Just as the library director regularly evaluates the staff, it is the responsibility of the board to regularly evaluate the library director. Trustees evaluate the director all of the time–by what they see in the library, what they hear form the public and what they perceive as the library’s reputation in the community. But that informal consideration does not take the place of a formal review of the director’s performance. The best way to evaluate and monitor director effectiveness is by providing a good job description for the director and then doing a formal, annual evaluation to determine how well the director is meeting the job description and accomplishing library goals.
An annual evaluation:
Acknowledge and reward good performance; work with the director to correct inadequate areas of performance. If problems arise with the director’s performance during the year, the board should discuss these problems with the director at that time, along with possible solutions. At the time of the annual evaluation, there should be no surprises.
- Provides the director with a clear understanding of the board’s expectations
- Ensures the director is aware of how well the expectations are being met
- Serves as a formal vehicle of communication between the board and director
- Identifies the board’s actual concerns so that appropriate action can be taken
- Creates an opportunity to review and acknowledge the director’s accomplishments
- Documents annual accomplishments of the library
- Demonstrates sound management practices and accountability to municipal officials and the community.
The format and procedure for director evaluation must be worked out by each board, but it is important for each board member to understand what is appropriate and inappropriate for the evaluation. The method used should be agreed upon by the board and director at the beginning of the evaluation period so it is clear to both the board and director what the basis for the evaluation will be.
Make the evaluation a positive effort to communicate better with the director. A written evaluation allows the board and the director a system to communicate about how to make the library better. Look as much for what the director does well as for areas that need improvement. Then, the cycle starts again by deciding the basis of the evaluation for the coming year’s performance.