Focus: The Point of the CPLA

As a prospective Library Director, I believed that I had the work and life experience to be able to manage the staff, budget, building, and even the direction of a public library. I also believed that a Certified Public Library Administrator (CPLA) Certification could provide the credential that said at a glance, “professional administrator.”

I landed my first Library Director position in June 2008 with support for the CPLA as part of the compensation package. I began courses in November 2008 and completed my seventh, and last, course in June 2009.

I embarked on a quest to complete the CPLA courses within a year. I chose some online courses in which I had already had significant training or experience and others I took as face-to-face workshops when I knew I would get more out of them in person with group interaction.

Taking the courses in this “condensed” form brought home over and over the value and importance of focus on the library mission. Whether building, grant-writing, budgeting, or developing the staff—the mission, even one as abstract as our “Inspiring passion for journeys of the mind…” (see for the full statement), must be at the center of the activity.

Just one example of how this was evident was when, in Strategic HR, I thought about how I would post a newly open Youth Librarian position. It had not been an MLS position; had been filled very ably by a long-term member of the community who had finally sold her family home to retire and move far north. We are not in an urban area, do not offer much in the way of benefits to part-time staff, and have some challenges in our building.

While the posting I wrote was not as entertaining as the “Green Eggs and Ham” version of another talented course mate and his group, it got the message across. In fact, we had 13 applicants, all qualified. Of the three chosen for the final interview, each one was asked “Why this library? What prompted you to apply?” Each one said “The posting. I knew that vision of the library is one I want to be a part of in my career.” (see posting below)

Of all the study and group and individual work I completed during the CPLA courses, I was most excited to see that consistent theme—from Technology to Current Trends to the basics of money and people. What is your library’s mission? How do you carry it out? In what way will what this project, grant, hiring, plan make that mission happen? What’s in it for the community you serve? It may seem like such a basic concept, but focus on mission is easily lost in the day-to-day of a public library, particularly when we think we do not have the resources to do even half of what the mission requires.

Focus—on what’s in it for me in a CPLA course or on the community being served by the library’s mission—matters most.

The Job Description for Youth Librarian

Inspiring Passion for Journeys of the Mind—That’s Us!

Cromaine District Library

Be an Inspirer

Lead the Journey

Cromaine District Library offers one special Youth Librarian an exceptional opportunity!

We’re in a special place in Michigan where houses sell and staff actually get to retire. Because of that, we have one 20-hour opening for a Youth Librarian to fill. Are you ready to lead the journey of the mind for a five-year-old? Is it in your heart and soul to be the inspirer of a 12-year-old? Do you “get it” when a teen discovers a topic to be passionate about and needs more and more reading, web sites, and, well, just everything about “it”? Then we need you!

Cromaine District Library is located near the intersection of M-59 and US-23—easy to get to from Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Flint.

Cromaine-Village (built in 1927 and expanded in 1980) is the main library with the largest collection and programming space, but we also offer a popular collection and an increasing number of programs at the Crossroads Branch, in a strip mall, established 2005.

Cromaine wins grants, including National Endowment for the Arts’ The Big Read-three years in a row. Our 2010 read of “The Things They Carried” will involve not just Hartland High School, but our middle, intermediate, and elementary schools, too, in discovering what we learned from the Vietnam War—a celebration of our Veterans, as well as an exploration of Vietnamese culture. Cromaine wins awards for public relations and marketing from the John Cotton Dana award to Michigan Library Association. Cromaine has concrete and measurable goals for service, including an increase in circulation of 20% and program attendance of 15% in 2008-2009. Plus, we’re excited to pursue a conceptual design that will renovate and expand our Village location and you’ll be part of that!

Cromaine’s first shared value is “Investing in the Next Generation.”

Bring your commitment to exciting, innovative services for children, tweens, and teens to Cromaine where we create an “aha experience” every day.

$17.20 per hour to start, 20 hours per week; includes some evenings and weekends. MLA membership and conference attendance paid. After successful completion of the 90-day introductory period, an increase to $17.95 is planned.

Share your love for children and public service with a community that loves its library and its library staff even more. Send your application (available at—Cromaine News & Info—Forms), resume, MLS classes in youth services, and a cover letter to “Youth Librarian” at Cromaine or e-mail (preferred to be “green”) by June 15, 2009. (More details—the “dry” posting—below.)

