The board of trustees is responsible for adopting written policies that govern and guide all phases of library operation. Policies are general, flexible statements governing library operations, rules and use. They are not carved in stone. Policies must be tailored to meet changing local conditions and should be derived from the library's mission statement. The following list categorizes the responsibilities of the trustees and librarian:

I think this part is good to delineate responsibilities.--jane
Establish goals and objectives of
Participates in the develop-
the library in a
ment of the long-range
written long-range plan that should
be revised annually.

Recommends needed policies
Determine and adopt written
to the board of trustees.
policies to govern the

programs, operation and
Administers the library in
use of the library.
accordance with adopted

Consider any citizen or staff
Interprets policies to
complaints or suggestions in
staff and public.
regard to adopted policies.

Policy Manual:
The policy manual must contain the following minimum information:
  1. Astatement of the goals and objectives of the library;
  2. detailed library materials selection policy* which includes selection priorities, the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read statement and a procedure for handling citizen complaints.
  3. Regulations for library use must include the following
    1. Hours of service
    2. Loan periods and fines (if any)
    3. Replacement of library materials
    4. Policy in regard to abuse of library privileges
    5. Acceptance or rejection of gifts
    6. Use of library meeting rooms
    7. Exhibits by individuals or organizations
*see Appendix D?? - use?
4. Staff regulations must include the following: Jane: most of our libraries are governed & funded by their city or county, and staff regulations would be the same as for that entity. A library could put a link to their funding body’s HR policies or insert them in iprint. Any policies that deviate should be spelled out.
a. leave, vacation, sick leave, holidays b. travel time and expenses to library meetings, conferences, etc. c. other fringe benefits d. staff responsibilities, job descriptions and salary schedules
Library employee benefits, salaries and job descriptions should be compatible with the benefits, salaries and job descriptions of other employees of the local governmental unit.
The policy manual should be revised in entirety at least once every five years and reviewed annually.

From Jane email 7.2.2013Non-Resident policy FAQ

Why should my library have a policy?
  • Consistently apply library borrowing privileges policy for non-residents.
  • All staff, volunteers and board members know and follow the non-resident policy.
  • Eliminate crisis policy making when a non-resident asks to borrow materials
  • Clarify communication about non-resident policies to the public
  • Respect and protect your support base, your local taxpayers whose tax dollars pay for library support and services.

Should my library charge non-residents?
First, whether you charge or not, you should have a non-resident policy as a library best practice.

Second, charging non-residents is up to your library board and funding body. This is about fairness. Your legal service area population pays taxes to support your library, even if they are not library users. Should non-residents have the same privileges and services for free? It’s up to you. Tax-supported service providers have been sued for giving service to non-residents. Some states have enacted laws requiring tax-supported entities to charge non-residents to avoid possible lawsuits.

State Librarian Daria Bossman advises, “ The important thing to take away is that it is vital for each library board to write, approve and have in place a user’s policy and more specifically, a nonresident (however you define it) user’s fee policy. Even if you chose to not charge anyone living beyond your defined boundaries, it is a very wise practice to have a written policy stating why you do not charge nonresidents (non-tax payers) for library usage. One example would be where the municipal library receives from the county supervisors a healthy contribution of county funds to its annual budget. Regardless of your circumstances such policies could protect the library board from potential lawsuits by disgruntled tax-paying citizens” (from Bossman’s “Board Talk” article, Cornerstone, July 2011,

What is a legal service area?
You enter this number into your annual reports. The Institution of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) defines a legal service area this way:
Population of the Legal Service Area
The number of people in the geographic area for which a public library has been established to offer services and from which (or on behalf of which) the library derives revenue, plus any areas served under contract for which the library is the primary service provider.
Note: The determination of this population figure shall be the responsibility of the state library agency. This population figure should be based on the most recent official state population figures for jurisdictions in your state available from the State Data Center. The State Data Coordinator should obtain these figures annually from the State Data Center or other official state sources.

