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Douglas County Libraries - the Digital Branch

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Uncle Bobby's Wedding

Recently, a library patron challenged (urged a reconsideration of the ownership or placement of) a book called "Uncle Bobby's Wedding." Honestly, I hadn't even heard of it until that complaint. But I did read the book, and responded to the patron, who challenged the item through email and requested that I respond online (not via snail-mail) about her concerns.

I suspect the book will get a lot of challenges in 2008-2009. So I offer my response, purging the patron's name, for other librarians.

Uncle Bobby's wedding
June 27, 2008

Dear Ms. Patron:

Thank you for working with my assistant to allow me to fit your concerns about “Uncle Bobby's Wedding,” by Sarah S. Brannen, into our “reconsideration” process. I have been assured that you have received and viewed our relevant policies: the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, the Freedom to View, and our Reconsideration Policy.

The intent of providing all that isn'…

The First Year: 5 strategies for success

[The First Year: 5 Strategies for Success, 1 of 8]

Over the past several years, I've had the pleasure of coaching several new public library directors. For a variety of reasons, many directors are stepping into the role for the first time. Often, particularly in smaller or more rural libraries, they haven't even had a lot of supervisory experience.
I tell new directors that the two big advantages of confidential access to someone who has walked in your shoes is that (a) you can ask the questions you might feel embarrassed to ask your board or staff, and (b) you have the advantage of someone else's mistakes. To be clear, everybody makes mistakes. It may be the most powerful learning tool we have. But I've thought about my mistakes, and I can help you identify the old ones, and with luck, make new ones. There's no good reason to make the same ones!
I believe that there are five key constituencies the public library director must satisfy: your boss (usually a board), y…

Managing your relationship with your boss

[The First Year Director: Strategies for Success, 2 of 8]
Make them look goodThe first dictum in managing your relationship with your boss is this: make them look good. I say "them" because for most public library directors, their boss is a governing board (i.e. hires the director, adopts the budget, sets policy, etc.). How do you know who the boss is? To quote my friend Pat Wagner, "the boss is the one who signs your paycheck." The boss isn't the only important player, but it's not a bad place to start.

In some cases, a board may be advisory. That is, while its members may well advise the director on library business, those governing decisions are made by someone else (a mayor, a town council, a board of county commissioners).

In other cases, the boss is someone else in the governing body's hierarchy. I once reported to the head of Cultural Affairs. There is an advantage to having a single boss: it's easier to figure out what matters to them, and to …