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City of Torrance
Class Code: 1630

Class Designation: Civil Service

December 2005

Representation Unit: Executive and Management Employees


Principal Librarian


Under direction, plans, organizes and manages the activities of a major service area such as public or operational services; performs long range planning for library collections and automated resources; services as technical resource for staff and the City Librarian; and performs related work as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The Principal Librarian is distinguished from the City Librarian in that the incumbent does not have responsibility for the entire library system and is distinguished from Senior Librarians who are the first line supervisors responsible for the daily operations of a specific function within the Library system.  The Principal Librarian is a management level class that performs the full range of complex tasks and works under direction within a framework of established procedures.  Work is evaluated primarily on overall results with latitude in determining work methods and assignments.

Supervision Exercised/Received

Receives general direction from the City Librarian and exercises direct supervision over Senior Librarians and other professional staff; may provide functional supervision over support staff.

Examples of Important and Essential Duties
The following duties represent the principal job duties; however, they are not all-inclusive. 

  • Plans, assigns, coordinates and manages the activities of a major library service area, such as public services including extension, outreach, youth and cultural services, or operational services including automated systems and collection management.
  • Plans and directs the work of staff including: coaching staff, training, assigning, reviewing, evaluating work performance, coordinating activities, maintaining standards, allocating personnel, selecting new employees, acting on employee problems and recommending employee discipline.
  • Participates in the development, implementation and evaluation of operational objectives for short and long-range planning.
  • Assists in development of and ensures compliance with rules, policies and procedures.
  • Plans, organizes and coordinates public programs and outreach efforts of the library systems; oversees public relations and customer service functions.
  • Manages and oversees the Library's automation program, directs research and makes recommendations for the application of technology including the preparation of grant proposals for automated services and equipment; and serves as the department liaison with Information Technology staff and outside service providers.
  • Develops and implements special programs and projects, contracts and grant proposals.
  • Keep abreast of changing trends and technology in public library operations, and implements policy and procedure improvements as appropriate.
  • Assists in the preparation of the Library budget including forecasting, administration and monitoring.
  • Manages collection development, including selection, acquisition and maintenance of appropriate print and non-print materials.
  • Prepare various reports, records and correspondence and assists in the coordination of research and development.
  • Makes presentations before City Commissions, the City Council and Council Committees on library-related items.
  • Provides staff support to the Library Commission, Friends of the Library and other library related support groups.
  • Participates as a member on internal and external teams, committees and boards as required.
  • Responds to questions and concerns from library clientele, the general public, department and City staff, and other agencies; and resolves service issues or complaints.
  • Acts on behalf of City Librarian in his/her absence.
  • Examples of Other Duties

    The following duties represent duties that are generally performed by this position, but are not considered to be principal job duties:

  • Conducts and/or attends meetings as required.
  • Perform related duties as required.
  • Minimum Qualification Guidelines

    Knowledge of
  • Principles and practices of public librarianship and public administration.
  • Principles, techniques and practices of modern library management, including administration, circulation, reference, youth services, branch and technical processes.
  • Principles of supervision, management, training and employee relations.
  • Library programs appropriate for all segments of the community.
  • Automated systems, software and techniques applicable to library operations.
  • Materials selection criteria for a public library.
  • Non-print materials, audio-visual procedures and techniques.
  • Reading guidance techniques for a public library.
  • Budget preparation principles. 
  • Public relations and customer service techniques.
  • Research and report writing techniques.
  • Project management techniques.
  • City ordinances and administrative rules and regulations affecting departmental operations and personnel matters.
  • General City operations.
  • Federal and state programs related to libraries.
  • Modern office practices, methods and equipment.
  • Ability to
  • Supervise subordinates including training, assigning, monitoring and evaluating work, counseling and disciplining staff, and processing grievances.
  • Develop and manage programs; establish measurable objectives and work standards, development and implement policies and procedures.
  • Conduct studies, including data collection, analysis and evaluate alternatives and develop recommendations to resolve problems or issues.
  • Analyze complex issues, evaluate alternative solutions, develop sound conclusions and recommend a course of action.
  • Interpret and apply Memoranda of Understanding, City ordinances and administrative rules and regulations affecting departmental operations and personnel matters.
  • Prepare and monitor a section budget and establish budgetary controls.
  • Plan and develop automated processes within the library system.
  • Evaluate books and non-print materials; develop, maintain and evaluate materials collection.
  • Prepare and present reports, correspondence, and agenda items for the City Council, City committees and boards.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with City employees, City Commissioners, public officials, private and community organizations and the public.
  • Communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
  • Maintain confidentiality and exercise sound judgment.
  • Make effective public presentations.
  • Utilize a computer, databases and a variety of software applications and office equipment.
  • Follow oral and written instructions.
  • License or Certificate

    Master of Library Science or of Library and Information Science degree from an ALA accredited college or university.

    Education and Experience

    Any combination of education and experience that would have provided the required knowledge and skills is qualifying.  A typical way to obtain the knowledge and skills would be:

    Four years of professional library experience, including at least two years of experience supervising professional library staff; and a Master of Library Science or Master of Library and Information Science degree from an ALA accredited college or university.

    Special Requirements

    Performance of the essential duties of this position includes the following physical demands and/or working conditions:

    Requires the ability to exert a small amount of physical effort in sedentary to light work involving stooping and bending, and moving from one area of the office to another; sufficient hand/eye coordination to perform repetitive movements, such as the use of calculators or other office equipment and supplies.  Tasks require visual perception and discrimination and oral communications ability.  Tasks are regularly performed without exposure to adverse environmental conditions.

    Career Ladder Information

    Experience gained in this classification would serve toward meeting the minimum requirements for promotion to City Librarian.