Imagine the Possibilities

Concurrent Program Session

Hire for Fit: Best Practices for Hiring to Your Culture

Saturday, March 24, 2018, 10:45 AM - 11:45 AM

Pennsylvania Convention Center, Ballroom A

Does your library have a unique culture that attracts a certain kind of talent? Want to increase your success at hiring and keeping stars for your team? Want to know what rules to break, what data points to track, what question to always ask and what to do with red flags and green flags? Want to compare questions and techniques with libraries with 3 very different cultures? Join us!

At the end of this session, participants will:

1: Craft interview questions to hire staff who better fit the culture of their libraries 2: Design interview processes to increase hiring success and retention 3: Track the success of their new hires through data

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

This session will have: Medium interaction (example: single speaker/panel with questions or discussion throughout)

Handouts: Download 1   Download 2  

Track: Lead

Tags: Staffing, Administration and Management, Assessment and Evaluation, Human Resources, Leadership, Personnel and Staffing


Donna Walker, Director of Public Services
Jefferson County Public Library , Lakewood , CO

Donna Walker is director of Public Services for Jefferson County Public Library. She oversees development and delivery of library and digital services. Walker was named a "Mover and Shaker" in 2011 by Library Journal and has presented at numerous conferences on library outreach, staffing models, and best practices. Walker received her MLIS from the University of Washington, an MA in English from the University of Denver and a BA in English from Elmhurst College.

Julianne Rist, Director of Public Services
Jefferson County Public Library , Lakewood , CO


Sandie Coutts, Director of Employee Relations and Development
Jefferson County Public Library , Lakewood , CO

Sandie Coutts oversees HR and training at Jefferson County Public Library. Sandie's previous positions include County OD & Training Specialist, Head Start Director, and 15 years teaching in public education in the UK. Sandie immigrated to the US in 2002 and holds a BA in English Literature plus Masters in Education from the Universities of Newcastle and Teesside. Sandie currently holds several OD & Training certifications and is a member of SHRM and IPMA-HR

Tim McClelland, Patron Services Manager
City of Boulder Library & Arts , Boulder , CO

Tim McClelland is Patron Services Manager at the Boulder Public Library (named Colorado Library of the Year in 2016 by the Colorado Association of Libraries). He supervises circulation, reference, and adult services at the Main Branch. He has supervised at various libraries and retail environments over the past decade. McClelland received his BS in Business Administration & Marketing and his MLS from Indiana University in 2013.

Susan Dobbs, Human Resources Director
Anythink Libraries , Thornton , CO

Susan Dobbs is the Assistant Director for Anythink Libraries. She was integral to the library's reinvention and shifting the culture to one that embraces change, creativity and hospitality. She also leads the district's staff appreciation task force, dubbed the Yellow Geckos, to support a culture of optimism and play at Anythink. She has been in the human resources field for over 15 years, previously in the high-tech start-up industry.

For questions about…

Cancellation Policy

The PLA 2018 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.

Attendee Cancellation Policy

Written cancellations, requests for refunds, and/or changes will be accepted until February 23, 2018, and are subject to a $30 handling fee. Refunds will be processed after April 23, 2018. According to PLA policy, all meal events require preregistration. The above cancellation/change information also applies to all preconferences, meal events, and tours. No meal tickets will be sold onsite.

Exhibitor Cancellation Policy

All booth space cancellation requests must be received in writing by Show Management (Corcoran Expositions). If space is reduced, the net reduction of space will be treated as a cancellation of that space. If Show Management receives a written request for cancellation of space on or before October 31, 2017, the exhibitor will be eligible for a refund less the nonrefundable deposit of $950 per 100 square feet of exhibit space. For cancellations received after October 31, 2017, exhibitors are liable for 100% of the cost of space.


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


Interested in exhibiting at PLA 2018? Contact Carly DiVito, Corcoran Expositions, at 312-541-0567 or


Contact Macey Morales, Deputy Director, ALA Public Awareness Office, 312-280-4393 or Please review our conference media policy.


ALA and PLA membership is managed by the ALA Membership & Customer Service (MACS) unit. You can join or renew/rejoin/add to your membership using ALA’s secure online form; or you can 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 or 800-545-2433 and press 5. MACS representatives are available Monday–Friday, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM Central.

Registration & Housing

Problems or questions regarding registration or housing? Contact Experient at or 800-424-5249 (U.S. and Canada)/847-996-5829 (all other countries). Experient representatives are available Monday–Friday, 9:00 AM–6:00 PM Eastern.


To discuss PLA 2018 sponsorship opportunities, contact Corcoran Expositions, Mary Michalik at 312-265-9650,; or Matt McLaughlin at 312-265-9655,

Thank You PLA 2018 Conference Sponsors!

Other Questions

Many commonly asked questions are answered in our FAQ. If you don’t find the information you’re looking for, please contact PLA at 800-545-2433 x5PLA (x5752) or Or the PLA Staff directory may help you find just the right person to ask.

PLA 2016 Archive

Looking for handouts and other information from the PLA 2016 Conference, which took place April 5–9, 2016 in Denver, CO? The PLA 2016 Conference website has been archived at

View the list of past PLA Conferences from 1983 to present.