COMMUNITY & LIBRARY POSITION PROFILE
Library Director – Platteville, Wisconsin
The City of Platteville is a growing community with the feel and characteristics of a small town where local officials value customer-oriented community services. Located in Grant County, Platteville is in southwestern Wisconsin slightly more than an hour’s drive from Madison and 20 miles northeast of Dubuque, Iowa. Platteville has a population of 11,224 and expects to grow by several thousand in the next ten years. It is the home of the University of Wisconsin – Platteville, which has an enrollment of 6,200 students. About two-thirds of the students live in the city. The University is also the city’s largest employer. Platteville’s population increase is expected due to the Tri-State Initiative administered by the University and the influence of the 4-lane U.S. Highway 151 between Madison and Dubuque.
The city and surrounding area have good primary and secondary educational facilities, including local public and parochial elementary and middle schools, a public high school, and Southwest Technical College in nearby Fennimore, as well as the University. The city offers an array of cultural, recreational, and leisure activities including 13 public parks, the UW-P Pioneer Activity Center (open to the public), an Aquatic Center, growing trail system, 2 museums, and the UW-P Arboretum. Other points of interest in the immediate vicinity include the Point of Beginnings for the Michigan Territory (first survey point for state), the Great River Museum (Dubuque), the Fine Arts Center at UW-P in Ullsvik Hall, and House on the Rock and Taliesin (1 hour away.)
Shopping facilities in Platteville include those in its historic downtown district as well as several mall and shopping complexes in nearby Dubuque. Historic Galena, Illinois, is just 30 minutes south and provides additional shopping opportunities with unique establishments as well as arts, crafts and antiques. New commercial shopping opportunities are also expanding along the 4-lane highway corridor.
UW-Platteville has an academic library on campus with a section dedicated to area and Wisconsin history. The Platteville Public Library has successfully focused on a complementary collection and has a strong positive relationship with the university library. The Library has top-notch and up-to-date technology with public computers and is a strong WiFi zone for those with laptops.
Outstanding healthcare options are available in the community, anchored by the Southwest Health Center hospital facility.
Platteville has operated under the Council-Manager form of government for over 30 years, with a Common Council president elected from the membership of the seven-member city council. The council members are elected in a combination of district and at-large seats to three-year overlapping terms. The Common Council appoints a professional City Manager who serves as the chief administrative officer of the city. The City Manager appoints all departments, excluding the library director, police chief, and supervises day-to-day activities of city government. An eight-member Library Board is appointed by the council and is responsible for appointment of the library director, reviewing and approving library policy, and conducting performance reviews of the library director.
The Platteville Public Library
The Platteville Public Library has four full-time staff (plus the director) and eight part-time employees. The facility is open seven days a week with summer and winter hours. The facility operates with a current budget of approximately $604,000 from the municipality and $122, 413 from County Funding (Wisconsin, Act 150.)
Library staff members coordinate activities with other city departments to increase the number and quality of offerings for the public. Recently, programming has tripled and outreach to special community organizations has expanded. Cooperative programs & services include area day care centers, the Platteville Senior Center, Rountree Gallery, museums, and the University. The facility has 16 public use computers most of them with high-speed Internet access and a wireless network for additional users. There are also 5 stand-alone computers with the online catalog. Collections include non-fiction, fiction, children’s, teens, DVDs, 100+ periodicals, large print, audio books, videos, music CDs, art prints, electronic resources, Playaways, and Playaway Views.
The library staff works as a cohesive unit, has an excellent reputation for quality customer service, and establishes annual team goals from the Library Board approved Strategic Plan.
Duties of the Position
The Library Director is the chief administrative person and is responsible for the general direction of the department, proposing departmental policy changes to the Board, developing and implementing administrative procedures. Additional duties include preparing the annual budget and Capital Improvement recommendations for the City Manager with ultimate approval by the Common Council, and acting as a liaison with other libraries, municipal departments, and the community-at-large.
This is a high-profile position with extensive public contact for the largest library in the county and in the Southwest Wisconsin Library System.
Important Characteristics Impacting this Position
Several characteristics have been identified that will help a candidate succeed in this position. These include but are not limited to the following:
1. Platteville’s public library faces a challenge in keeping current with technology and anticipating the needs of the public. The successful candidate will have the ability to balance the need to maintain current systems while also envisioning changes in the future. Knowledge of computers and basic programs is not sufficient enough. The successful candidate must have more than a working knowledge of the technology in order to understand decisions regarding operations and purchases.
2. Platteville has several distinct demographic groups with the University and permanent population. The successful candidate will be able to ensure that the collection reflects the differing tastes and technological capabilities of the various demographic groups.
3. The Library Director is a visible member of the community. The duties of the position require being a public advocate for library services and informing the public of the services available. The ability to communicate effectively, an approachable demeanor, and the ability to speak comfortably in public settings are highly desirable.
4. The library is financially sound, but recent attempts to limit municipal resources at the state level may make funding a challenge in coming years. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated history of successful budget management, innovation in controlling costs, finding operational efficiencies, and working with non-city funding sources.
5. Platteville has a library foundation that assists the library in fundraising and specific projects. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated history of working successfully with volunteer groups and boards.
6. The Platteville Public Library plays a leadership role in the Southwest Wisconsin Library System (SWLS). The new director will be expected to serve on SWLS committees and must be able to work collaboratively with outside partners.
7. The library Director will be the primary person responsible for developing administrative policies for the approval of the library board and/or at the direction of the library board. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated history of developing and implementing rules, policies, and procedures.
8. Staff supervision will be a vital role for the new director. This includes scheduling, personnel management, discipline, hiring and terminations. The successful candidate will have experience in these areas.
9. Libraries are affected by legislation on many levels. The new director will be expected to keep the Board informed of potential legislation that may impact the library. At the Board’s direction, the director may also contact legislators and weigh in on behalf of the library.
10. A background in strategic planning is desired. This includes facilitation skills and the implementation of elements and goals identified in the strategic plans.
Desired Qualifications and Abilities
The Library Board is seeking an individual who will be able to maintain the high level of library services the community has come to expect from the public library over the years. The director is a member of the city’s management team and will be expected to work cooperatively with city staff, elected officials, department heads and representatives of other governmental and service agencies to provide a high level of quality services to the residents of the city.
Applicants for this position should possess a minimum of at least five years of progressively responsible public library experience, including three years minimum in a responsible supervisory position, preferably in a comparable community. A master’s degree in library science from an ALA accredited school is required. Applicants must have or be eligible for a Grade 1 Wisconsin Library Certificate. Compliance with the City of Platteville residency requirement is required within 6 months of hire. The City is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
The starting salary range for this position is $50,000 to $55,000, depending on qualification. In addition, the city offers a progressive benefit package that includes paid vacation, 11 paid holidays; medical, dental, and life insurance coverage; and contributions to the Wisconsin State Retirement System. Other benefits, including dues and professional membership fees are negotiable.