Hartland, Michigan

Youth Librarian

REPORTS TO: Head of Youth Services

JOB SUMMARY: Provides services to young people, including children, tweens, and teens, their caregivers, teachers, and adults who work with them, helps patrons to use the library effectively and assists with collection development and library programs for young people.

An employee in this position may be called upon to do any or all of the following essential functions. These examples do not include all of the duties which the employee may be expected to perform. To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential function satisfactorily.

Duties and Responsibilities

Essential Job Functions

Reference & Reader’s Advisory

  • Provide effective, positive, and personalized reference and reader’s advisory services in person, by telephone, and e-mail, using traditional resources and electronic databases.
  • Conduct efficient reference interviews to determine information need and best sources to use.
  • Move through the youth and teen areas regularly to check with patrons regarding their information needs.
  • Provide assistance and instruction to the public on the use of the library, its materials, electronic information sources, and the computer catalog.
  • Assist library users with electronic information sources and the computer catalog.
  • Initiate ILL requests as necessary.

Collection development

  • Select and order materials based on reviews, catalogs, recommendations and patron requests.
  • Preview new materials being added to the collection in order to know what is available and provide it quickly to the patron.
  • Evaluate collection in assigned areas regularly for development or weeding.
  • Catalog materials as needed.
  • Compile bibliographies, path finders, files and reports.

Library Programs & Public Relations

  • Assist with arrangements and publicity for programs, exhibits, displays, and other activities of community interest.
  • Prepare and conduct story time and other program experiences on-site and in schools, homes, and other outreach settings.
  • Assist with seasonal program brochures.
  • Promote the library through tours and outreach activities.


  • Keep up to date with new technology and ways of accessing information.
  • Perform basic hardware troubleshooting in order to resolve equipment problems as quickly as possible.


  • Maintain statistics on reference service use and program attendance.
  • Act as back-up for the Adult Services/Reference Department as needed.
  • Participate in professional meetings and continuing education activities.
  • Stay current with changes in reference services through continuing education, reading professional journals and networking through professional associations and colleagues.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skills, abilities and minimum qualifications necessary to perform the essential functions of the position.

Education, certification and training

  • Masters degree in Library Science, or 30 credit hours toward the degree, from an ALA accredited library school.
  • Professional Librarian’s certificate from the Library of Michigan.
  • Library experience desirable.

Skills and abilities

  • Genuine interest in providing superior public service.
  • Ability to achieve and maintain cooperative and effective relations with members of the general public and with other employees.
  • Solid knowledge of popular reading materials, reference tools, and electronic resources.
  • Ability to select appropriate reading materials for the children and teen collections.
  • Ability to present programs for young people and their families and prepare library exhibits.
  • Ability to work independently and take initiative.
  • Ability to use word processing, spread sheet and database programs.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.

Physical abilities

  • Ability to lift and safely carry 25 lbs.
  • Able to move throughout the library.
  • Ability to reach, bend, grasp, push and pull.
  • Ability to stand and walk for up to four hours at a time.
  • Good vision and hearing.


  • Flexibility in scheduling, including the ability to work evenings and weekends.

The qualifications listed above are intended to represent the minimum skill and experience levels associated with performing the duties and responsibilities contained in this job description. The qualifications should not be viewed as an expression of absolute employment or promotional standards but as general guidelines and should be considered along with other job related selection or promotional criteria.

Physical Demands and Work Environment

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear, and occasionally required to travel to other locations. The employee is frequently required to sit, stand, walk, reach with hands and arms, use hands to finger, handle, or feel, and stoop, kneel, or crouch. The employee regularly must lift and/or move moderately heavy objects. Specific vision requirement of the job include near vision, distance vision, color vision, and peripheral vision.

The physical demands and work environment characteristics described above are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential function of the job.

Adopted 8/98; rev. 12/01, 10/02, 6/09

Cecilia Ann Marlow Stuart
Library Director

Cromaine Library—Your Journey Begins Here

In the Village
P. O. Box 308, 3688 N. Hartland Road
Hartland, MI 48353
810.632.5200, ext. 105

At Crossroads
Hartland Town Center
Old US-23, South of M-59
Howell, MI 48843