Library directors are employed at public, school, academic, and special libraries. Public, school, and academic libraries are located throughout the United States. Special libraries, such as an association library or medical library, tend to be located in large metropolitan areas, so you may have to relocate if you would like to become a special library director. Other library directors are employed in the armed forces.
The position of library director typically is not an entry-level career. Most employers require that director candidates have at least five years of library work experience at the administrative level to be eligible for a position. Aspiring library directors first gain experience as librarians or in lower-level administrative positions such as chief librarian or associate director before seeking promotion to the position of library director. Chief librarians manage branch libraries or individual departments, such as the general reference, children's, circulation, or music departments; periodical reading room; or readers' advisory service. Associate directors assist the director in the library's daily operations. They are often assigned their own projects to manage or may be responsible for a small staff.
Library directors have many opportunities for advancement. Some transfer to larger library systems or university libraries. Others choose to teach at the postsecondary level.
Many directors become consultants or information brokers and conduct research for corporations, associations, and private businesses on a per project basis. Many library professionals enjoy working as consultants because of the opportunity for nontraditional hours, the high pay, and flexibility regarding projects.
Tips for Entry
Read publications such as Library Leadership & Management, Library Journal, and American Libraries to learn more about trends in the industry and potential employers.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Visit http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/careers/librarycareerssite/home for more information on library science careers.
Attend conferences held by professional associations in order to network, pursue continuing education, and learn more about the field.
Participate in the Library Leadership and Management Association's Mentoring Program (http://www.ala.org/llama/llama-mentoring-program) to build your professional skills.