The Condition in Which You Leave Your Library Position

by Jess Bruckner, Assistant Editor, INALJ Virginia

The Condition in Which You Leave Your Library Position

Jess BrucknerIf you’re leaving a library position, the condition in which you leave your job has an impact. Before you move on, you should make a mental checklist of things that need to be done so the new person is on track for success right away. Unless the employer is cutting the position, someone will be following in your footsteps. How you greet someone new to the position makes all the difference, and it goes beyond a simple “welcome.” The condition in which you leave the position is a metaphorical “welcome” for that next person.

You’re Mentoring Even After You Leave

Even after you leave your library position, you’re an indirect mentor by default. That’s right. The individual who follows in your footsteps is counting on you to have been well organized, thorough, and transparent in your work. As a result, this makes the transition more seamless and gentle. The new person will appreciate how much you valued your work and organization, and the effort you directly or indirectly made to introduce him or her to the organization.

Reflective Practice: Take the Time to Reflect

For schoolteachers, reflective practice is vital. In my home state, it’s so vital to teachers that it’s a standard in the teaching profession and mandated by the state. To obtain enough points to pass an evaluation, a student teacher needs to score “proficient” or “advanced” to even be considered for a teacher’s license. Librarians could benefit from this model by regularly taking the time to analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and building a plan of action that centers on making corrective adjustments and asking for help when needed. When you’re leaving an organization, you’ll certainly want to concentrate on how you want to be remembered, and you want to act on that vision. It’s crucial to remember that you are symbolically passing the torch.

Leave Good Notes

Leave good notes on what your successor can expect; leave a road map for your successor’s rapid success. Talk to co-workers about the work you’ve been doing, so they can bring the new person up to speed. Only your honest self-reflection can determine what needs to addressed before you leave your position.

Librarians share specific information with people for a living. As professionals, we treat our patrons with the utmost respect, and when we’re at the top of our game, we exhaust all avenues in making sure we helpfully and successfully answer our patrons’ questions. Let’s also apply this concept by sharing simple and transparent information with the new hire.

All Efforts for a Smooth Transition Will Be Appreciated

In conclusion, remember that your employer will help the new hire with some tasks; the rest is for the new hire to figure out. Your efforts to leave your job in good working order will aid him or her in filling in the blanks. A savvy new hire will have a list of questions when starting a new job, so anticipate those questions and answer them without being redundant. This will help save everyone’s time. Time is valuable, and it’s even more precious to someone starting a new job.

Everyone benefits from an employee who has shown enough thought and conviction to leave a library job in good working order. The person following in your footsteps will benefit greatly.


Jess Bruckner has been a public librarian for 13 years in Wisconsin, and a school teacher for 3 years. He recently finished student teaching, and is putting the finishing touches on his Secondary English teaching licensure.