Welcome to Libraries Thrive

cathy-326x423For more detailed information on my background and experience, please see my resume.

I am a consultant with real library experience who can help your organization do more than survive…you can thrive! For more than 31 years, I gathered library experience in everything from direct customer service to management and administration.

Now, as a library planner, speaker, and trainer, I’m enjoying the opportunity to help libraries all around the country develop new leadership, respond to changing community needs and match their services and resources to 21st century realities.

Hakala-Ausperk_cvr.inddI am the author of Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success (ALA, 2011), Build a Great Team: One Year to Success (ALA, 2013), and the upcoming Renew Yourself: A Six-Step Plan for More Meaningful Work (ALA, 2017). Read more about it here:  librariesthrive.com/New/renew-six-step-plan-meaningful-work/

I am also an adjunct instructor at Kent State (OH) University’s School of Library and Information Science, and I teach for the American Library Association’s Certified Public Library Administrator Program (CPLA), InfoPeople and more.

I additionally offer coaching and problem-solving ideas through my Demco blog entitled “Library Advice: That’s a Great Question!”  My passion is for supporting and developing great libraries, successful team members, and – especially – strong and effective library leaders.

What can I do to help your library thrive?

Here are Three Key Library Services I Offer


Strategic Planning. Business Concept.

I can help you create a balanced strategic plan that actually works for your library! I’ll help you create it and put it into motion.

With more than 30 years’ experience in public libraries, I’ve created a hybrid planning model called “Balanced Planning” that is uniquely successful in helping to keep libraries focused for today – and tomorrow. Why? Because it begins in your community and ends with each and every member of your staff.

  • It starts with the community. Using a paper and online questionnaire, we collect hundreds of opinions on what is important in your community today.
  • It works. We begin by creating a Planning Team that will continue to meet, oversee, adjust and celebrate this all of these steps through the life of your strategic plan.

Here’s what Julie Rothenfluh, Executive Director of the Naperville (IL) Public Library said about a recent project I completed with her library.

Cathy, working with you on this project has been a great experience for staff, the board and the community. I believe your experience with libraries has been a key to how well the process has worked.


blurred business man finger touching now hiring tab

I can help Boards successfully find their next – perfect – director and then create and maintain a healthy, professional and effective Board/Director Team.

Staying focused on just what type of director your library needs, then making sure the Board sets them up for success is how I approach both director searches, orientations and goal setting. Here’s what CE Consultant Patti Poe of The Northeast Kansas Library System had to say about my work in this area:

Working with Cathy Hakala-Ausperk resulted in an excellent, customized workshop for the library trustees in our regional library system. She was thorough in her preparations – gathering input from our system staff and director on “critical” information needs to be included. As a result, the workshop that Hakala-Ausperk presented was focused, professional and exactly what our trustees needed to know. We would love to have her make a return visit for additional trainings on other topics. It was an exceptional day of learning and one that will have far-reaching impact with our library board members and directors.


Inspire Microphone Word Cord Motivational Speaker Keynote Addres

I’m happy to provide everything from a week-long, residential academy to day-long pre-conferences, workshops, keynotes or breakout sessions on a large variety of leadership, customer service and other library topics.

I’ve twice facilitated the week-long Leadership Academy sponsored by the Indiana State Library and I’ve presented many day-long pre-conferences at states around the county in advance of annual conferences. Whether you need a keynote speaker ,a thought provoking breakout session or a more in-depth, residential experience, I can design content that is relevant to your individual library’s needs.

Here’s what Jimmie Epling, Director of Darlington County (SC) Library System had to say about my recent visit to their annual conference:

Often, when you hear a speaker on leadership and team building, you sometimes wonder how much real world experience do they have to back up their advice. Catherine Hakala-Ausperk brings a wealth of real world, front line experience to her leadership and teamwork presentations, that make them relevant to those in every level of your organization.