Having an idea of some of the questions that the hiring manager is likely to ask in an interview can help you to prepare well for the interview. This article provides you with the top 25 library director’s interview questions along with their sample answers.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
I have recently graduated with a master’s degree in library science. Previously, I have been performing a similar role at New York University. During this time, I gained a lot of experience in strategic planning, ensuring compliance with the law, and supervising library staff among others. I have also developed helpful skills including budgeting, staffing, coordinating, planning, directing, and communication skills. I have been looking for an environment with a bigger challenge to help me grow in my career. After evaluating myself against the requirement in your job posting, I believe that your institution can offer me such an environment. If all goes well and I get this opportunity, I will use my skills, experience, and education to exceed your expectation for this role.
2. What Are The Roles Of A Library Director?
The roles of a library director vary depending on the size of the institution. However, the main duties include creating employment and service policies, preparing and overseeing the budget, public, and government relations, strategic planning, fundraising, ensuring compliance with the law, reporting to the governing board, recruiting staff, motivating staff, and hiring staff among other duties.
3. What Are The Qualities That A Library Director Need To Be Successful?
Besides having the required academic qualifications, a good library director must have considerable knowledge of training, supervision, and staff utilization principles.
He or she must possess strong directing, organizing, planning, coordinating, staffing, evaluating, budgeting, and interpersonal skills. To be successful in this role, a library director must have the ability to work independently, prepare administrative reports, and be committed to excellence in his or her customer service.
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
The major challenge I encountered was handling difficult staff who didn’t want to embrace new changes in the library department. However, I believe that effective communication including getting the necessary support can help in handling this issue. Thus whenever I had to implement changes, I would involve all the stakeholders. I would explain everything in simplicity until everyone gets to understand the concepts. Sometimes it required me to involve a professional to take us through the process. When everyone understood the changes, I realized that all the staff began to embrace the new changes.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Library Director?
When I get to my office, I always begin my day by checking through my emails and voice messages to find out if there is anything that requires my urgent intervention. However, on a typical day, I do the following tasks:
- Supervise the library staff to create a harmonious team environment
- Oversee policies and procedures for library staff such as training, scheduling, development, evaluation
- Participating in the hiring and selection of library staff
- Developing print and nonprint materials including organization, selection, preservation, withdrawal, maintenance, and disposal of materials
- Preparing and presenting library budget proposal for approval when necessary
- Participating in the organization, planning, and management of automation and technical services for the library
- Collecting and accounting fees, fines, and other charges
- Directing public relations program in promoting and publicizing the library services, programs, and collections within the community
- Helping with the preparation of meeting agendas, and material, as well as participating in Library Board of Trustees meetings
- Overseeing the volunteer program including hiring, training, supervising, and evaluating
- Maintaining knowledge of new advancements in the library profession
- Interact with town employees for the maintenance of the library equipment including the building
- Deliberating with the Library Board of Trustees to develop operating policies as well as to review the library’s menu of services
- Creating short and long term goals for services, programs, and collections to keep up with the mission statement and policies of the library
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience?
I have been a library director for 6 years now. The role has been quite interesting and rewarding. During this time, I gained a lot of experience in strategic planning, ensuring compliance with the law, and supervising library staff among others. I have also developed helpful skills including budgeting, staffing, coordinating, planning, directing, and communication skills. In the course of this service, I interacted effectively with appointed and elected officials, library staff and volunteers, town employees, the general public, and the library’s business contacts. Given a chance, I believe that I will succeed in this role as required.
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Are Required For This Role?
To succeed in this role, a library director must understand and interpret library rules, policies, and procedures. To do this, he must utilize his knowledge of the theories, principles, practices, and objectives of library management and library science. He must develop strategies for keeping up with the latest development in this field. By doing this, he will gain the necessary knowledge of library resources such as electronic, print, and non-print as well as knowledge of library automation. He must have a creative and innovative mindset to initiate, plan, and follow through on projects, services, and programs.
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge You Foresee In This Job?
The biggest challenge that I foresee in this role is keeping up with the changing technical requirements. Technology, as well as the internet, have a huge impact on this field and the way library delivers services. They are changing the way things are done in the library. For instance, the rapid digitalization of information will impact operations and library systems within a very short time. This might result in gaps in the skill required to operate a digital library.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated At Work?
I strongly believe that I have to represent the library at community and professional meetings. Ths I must remain motivated to give a good impression about the library that I am representing. However, my ability to interact with different people such as town employees, elected and appointed officials, library business contacts, library staff and volunteers, the general public, and others enhances my morale to work as a library director. With such a conducive environment to work in, I can supervise, organize, plan, evaluate, and supervise the work of my staff and volunteers in diversified library activities
10. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?
When I got promoted to my current position, it was hard for me to handle my old coworkers. We had shared so much and managing them was quite difficult. They would not take me seriously even on issues that mattered. I found that I was even favoring them. This made the situation worse since they regarded me to be more like them and could hesitantly obey my orders. This intimidated me such that I felt like stepping down from my current position. However, I discussed my concerns with my director and she encouraged me to hold on and keep boundaries.
I held a meeting with all the employees and we addressed the change in roles. I allowed the employees to ask some questions and I responded to them appropriately. From there, I took it as my initiative to support employees’ efforts and make sure that they have everything they need to accomplish their goals. Today, this is not an issue and the staff acknowledges me as their library director. This situation taught me that time and the right leadership determines a successful transition.
