One of the most important roles the board has is to hire the very best library director possible, and then work with him or her to ensure that goals for service are consistently and exceptionally well met. Evaluation of the director is critical. Without a formal evaluation process, there is no concrete way for the director to know if he or she is meeting or exceeding expectations. Additionally, if there is no formal evaluation process, the board may be letting troublesome issues become worse. At the beginning of each fiscal year, the board and director should set goals for performance and areas for evaluation. The performance goals should be achievable and should be determined in consultation with the director.
Performance areas to be evaluated should include:
- Staff relationships and management
- Board relationship
- Accomplishment of objectives set forth in the library’s strategic plan.
- Financial responsibility and oversight
- Overall quality of library services
- Community relations
- Facilities management
The board should determine how success will be measured in each area when they set goals at the beginning of the year. By doing this, the board will have established objective standards, making the evaluation itself more meaningful and less personal. This is important because it will eliminate any hard feelings if the board feels the director has fallen short, but the director feels he or she is right on target.
A Negotiated Process, Praise and Constructive Criticism
It’s important to keep the evaluation a “negotiated process”, meaning that if the director has fallen short of a goal, there should always be an opportunity to discuss any unforeseen factors that made meeting this target impossible. Board should also use the evaluation process as an opportunity to coach the director in areas that need improvement and to praise the director for successes. Praises and appreciation for work well done should be in writing on the review.
Although constructive criticism can be sometimes difficult to give, it’s important to let the director know if the board has any performance concerns. This should be done throughout the year as issues arise. It’s not good for the library and not fair to the director if you see areas of concern but wait until the formal evaluation to address them. In the end, the best thing a board can do to ensure that the library has (and keeps) a high performing director is to provide constant and constructive feedback and to engage in a formal evaluation process at the end of each year.
Tips to remember:
- Hiring a qualified Director is a minimum standard (#11)
- Evaluation ensures that Director continues to be capable and qualified for the job
- Evaluate annually
- Document and review with director any performance issues when they come up
- Understanding the role of the director will help with evaluation process
- See sample director evaluation ins Hiring Packet