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Public Library Trustee Toolkit: Hiring a New Library Director

“The selection of a competent library director can be the most important single act undertaken by the board of trustees.” – Idaho Commission for Libraries 

“The most important asset of any library goes home at night' – Timothy Healy  


The Trustee Toolkit: Hiring a Library Director is intended for use by library board members or trustees when faced with the important task of hiring a new leader to run their library.  Hiring a director is one of the primary responsibilities of many boards – a process is important for success, setting a trajectory for the future course of the library and the community it serves.   

While the hiring process may be prescribed by local state and municipal laws and rules, the materials shared here were created and selected because they apply broadly to most situations.  Sample tools and templates are a starting point for boards and are intended to be modified for local use. 

CHECKLIST– a step-by-step framework of the search, selection, and hiring process.  

The checklist includes links to resources and reference materials.

Editable templates/samples of resources:

To access all the samples and templates in one handy PDF resource packet – click here.  


reference materials:

Manuals/Handbooks from State Libraries: MinnesotaWisconsinWyomingMassachusettsMontanaIdahoNew Jersey

Annie E. Casey monograph series on leadership transitions – this series was published to assist nonprofit boards to before and during a transition in leadership.  

Happily Ever After: Board-Director Relationships that Work!  - a 4 part webinar series by Catherine Hakala-Ausperk focused on creating a strong foundation with clearly defined roles and responsibilities that will ease the impact of changes in management personnel at the library.

Trustee Trouble: a great introduction for new library board members.  For tips on the transition/succession, refer to episodes # 4, #7, and #10.

Washington State Library Public Library Trustee Wiki –scroll down for “Steps for Hiring a Director”

This toolkit was developed through COSLA's CE (Continuing Education) Connector project in April 2015, supported through state library volunteers and made possible in part through funding by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.