Articles reviewing the challenges of assuming a library directorship typically begin in the middle of the story. The new hire arrives from another campus to face a range of challenges. The accounts from there go on to extract a general map of the initial experiences along with helpful tools to navigate this intimidating terrain. That view, we suggest, obscures natural fault lines within the community of new directors. These divisions can fundamentally influence the initial experiences upon which the authors are offering their advice.

On such variable concerns the route by which the successful applicant has been named the new director. Some are in-house candidates with specific experience in the library they will now lead, while others are outside candidates who face the added challenge to understand the ways that their understanding of other institutions will translate to the new context. The latter is so much the more common that it is often taken for granted. On the contrary, we suggest that this distinction impacts not only the early actions of the new director, but the hiring process as well.

To bring greater balance to the literature of director hiring, we offer the personal experience of the lead author as a successful internal candidate, and put this personal account into the broader context of the hiring process for library leadership positions.

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Publication Date

March 2013

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