Kapiti is an intelligent, well-read community. It deserves a manager that will maintain a quality library service …
Change and continuity
By Leslie Clague
I understand the Kapiti Coast has a new library manager pending. My five years as district library manager at Kapiti were most rewarding and a great way to end my library career.
Mind you, it has been close to six years since I departed. I am aware that the power of technology is changing the library experience somewhat, however there are some key skills necessary in a library manager that don’t change.
I trust these abilities will feature in the Kapiti Coast District Council’s selection process.
Qualified for the position
Firstly, it is vital that the library manager for the Kapiti Coast has the full education necessary in library and information science: a master’s degree in these subjects.
Kapiti is an intelligent, well-read community.
It deserves a manager that will maintain a quality library service, not necessarily a social institution, but one where the skill of reading and research is rewarded and celebrated.
I list the following skills in no particular order.
The first key skill is listening. A good library manager needs to listen to both the community and staff and be able to appreciate other people’s points of view.
Secondly, the library manager needs to be supportive, again of the community and staff.
With four libraries dotted along the Coast, each serving its own unique neighbourhood, the library manager must support the staff in providing quality collections and services to each location.
A third skill is having vision. A vision of the library service that continues into the future is vital. The vision needs to be created after listening to others and as a group effort on the part of management.
As a public library, the vision/plan will tie in with the Council’s long term plan.
Drive, communication and promotion
Another important skill is drive. A library manager must have the push necessary to make things happen.
Lastly, the library manager must have quality communication skills. Library services need promotion: within Council, out in the community and with staff.
There are some people who think libraries are dead and gone.
It’s all on your phone these days, yes?
Getting specialist advice
One of the worst things I have ever heard about a library service recently was a person coming to the library to research something. They went to the reference desk, assuming they would be talking to a professional reference librarian. Unfortunately at this library that was not the case.
After explaining what they were looking for, the person behind the desk responded, “Have you tried Googling it?” They weren’t joking.
A quality library manager for Kapiti will make sure this type of response simply doesn’t happen.
I look forward to hearing who the new library manager will be.
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