (two young men currently starting their Junior years of college).  We are going to start using a wordpress blog created by the previous director for dynamic content and embed the rss feed onto the front page of the more static library web site.  I’m happy with this – we can upload flyers, quickly post articles and augment the official web site for no additional cost, after the Web guys (ABC Innovations) link the two sites permanently.
  • Communicating with Be in The Know Notes – After all of these various meetings, I have written up the notes as a memo for staff.  There are 13 or so of us and although old school, a memo seemed the best way to ensure that they all get the same info at the same time in the same way.  I’ve also set up a staff email distribution list (using whichever email they check the most) and one of my pages, Phil, suggested and then set us up with Dropbox as a shared file drive!
  • Working as Teams – There are four people helping with collection development, in the absence of a Policy or training.  They would like both and I’m willing to provide it.  I love the idea of having a collection development team – Childrens, AV, Large Print, Standing Orders and Adults – so we can distribute the work.  Determining the logistics will be key.

So far, so good.  Next up is to re-start the Strategic Planning process interrupted by the departure of the previous director and clean/tidy/paint/renovate the library.  My goal: Make a Good First Impression…and that’s hard with damaged window sills, cruddy tile, damaged corners, general messiness and cobwebs.

Wish us luck!