Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives

Public Library Director's Toolkit

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​In public libraries, library directors assume a wide variety of duties in addition to being a leader in moving the library forward in our library world of constantly changing technology and circumstances. To differing degrees, based on the size of the library organization, these duties will include operations of the library facility, management of personnel, oversight of finances, development and implementation of policies and procedures, interaction and collaboration with numerous community organizations and local officials, advocacy for funding and support, planning for the future, and advising the library board on all facets of library business.

The resources provided on this page will help administrators in fulfilling these duties by supplying information and direction in each of these areas. More detailed information and help is always available through your KDLA Regional Librarian. KDLA also provides a Monthly Report that is distributed to directors and trustees.

​Major duties of, and things library directors need to know.

What to do in your first days, weeks, and months as a library director.

Director's Starter Checklist (PDF)

The library director organizes and administers the daily operation of the library. The director also manages the creation, dissemination, and storage of a wide variety of reports. The information here will assist you in the operation of the library and in knowing what reports must be filed, and where and when they are submitted. Many records created in conducting library business must be kept on file at the library and below you will also find information on how long you must keep various records and when they may be discarded.

As a director of a public library, you will be responsible to ensure the overall maintenance and upkeep of the library buildings and grounds. In this capacity, you will encounter issues regarding accessibility, daily housekeeping and grounds maintenance, repair or replacement of equipment and furnishings, service contracts, and a variety of other facility upkeep concerns.

In addition, you may become the manager of a renovation, expansion, or construction project as community needs require and funding allows. Here, you will encounter additional issues that will require your interaction with financial consultants, architects, designers, construction managers, and craftsmen and an awareness of entirely different requirements and concerns.

KDLA is available help you with general information and guidance on facility and construction questions. We can also provide construction grant information when grant money is available. Please contact KDLA anytime you have a facilities-related question.

Please note that the information provided in this section is a general overview of topics related to facility maintenance and construction. The content is not provided by a person licensed in any trade, design, or engineering profession. If you need design or engineering advice, please contact a registered architect or licensed engineer.

One of the important duties that a Director performs is that of managing and reporting library revenues and expenditures. Funding for libraries comes from various sources and libraries are subject to multiple laws and policies governing how funds may be spent. These regulations ensure that public funds are collected and used transparently and in the best interest of the community. In addition, libraries are required, both by good business practice as well as Kentucky statute, to keep and submit various types of financial reports detailing how their funds were received and expended.

There are various agencies and organizations which offer services that support public libraries. Below is a list of organizations and the main services they provide to libraries.

In the past few decades, technology has become a critical component of high-quality library service. Libraries have always provided information resources, but increasingly patrons access information on their smartphones as well as in print. Library processes have also undergone significant changes, with advancements affecting cataloging and check-outs.

Keeping up with developments in library technology can seem like a challenging task. This section is designed to provide a brief overview of important technology topics to assist you in facilitating library operations and providing innovative services for library customers. For further information, please contact the KDLA Technology Consultant, Lauren Abner, at or 502-564-1728.

Public libraries in Kentucky have been established using various statutes. The majority of these libraries are districts with taxing authority and are governed by a board of five trustees. There are many reporting requirements to which all libraries are subject, regardless of the method of formation. There are also some requirements that apply only to those libraries formed as local taxing districts, now defined as Special Purpose Governmental Entities.

This section touches on the highlights of governance of the public library. There are many statutes that apply to the duties and ways in which the board must operate. For more in-depth discussion on the board's part in library governance, it is suggested that the library director become familiar with the Kentucky Public Library Trustee Manual​.

Services provided by the Library Development Branch of KDLA
​are funded in part by the
Institute of Museum and Library Services