Serving as a public library director can be one of the most interesting, challenging, and rewarding jobs that our society has to offer. The opportunity to make a difference in a community and in the lives of the people who live in that community is limited only by your abilities, training, knowledge, commitment, and desire.
The information below-- and within the other Governance & Administration sections of this website-- will provide you with some of the essential information that you need to succeed in your position as a public library director in Wisconsin.
Who Runs the Library?
The mission of most public libraries is to support the educational, recreational, and informational needs of the community. Providing a large number of services to meet the needs of a diverse population requires a large supporting cast, including trustees, the library director and staff, ancillary groups like Friends and Foundations, and representatives of municipal government. When all members of the team know their responsibility and carry out their particular tasks, the library can run smoothly. When one of the players attempts to take on the job of another, friction may cause a breakdown.
The following resources may provide assistance in clarifying the roles and responsibilities of each player on the team:
Roles and Responsibilities Matrix
New Director Orientation Checklist (Winnefox)
Public Librarian Certification
The division issues certificates to public librarians, per Wis. Stat. sec. 43.09(1). Qualifications for certification are based on education, training, and experience. Certification for public library directors is required in Wisconsin to ensure that the public libraries in the state are administered by highly qualified library personnel. The statutory grade level required of a director depends upon the population of the municipality(s) that established that library.
As of March 2020, all applications for public librarian certification must be submitted via email. See the accordion below of details on how to apply for first-time and renewal certificates.
The Certification Manual for Wisconsin Public Library Directors contains information about public librarian certification, types of certificates available, certification renewal, and statutory compliance.
PI-2450 Certification Application
PI-2453 Continuing Education Activity Report
The Administrative Essentials for Wisconsin Public Library Directors is the companion document to the Trustee Essentials.
A look at the table of contents quickly demonstrates how complex the position of public library director has become. As a public library director, you are expected to know everything from how to work with a board of trustees to how to interpret copyright law. You are expected to be able to develop and administer a budget for the library and to comply with complex government regulations on a wide variety of topics. Most importantly, you must oversee the effective delivery of library and information services to the community.
This handbook can be particularly helpful to directors of small public libraries and those with limited prior administrative training and experience. At the same time, it will offer a valuable review for experienced library directors and can help focus thinking and suggest resources when dealing with challenging or unique situations.
Director Boot Camp
This page is under construction. More coming soon!