Monthly Archives: August 2015

CEO: Feel the power! Well….hold that thought for a minute.

I have recently been made CEO/Head Librarian for the Laurentian Hills Public Library. I admit it is alot of work and responsibility, but after being guided by the former CEO’s of the Library and reading up on the OLBA website about the actual responsibilities of the CEO, this job is not as scarry as it first seemed.

A few years ago, I was in a rock band and we had talked about incorporating or trying to operate it as a business. The guitarist immediately called CEO. His vision, like many others, of what a CEO did was largely based on the societal expectations of CEO: The man/woman with the power. Think of most tv shows who has a CEO and they arew the one demanding answers and holding all the power while the board cowers. This is not actually how a CEO or board acts, atleast not in terms of a public library.

What my colleague did not know was that CEO’s are generally elected (or in my case) hired by the board. In essence the board is your boss. As CEO you do not actually have any real say or vote in the board meetings. You are there as an advisor and the board votes on various things regarding the organization; in this case the library.

A CEO has very little power, they can sway a board with their advice, but are not the commanding domineers that television presents to the public. Using the example above, my colleague in the band basically nominated himself without board approval (the board being the rest of the band), then as CEO he no longer had any voting rights in the band and took on the role of advisor without even realizing it. We at the time had no clue this was how it actually worked and it was just a good laugh.

The role that I find myself in is actually a very comfortable one with the library. Though I have yet to meet the board as a whole, I have met several of the board members and find that they are very pleasant to deal with. Becoming acquainted with my board members has put my mind at ease and now that I am more educated about my role, the stress of being the “big wig in charge’ has diminished greatly. From what I hear many of the board members are nearly as new to this as I am, so it should be a good starting point for all of us when the meetings resume in September.