Board Meetings

Regular library board meetings must be held. South Dakota Codified Law, SDCL 14-2-40(5), requires "Each board of public library trustees shall ... meet at least once during each quarter of the year." The library director should attend each meeting and serve as secretary to the board. Active libraries generally find it beneficial to meet monthly.

The chairperson and the library director should prepare the agenda and send it to the board members prior to each meeting, following the South Dakota Open Meetings Law, SDCL 1-25. (More information about Open Meetings Law.)
Although discussions can be informal, the meetings should be conducted according to simple parliamentary procedure. The typical parliamentary order of business is listed below:

  • Reading, amendment (if necessary) and approval of minutes of previous meeting
  • Correspondence and communications
  • Report of the librarian
  • Financial report
  • Reports from committees
  • Unfinished business
  • New business
  • Adjournment

The chairperson should conduct a controlled meeting with directed, pertinent discussion. Every board member must be given the opportunity to speak. See Robert's Rules of Order Parliamentary Procedure . In addition, check out Parliamentary Procedure advice from Dr. John A. Cagle.

To make every meeting meaningful, complete routine business quickly to allow time for open discussion on long-range planning, policy review, methods of extending service to unreached portions of the community, and other big picture topics.


Orientation for the Board Member

A good organized orientation will include information packets with detailed information on responsibilities and ethics:
    1. Schedule of board meetings
    2. A technology development and replacement plan
    3. Library board bylaws
    4. Minutes of the previous year’s meetings
    5. Staff list with position descriptions
    6. Recent annual reports
    7. Current budget and financial reports
    8. Library board policy manual and schedule for policy review
    9. Access to the current strategic plan, if one has been developed
    10. An ADA Compliance Plan, if one has been developed
    11. Board duties
    12. The difference between the responsibilities of the library director and board members
    13. The library, past and present - it's legal basis, finances, physical facilities, policies, collection, services
    14. The community - history, demographics, economics, education, politics
    15. State and national library information - laws, legislation, services of SD State Library, statewide plans for library development, state and national standards
The packets will help the trustees gain confidence as they begin their new duties and get the new trustees involved in board business early in their first term.

The librarian should also provide a map showing any branches, stations and bookmobile stops; names, addresses and telephone numbers of other members of the board, etc. The librarian should conduct a library tour for board members and introduce staff members and volunteers.


Bylaws

The board of trustees must have an organized routine to conduct its affairs effectively, as outlined in its legally required bylaws in SDCL 14-2-40(2) :
  1. Place and time of regular meetings
  2. Order of business
  3. Officers, committees, and their duties
  4. Date of annual meeting to consider the budget (if one is held)
  5. Procedure for calling special meetings
  6. Definition of a quorum
  7. Parliamentary rules to be followed
  8. The role of the library director
  9. Procedure for amending the bylaws
  10. Limitations on board members

Sample Bylaws of a Public Library
Selected SD libraries:
Brookings Public Library bylaws
Freeman Public Library bylaws

Generic Sample Bylaws of a Public Library

(Please note: this section is a template that can be revised to fit your library needs)
Board of Trustees

Article I - Name and Authorization
This organization shall be called "The Board of Trustees of the Library," existing by virtue of the provision of Chapter 14-2 of the South Dakota Codified Laws, and exercising the powers and authority and assuming the responsibilities delegated to it under the said statute.

Article II - Meetings
The library board shall meet on the _ day of the month or months at _ time at the library. An annual meeting shall be held at the time of the regular monthly meeting for the month of ___
Special meetings may be called by the president or upon the written request of three members for the transaction of business stated in the call for the meeting.

Article III – Officers
Board officers shall be as follows: president, vice president and secretary. The librarian shall serve as secretary of the board. All other officers shall be elected from among the trustees by ballot at the annual meeting of the board. Each officer shall serve a term of one year in such office, and may be re-elected in subsequent years.
The president of the board shall preside at all meetings, certify all actions approved by the board, authorize calls for any special meetings, and generally perform the duties of a presiding officer. In the absence of the president, the vice-president shall perform all duties authorized for the president.
The board secretary shall keep a true and accurate account of all proceedings of the board meetings; issue notices of all proceedings of the board meetings; issue notices of all regular meetings and, on the authorization of the president, of all special meetings; and have custody of the minutes and the other records of the board.
If the library board shall have direct charge of any funds, a treasurer shall be elected in the same manner as the president or vice-president. The treasurer shall have charge of such library funds, shall sign checks on the accounts on the board's authorization and report at each meeting on the state of the funds.

Article IV – Committees
Special committees for the study and investigation of special problems may be appointed by the president to serve until they have completed the work for which they were appointed.

Article V – Quorum
A quorum for the transaction of business shall be a simple majority of the board members.

Article VI – Librarian
The librarian is the board's executive officer and shall have sole charge of administering the library under the board's direction and review. The librarian shall be responsible for employing and directing the staff, for selecting library materials, for the care of the buildings and equipment, for the efficiency of the library's service to the public, and for operating the library under the financial conditions set forth in the annual budget. The librarian shall keep exact accounts of all moneys received or expended, and shall report on such receipts and expenditures at each regular meeting of the board. The librarian shall perform the duties of secretary of the library board, and shall attend all board meetings except when her or his employment or salary is to be discussed.

Article VII – Order of Business
The order of business at the regular meetings shall be as follows:
  • Roll call
  • Approval of previous meetings’ minutes
  • Correspondence and communications
  • Report of the librarian
  • Financial report and approval of expenditures
  • Reports of committees
  • Unfinished business
  • New business
  • Adjournment

Article VIII – Amendments
These bylaws may be amended by a simple majority of the members present at any regular board meeting that has a quorum, provided that the amendment was stated in the call for the meeting which was mailed to the members at least one week before the meeting.

Article IX – Limitations on Board Members
The term of office of trustees shall be three years. The board shall recommend to the appointing official that a trustee serve no more than two full consecutive terms, that a former board member may be reappointed after a lapse of one year and that if a trustee is appointed to serve an unexpired term of office exceeding 18 months it shall be considered a full term.
When any trustee fails to attend three consecutive meetings of the board the president shall notify the appointing authority, request the disqualification of the trustee, and suggest two to four persons qualified to fill the position.