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Todaro ALA Initiative WORKSPACE "Libraries Transform: The Expert in the Library": Public Libraries Draft Workspace

This is a work space for draft documents only. Please see your workspace tab for more information.

Public Libraries - Membership


Valerie Gross, Co-Chair - President & CEO, Howard County Library System (MD)

Patty Wong, Co-Chair - County Librarian, Yolo County Library (CA)

Vivian Bordeaux, Librarian, Bridgeport Public Library (CT)

Kay Cassell, Assistant Teaching Professor, Rutgers School of Communication and Information (NJ)

Sean Casserley, County Librarian, Johnson County Library (KS)

Melinda CervantesDirector, Contra Costa County Library (CA)

Rose Dawson, Executive Director, Alexandria Library (VA)

Eboni Henry, Branch Manager, District of Columbia Public Library (DC)

Kimberly Knight, Branch Manager, District of Columbia Public Library (DC)

Casey McPhee, Library Director, Largo Public Library (FL)

John Szabo, City Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library (CA)


Gross, V. "Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage." A book that describes Libraries = Education, a strategy that repositions library professionals as a team of educators and support staff. (ABC-CLIO, 2013.)

Libraries = Education

ALA web page that promotes library professionals as educators.

“Libraries = Education“ is a 21st century strategy for all types of libraries (see Transforming Our Image above).  The simple approach (a) repositions library staff as educators, and (b) capitalizes on the power of language to convey our expertise (e.g., instead of saying "we do storytimes", say "we teach children's classes").


Crestview News Bulletin. “Celebrate Community: Crestview library (FL) ahead of national trend,” by Brian Hughes. Crestview News Bulletin, September 29, 2015. Describes how Crestview Public Library in Florida has adopted the “Libraries = Education” strategy, repositioning their staff members as a team of expert educators.

VIDEO: Candidate Meet & Greet, September 23, 2010

Director Doreen S. Hannon incorporates Libraries = Education. Fourteen candidates running for local, state, and federal office gather for a Meet & Greet. The moderator asks the candidates: “Public libraries are pillars of education. In your administration, how would you enhance public libraries, and how would you incorporate public libraries as you further the educational goals for the state?”

Responses from the candidates include:

*  “Libraries are the most important part of education.”

*  “. . . everything is on the table except Medicaid and education and within the umbrella of education is public libraries. This cannot involve a cut to library funding. I will work to reverse that.”  

Public Libraries - Charge

Public Libraries Committee Charge:

Identify and create 21st century content for public library staff that identifies staff expertise; assists in the articulation of library staff as experts; and, provides an environment for transformation. This team's work includes the development of competencies for public library staff including those of equity, diversity and inclusion; the identification of existing content within PLA and other organizations that clarifies the “value of public library professionals and library employees” and reviews our profession’s core values and ethics to ensure these are inculcated into the organizations development of employees. Categories Established:

  • Value & Expertise
  • Leadership, Advocacy & Management
  • 21st Century Job Descriptions
  • Thought Leader Forum

21st Century Job Descriptions

The following position descriptions represent a sampling of innovative titles introduced in public libraries in the 21st Century to reflect changing roles and the expansion of traditional roles. As we move into a different era of technology, many new roles reflect a different set of expectations in the 21st Century.

Three innovative job descriptions from Anythink Libraries of Adams County, CO.

Wrangler Job Description - rebrands the position of shelver as "wrangler."

Concierge Job Description - rebrands the position of library associate as "concierge."

Guide Job Description - rebrands the position of librarian as "guide."


21st century job/position descriptions and interview questions from Howard County Library System (MD) incorporate the Libraries = Education approach, positioning library professionals as a team of educators and corresponding support staff.

The descriptions are infused with intuitive, self-explanatory language:

  • Position Descriptions
    • Instructor & Research Specialist (working titles for Librarian and Library Associate positions)
    • Customer Service Specialist (replaced Circulation Clerk)
  • Interview questions (terms such as class, seminar, and research, replace storytime, program, and reference/information)



Tame the Web, a blog originated by a professor in the School of Information at San Jose State University, posted information on two innovative positions.

Innovative Catalyst Job Description - highlights a "change agent" job posting in Trenton, NJ.

Digital Media Job Description - highlights a "digital media" job at Macarthur.


Part Time Maker in Residence Job Description

Job Description for a part time position at Wilson County Public Libraries (TX).


Roanoke, VA job posting Job Description for a Library Community Service Assistant that requires social media and community relations skills.


Innovative Job Descriptions from Skokie Public Library (IL).

Community Engagement Librarian

Desktop and Device Manager Extended Listing


Cambridge, MA job posting Job description for a Manager, Innovation and Technology to "act as a visionary" for the Cambridge Public Library.


Rancho Cucamonga Library Services job posting for a Senior Librarian of Technology Services.



21st Century Library blog established by Dr. Stephen A. Matthews and managed by Kimberly Matthews, former Executive Director of the Trenton (NJ) Free Public Library contemplated 21st job descriptions as early as two years ago.

Leadership, Advocacy & Management

List of resources, including videos, articles and training programs focused on advocacy and leadership.

Recommended Reading: Leadership/Management

Thought Leader Forum

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