Full Day Preconference

So You Want to Be a Director?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Colorado Convention Center, Room 405-407

Have you recently accepted a directorship or are you contemplating moving into a library director role? Discover the tools and tactics you need to traverse the pitfalls of being a new director from leaders who have done it successfully. Whether you’re stressed about creating a budget, anxious about resolving HR issues, unsure how to work with your board or local government, or losing sleep over the idea of strategic planning, this preconference is for you. Participants will gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to fearlessly face the challenges of library directorship.

At the end of this session, participants will:

1: Know the basics of budgeting, HR, facilities and strategic planning. 2: Have the tools to begin working with the library board and local government. 3: Have heard from seasoned directors about leading a library.

The session organizer(s) identified this session as appropriate for:
Level 2: People with some knowledge, who want to increase their understanding.

Tags: Career Advice, Leadership, Mentoring, Organizational Change, Professional Development


Marcia Warner, Director
Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids, MI

Marcia Warner is the Director of the Grand Rapids Public Library, a position she has held since December 2004. Marcia began working in as a director in libraries in 1977 and still loves it. She is the past-president of the Michigan Library Association, 2011 President of the Public Libraries Association, and the 2013 Librarian of the year in Michigan. Marcia has held many ALA positions in LAMA, PLA, and the Spectrum Advisory Board.

David Singleton, Director of Libraries
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, , NC

David Singleton has over 25 years of experience as a library leader. David formerly held the position of Deputy State Librarian for the Georgia Public Library Service, where he helped to pioneer the statewide PINES system and the development of Evergreen open source software for libraries. He is a frequent speaker at national, state, and regional conferences on topics including innovation, strategic planning, performance/outcome measures for libraries, public library trends, and leadership development.

Pam Sandlian Smith, Director
Anythink Libraries, Thornton, CO

Felton Thomas, Executive Director, CEO
Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, OH

Felton Thomas, Jr., is the President-Elect for the Public Library Association and Executive Director of the Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library (CPL). He has served on the PLA Board of Directors since 2012 and was named to the Aspen Institute's Task Force on Learning and the Internet in 2014. He was named a "Mover and Shaker" by Library Journal and serves as a fellow and Sponsor in the Urban Library Council's Executive Leadership Institute.

Rachel Rubin, Library Director
Bexley Public Library, Bexley, OH

Rachel G. Rubin is the director of the Bexley (OH) Public Library. She is an ALA Councilor-at-Large and a member of both the Nominating Committee and the the Standing Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers. She is also active in the Ohio Library Council. She teaches library management as an adjunct faculty member at Kent State University, and speaks about library leadership to a variety of audiences.

Kevin King, Head, Branch and IT Services
Kalamazoo Public Library, Kalamazoo, MI

Eva Poole, Director of Public Libraries
Virginia Beach Public Library, Virginia Beach, VA


Registration for this preconference is now closed, but limited space may be available onsite.

For questions about…

Cancellation Policy

Written cancellations, requests for refunds, and/or changes will be accepted until February 26, 2016, and are subject to a $30 handling fee. Refunds will be processed after April 25, 2016. According to PLA policy, all meal events require preregistration. The above cancellation/change information also applies to all preconferences, meal events, and tours.

The PLA 2016 Conference is offered on a cost-recovery basis. PLA reserves the right to cancel all or any part of this event if there is insufficient registration or for other reasons. Neither ALA nor PLA is responsible for cancellation charges assessed by the airlines or travel agencies, or other losses incurred due to the cancellation of the workshops. All information listed on this website is subject to change.


PLA has put in place features to ensure the conference is accessible to all.


Special print and electronic advertising opportunities are available to reach PLA members and attendees both before and during the conference.

Appropriate Conduct

All participants are expected to observe the rules and behaviors described in the Statement of Appropriate Conduct in all conference venues, including online venues, and conference social events.


There is no formal dress code at the PLA Conference. What’s most important is to dress for comfort.

Conference Logo

The custom logos of the PLA 2016 Conference are the property of PLA. Anyone wishing to use the logos in their communications and promotional materials must: 1) Seek permission from PLA; and 2) Submit communication/artwork incorporating the logo to PLA for final approval. The logo may not be modified and must be reproduced in its entirety (i.e., no outlines, cropping). To request the use of the logo, companies should contact Carly DiVito at Corcoran Expositions at 312-541-0567 or carly@corcexpo.com; all others should contact PLA at 800-545-2433 x5PLA (x5752) or pla@ala.org.


Contact Carly DiVito, Corcoran Expositions, 312-541-0567 or carly@corcexpo.com.


No carrying of firearms allowed in the Colorado Convention Center unless you’re on-duty law enforcement or off-duty and on payroll of the show or SMG (convention center management).


The official conference hashtag is #PLA2016.


Contact Heather Cho, ALA Media Relations Specialist, 312-280-4020 or hcho@ala.org. Please review our conference media policy.


ALA and PLA membership is managed by the ALA Membership & Customer Service (MACS) unit. To join, renew, rejoin, or add to your membership, fill out a secure form online; or print and fill out a membership form and fax or mail it in; or call 800-545-2433 and press 5. Direct your membership questions to MACS at customerservice@ala.org or 800-545-2433 and press 5. MACS representatives are available Monday–Friday, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM Central.

Mobile App

Attendees can access full event schedule, evaluate sessions, customize their own agenda, and compete in the Extraordinary Exhibits photo challenge game on the PLA 2016 mobile app. To request assistance with the mobile app, please e-mail pla2016app@ala.org.

PLA Office

The PLA Office is located in A Mezzanine in the Colorado Convention Center. You can access the A Mezzanine from any of the lobbies using Elevator A, across from registration, and press the MZ button to get to the Mezzanine. You can also access A Mezzanine from Exhibit Hall A using Stairwell 30. The office phone numbers are 303-228-8450 and 303-228-8451. Onsite office hours are Monday, April 4–Friday, April 8, 8:00 AM–5:00 PM; Saturday, April 9, 8:00 AM–1:00 PM.

Registration & Housing

Onsite registration hours are Tuesday, April 5, 7:30 AM–5:00 PM; Wednesday, April 6, 7:30 AM–6:30 PM; Thursday, April 7, 7:30 AM–5:30 PM; Friday, April 8, 7:30 AM–4:00 PM; and Saturday, April 9, 8:00–10:00 AM. Conference registration and housing is managed by Experient. Call or e-mail your questions, 800-424-5249 (U.S. and Canada), 847-996-5829 (all other countries), or pla@experient-inc.com. Experient representatives are available Monday–Friday, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM Eastern. PLA Conference is a professional event. It is not open to the public.


Contact Corcoran Expositions, Mary Michalik at 312-265-9650, mary@corcexpo.com; or Matt McLaughlin at 312-265-9655, matt@corcexpo.com.

Thank you PLA Conference Sponsors!


Most conference events—including all preconferences and concurrent program sessions—will take place in the Colorado Convention Center (CCC), 700 14th Street, Denver, CO 80202. Additional events will be held at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, 650 15th Street, Denver, CO 80202, and other venues as indicated.

Other Questions

Contact PLA, 800-545-2433 x5PLA (x5752) or pla@ala.org; or find someone to help in the PLA Staff directory.