Another question on the South Dakota Public Library Survey asks you to “Estimate the population of the total service area. For example, a city library that serves the larger shopping area would enter that number here. A combo library which has city authority for its public side, but serves a larger school district, would include the school district population here. In this situation, try not to guess but get the most recent numbers from the school's main administrative office.” (Question A17)
If my library charges non-residents, how do I calculate the amount?
The best fee is based on something close to what the per capita taxes are for residents. Take the total amount you receive from government sources and divide by your legal service area population to get your annual per capital contribution. All this information is in your annual report. Averages (state and national) are in the Data Digests each year. (

For more information, see Bossman’s “Board Talk,” Cornerstone, July 2011:

What expiration dates should my library use for non-residents?
That is up to you and your library board. Cards should expire at least annually. Some libraries prefer shorter terms, such as 3 or 6 months, to accommodate non-residents in the area temporarily. To renew the card, the non-resident patron should pay any required fees and verify contact information.

How often should my library review this policy?
Like all policies, this one should be reviewed every three to five years, with changes made when necessary as the tax base changes. Some libraries review and adjust their non-resident policy annually.

How do I write a non-resident policy?
Keep it clear and simple. Here are some examples:
Watertown Regional Library’s policies:
Irving, TX, Public Library:
Grand County Public Library, Moab, UT:
Here is a template:
(Name of your) Library is a public facility supported by taxes from the residents of the (your municipality).
Non-residents who desire library borrowing privileges will be charged a (time period, for example, annual) fee based on the per capita cost paid by residents of (name of your municipality).
The library also provides services to non-residents, as desired by (your municipality) because _. These services include (specify which services non-residents may use, for example, borrowing books).__
Non-residents may use library materials in the library during regular hours.
MODEL POLICIES (rather than use specifics like what is in the original manual, I suggest we use the links we’ve gathered, plus this from Georgia. We just have to remember to check for broken links.)

List of Suggested Library Policies

Service Policies
Collection Development
  • Scope of Collections
  • Criteria for Selection
  • Responsibility for Selection
  • Gifts and Donations
  • Evaluation, Weeding and Maintenance
  • Access to Collections
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • Challenged Materials
Facilities Use
  • Hours of Operation
  • Accessibility
  • Building Security
  • Meeting Room Use
  • Exhibits and Displays
  • Bulletin Boards and Materials Distribution
  • Patron Behavior
  • Unattended Children
  • Copiers and Other Equipment Use
  • Emergencies and Disasters
Community Relations
  • Public Information and Publicity
  • Friends of the Library
  • Partnerships and Cooperative
  • Volunteers
  • Suggestions and Complaints
Materials Use and Circulation
  • Borrower Eligibility
  • Confidentiality of Patron Records
  • Loan Periods and Renewals
  • Requests for Items Unavailable
  • Holds on Items Owned
  • Requests for Purchase
  • PINES and Interlibrary loans
  • Reserved Materials
  • Overdue Fines
  • Charges for Damaged and Lost Materials
  • Reference and Special Collections
Computer Access and Use
  • Internet Safety Policy
  • Printing Charges
Services Offered
  • Free
  • Fee-based

Internal Policies

Board of Trustees Policies
  • Authority
  • Constitutions and Bylaws
  • Appointments
  • Roles and Job Descriptions
  • Meetings
  • Officers
  • Risk Management
  • Ethics
  • Job Classifications and Descriptions
  • Salary Schedule and Benefits
  • Employee Recruitment, Selection, Appointment
  • Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action
  • Working Conditions
  • Chain of Command
  • Evaluation, Discipline and Termination
  • Separation
  • Grievances
  • Association Memberships, Workshops and Travel
  • Budget and Funding
  • Financial Reports
  • Purchasing
  • Contracts and Bidding
  • Investments
  • Audits
  • Bonding
  • Insurance
  • Gifts
  • Capital Assets
  • Inventory
  • Surplus Property
Source: //Tools for Trustees: The Georgia Public Library Trustee Manual//by Lyn Hopper

SD Library Policies online

Alexander Mitchell (Aberdeen)
Brookings Public
Freeman Public
Hot Springs Public
Huron Public
Madison Public
Mitchell Public—some policies listed under “Library Information” link:
Rapid City Public Library
Sturgis Public

Tech planning policy
Add links to ALA’s Library Bill of Rights, Restricted Access to Library Materials, Confidentiality of Library Records, Challenged Materials, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, Access for Children and Young People to Videotapes and Other Non-print Formats, Labeling, Expurgation, Evaluating Library Collections, Exhibit Spaces and Bulletin Boards, Meeting Rooms, Diversity in Collection Development statements? Many of these are interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights.