Category Archives: Guidelines for the Recruitment of a Public Library System Director

Guidelines for the Recruitment of a New Director

This important function belongs to the administrative board of trustees.  The Mississippi Code §39-3-17 (1) (d) states that the trustees of the administrative board shall:


 Employ a library system director, prescribe his/her duties, fix his/her compensation, and remove him/her for cause.

Trustees are encouraged to be thoughtful and hire the best candidate for their library system.  There is much diversity among library directors.  The make-up of the library system itself and staff will dictate the type of individual sought.  Once again, the Mississippi Code provides essential information; § 39-3-17 (2) states:


There shall be one (1) library director for each library system. Said library system director shall have such educational qualifications as are prescribed by the Mississippi Library Commission. The library system director shall administer and establish procedures according to policies established by the administrative board of trustees. His or her duties shall include: (a) employment of staff with the approval of the board of trustees; (b) prescription of staff duties; (c) removal of staff for cause; (d) preparation of the budget; (e) financial and statistical management; (f) reporting to board of trustees; and (g) other acts necessary for the orderly and efficient administration of the library system.


Qualifications for Directorship:

Trustees are encouraged to hire a director with the professional degree (MLS/MLIS) to avoid the necessity to request an educational waiver from the Board of Commissioners of the Mississippi Library Commission.  The MLS/MLIS degree should be conferred by an American Library Association accredited institution. The American Library Association maintains a list of accredited programs of study ( library directors must request official transcripts be sent directly from the registrar of their university to the Mississippi Library Commission.


Job Announcements and Recruitment:

The Library Commission, particularly the library consultants, will assist trustees in this process.  Commission staff will review job announcements and offer suggestions if requested.  Library consultants can help find examples of job announcements to use as a starting point.  Consultants will identify placement options for the announcement including MLC’s website, library schools, and library publications. There are no cost/low cost options available for announcement placement.

Expensive options can be used as needed to broaden the search if the response is insufficient.  Some library systems may even hire outside consultants to lead the search for them.  This is permissible, but not required.  Most library systems have had successful searches without hiring an outside firm.