Hire a System Administrator
Is it time for you to hire a system administrator?
The trick to hiring a systems administrator is to find someone who has excellent technical skills, but who is willing to compromise financially in order to follow their values and work for a library. Don't despair! Such people exist, although it may take some digging to find them.
Before you hire someone, check if you have someone on staff with both the aptitude and interest to do this work. Consider re-allocating his or her time and providing the additional training necessary to do the job.
It is a good idea to think through how you will structure this position to attract the right person and minimize turnover, since IT folks are so hard to replace. For many IT people, continued training and chances to keep their technical knowledge up to date are of vital importance. They may be willing to accept decreased salaries, but they will leave if they feel their technical skills are stagnating. Therefore, it's vital to budget for regular training opportunities (and to provide them the time to take the training). It's also vital to keep IT folks in the mainstream of your library. It's easy sometimes to isolate IT staff and not interact with them unless you have a computer problem. However, appreciating the contribution they make to your library -- and sharing that appreciation with them on a regular basis -- will help you to keep your systems staff loyal and involved.
Write a job description
Before you write the job description, you will want to give some thought to the way your library uses computers now and what your plans for the future are. Because technology changes so quickly, it's especially important to use each hiring situation as an opportunity to review your technology staffing needs. If you are going to switch from a stand-alone environment to a networked environment in the next few months, you may want to look for someone with networking experience. What about staff assistance, helpdesk duties, and staff training? Should those be included in the systems administrator's job? Do you want this person to be a part of your management group? If not, how will you insure appropriate IT input into management planning efforts? Do you expect this person to be responsible for the administration of your Web site or internal database?
Post your job description
Places to post a job description include:
Colleges, Universities and Trade Schools. Many libraries have been able to hire computer-literate college students at relatively low rates to become their system administrators. Contact the school's career center and see how they post job listings. They may have an online job posting service as well as job binders or bulletin boards.
Online Library Job Boards
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