University of Wisconsin–Madison

Basic Public Library Administration

A public library director needs to possess a wide range of skills to be successful.

This course is intended to introduce new and future directors to the basics of public library administration. The emphasis will be on the reality of day to day operations, challenges, and opportunities to provide excellent service to your community.

Part of the Wisconsin Public Library Director Certification program.

This course is eligible for the Wisconsin Public Library Director Certification Course Scholarship.

At a glance

When: Sept 14 – Dec 6, 2020

Where: Online

Cost: $425 (Register 2 weeks early for 10% off)

CE Credit: 3.5 CEUs/35 LEUs

Program: 305221

Questions? Contact Meredith Lowe or Anna Palmer

Register online

Due to remote work continuing into the Fall, please use the online registration option. If you need alternate arrangements, email Anna Palmer, or Meredith Lowe, Alternate registration options may result in delays.

Payment and Cancellation Policy

Login information will be emailed to you a few days before the course begins

Course details


  • History and mission of public library
  • Roles of professional organizations, library systems, and networks
  • Working with elected and municipal officials
  • Responsibilities of the director, staff, and trustees, including open meeting laws and by-laws
  • Intellectual freedom and confidentiality
  • Financial Management 1: introduction to budgeting
  • Financial Management 2: developing and implementing a budget, reports and record keeping
  • Financial Management 3: budget presentations, fundraising, and grant writing
  • Library Services: customer service, programming, organization and selection of materials, reference
  • Interlibrary loan, delivery, shared systems, digital resources


The class covers weekly topics through readings, links, power points and discussion questions. You are expected to participate in weekly lessons with online discussions/postings on real-life situations and an assignment related to the topic.

Required Textbook

Small Public Library Management, by Jane Pearlmutter and Paul Nelson. ALA Editions, 2012.

Students may purchase the textbook through ALA or any other book store, rent the textbook, or obtain it through inter-library loan.


Stacey Lunsford received B.A. in English in 1988 and M.A. in Library Science in 2000, both from University of Iowa.  She started her career as a library director in her hometown of Hanlontown, Iowa, pop. 226.  She has been the director of the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library in Whitewater, Wisconsin for the past 17 years and received a Certified Public Library Administrator designation from the ALA-Allied Professional Association in 2015.