While most librarians manage a collection of books and deal directly with library patrons, the head librarian is more like a manager. The head librarian supervises other library staff. In smaller libraries, the head librarian may be the top authority. In large library systems, the head librarian reports to a branch head and library director. Head librarians usually have a master's in library science degree and at least two to five years of experience as a librarian. Salaries vary depending on the size of the library system, but range from about $48,000 to $64,000, according to SalaryExpert.com in 2010.
Head librarians supervise other library employees who deal directly with patrons and library materials, such as librarians and library assistants. They are also in charge of performance reviews and disciplinary action, and have a role in hiring and terminating employees. The head librarian is also responsible for ensuring adequate employee coverage during business hours and will write employee schedules and adjust them as needed.
Head librarians are responsible for many administrative tasks. They often manage a budget for library operation, including employee salaries and benefits, books and audio/visual materials, computers and technology and programs. However, large library systems may have human resources departments to handle some or all of these tasks. Head librarians also write grant proposals and work with other groups in the community and the library board.
Although most of their time is spent on other duties, head librarians will still spend some time working at the reference desk, assisting patrons with locating books and reference materials and answering their reference questions. When patrons have problems with other library staff or have questions that other librarians could not answer, head librarians resolve these issues.
Libraries offer many programs for users, including the annual summer reading program, which lasts for six to eight weeks and gives incentives to people for reading. Libraries also have many programs for children, including craft activities, showing movies and story times for preschoolers. Head librarians oversee the planning of these programs, help publicize them and work with community leaders to get prizes and materials.
Libraries offer education to people in the community, including classes in computer skills, how to find reference materials, study skills and classes for job seekers. Head librarians plan these classes based on the needs of the local community members, which involves interacting with community officials, determining the best times and dates and publicizing the classes. They may either teach the classes themselves or select other teachers.
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