11. Why Do You Feel You Are Qualified For This Role?
Based on my experience, skills, education, and qualities, I believe that I am the best match for this role. I have a master’s degree in library science. I have done a similar role for 6 years. During this time I gained a lot of experience in managing staff, budget, and library resources. I understand library policies, rules, and procedures and I can interpret them effectively. Previously, I have initiated, organized, and followed through on different projects, services, and programs that have benefited our library users. Besides, I have strong communication, organizational, reporting, planning, and time management skills. I can also interact effectively with appointed and elected officials, library staff and volunteers, town employees, the general public, and the library’s business contacts. Should I get this opportunity, I will use all my skills, experience, and knowledge to become an asset to your institution.
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement
I developed strategies for promoting and publicizing library services, programs, and collections within the community. This increased the number of users who used our library facility by 47%. I also set affordable charges that every user would pay to be allowed in the library. With the cash we collected, we were able to pay most of the library bills without many struggles. I then introduced a digital cataloging system that made it easy for our users to search for books and other reading materials easily.
13. What Actionable Ways Have You Used In Your Previous Role To Improve Your Employee Relations?
The first thing that I did was digitalize most of the activities. I introduced a mobile team communication app that enhanced inclusion, transparency, and trust amongst the employee. The app encouraged open communication that allowed every employee to participate and contribute hence driving up engagements. At the end of the day, we had a more loyal and higher-performing workforce. I also created a system of checks and balances to encourage constructive two-way feedback. That way communication became fast, work become less stressful, and issues would be resolved quickly.
14. What Elements Do You Consider When Formulating A Library Yearly Budget?
When developing a library’s annual budget, I always ensure that the projections and predictions I make are correct. I seek to understand the library’s goals regarding revenue, new projects, expansion, and spending. I then find information to determine the realistic projection for income. I also find it important to evaluate data from the past years to make adjustments that reflect predictable economic changes.
15. Are You, Familiar, With Using Budgeting Software Programs?
I have been using budgeting software programs in my current role. Budgeting software programs are important when compiling data, storing information, and comparing financial reports. I am familiar with Prophix and Centage software programs. I find them easy to navigate and they are also user-friendly. Additionally, I am ready to learn the ins- and –outs of other programs.
16. How Do You React When You Encounter A Member Of Staff Who Is Hard To Train?
I have experienced this many times. This happens mostly when the library switches to new software. I realized that changing workflows and employees having to learn new ways of doing things caused them distress. Since I am aware of this issue, I have developed strategies that have enabled me to bring in solutions as soon as possible. I look for a software representative to train employees using simple demonstrations while incorporating the functioning of the old software with the new ones.
17. In Your View, Which Integrated Library System Do You Find To Be The Most Effective?
I am familiar with several integrated library systems but I prefer KOHA. KOHA reduces the processing time of library items due to Z39.50 and MARC compatibility. It also allows online supervision hence reducing the line management tasks of senior staff. When searching and issuing items, it allows easy access to information. Besides, KOHA has simplified library management through the automated collection of data.
18. Why Is It Important For A Library To Have An Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC)?
It is essential to have an OPAC in the library because it can be used by anyone regardless of whether they are tech-savvy. With basic training, anybody can use OPAC to search for books. OPAC enhances better productivity and proper management of books. It also enhances accurate reports that enable the tracking of the ins and outs of the library.
19. What Is Your Recruiting Approach?
I always make sure that I have hired a qualified workforce with the required education, skills, and experience for the job. I also take into consideration what the facility can offer a new employee who is coming on board. I look for candidates who demonstrate confidence and creativity during the interview process. To find gifted job candidates, the first step I take is to check the institution’s job applicant database when it is time to fill a position.
20. As Library Director, What Is Your Management Style?
I believe in building and working with a team. Each member of the team should be clear on their role, know where they fit in and feel as though they can depend on one another. I also believe in real-time feedback, open communication, and transparency. I have introduced digital apps to facilitate the library department to openly share issues they go through and solve them quickly.
21. Take Me Through How You Plan For A Productive Meeting?
I always hold a meeting when necessary and I ensure to include the purpose of that meeting. Before holding the meeting, I send the agenda to the attendees so that they can prepare themselves to offer feedback during the meeting. I select key people who have specific duties to play to attend the meeting. If the key decision-makers are not in a position to attend, I do postpone the meeting to a latter-day.
During the meeting, we set the meeting rules so that we can all remain focused without any interruptions. Before leaving for the meeting, I normally ask whether there is any roadblock or concern. Also, at the end of the meeting, I ask the attendees for their feedback concerning the duration, timing, content, and effectiveness of that meeting.
22. Highlight How You Would Develop And Maintain An Atmosphere Conducive To Learning
I will directly or indirectly through delegation ensure that the library’s cleanliness is maintained and clutter is eliminated. I will also teamwork with other library staff to add special touches such as healthy plants, comfortable chairs, and warm lighting. I also believe that adding attractive signage and displays can help users to navigate the library easily.
23. Should You Get This Job, How Will You Adopt The Use Of Social Media To Increase Engagement And Market The Library
I believe that social media is very key in promoting the library. If I get this job, I will look for talents that can help me manage social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts for the library. I will also come up with a marketing strategy to promote any upcoming library events.
24. How Do You Plan To Maintain A Customer-Oriented Space As A Library Director?
I will encourage and provide training to library staff on how to uphold customer service as well as assist those in need of locating books or any other library resource. I will also encourage my staff to demonstrate the best approach to conducting research to learners while showing patience and care.
25. How Soon Can You To Take Up The Role Should You Be Hired?
My current contract requires me to give a one-month notice before I can exit the office. I can take up the position as soon as I fulfill that requirement.
These questions help you to know what to expect in your library director interview. Practice them to know all the areas you are likely to be tested on. In doing so, you will impress your interviewers