Challenges of being a library district

There is an incredible sense of responsibility to set things up and spend money wisely. The voters trust the library to do the right thing. That's nice, but scary at the same time. There are people who will help through this transition, but it is normal to feel intimidated by this responsibility. 

Mistakes are inevitable. They aren't the end of the world, but learn to forgive everyone for mistakes that happen. Accept that mistakes are part of the process. 

Maintaining a life/work balance is challenging particularly for the library director. The board, staff, and director all need to be aware of this. As a board or staff member be supportive of the director's need to balance life and work - a burnt out director isn't going to help the district succeed. If you are the director make time to relax and take care of yourself during these first years. It's impossible to get everything completed as quickly as you would like, and you must accept that as you work through the process. 

Helping library staff make the transition will be an important part of the director's job, but the board needs to be supportive as well. No matter how much you might have talked to your staff about the district it's all theory until the district actually comes into being. 

There's something about it being real that makes everything different. Be prepared to have conversations about the transition. 

There is a need to continue educating the public. Chances are they don't completely understand what being a library district means. They also might be looking for big changes - changes that take time to implement. Do your best to keep them informed about what is happening at the library. 

ASPeN: The New Library Directory

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