Library Trustees Overview


Trustee Qualifications and Responsibilities

A good board of trustees :
  • supports the execution of library policies to offer impartial service to all library users
  • advocates for improved library service
  • has a current library card
  • represents the diversity of the community with respect to interests, age, and socioeconomic levels
  • has a regular infusion of new members
  • networks with community leaders and organizations
  • knows library trends and standards
  • complies with the legal authority, state statutes, and local ordinances and board regulations under which the library operates


Trustee Selection and Appointment

See SD Codified Law 14-2-35, which specifies the make-up of a library board.

Appointment:

The chairperson of the board must notify the appointing body of vacancies as soon as they occur, and appointments should be made immediately. The new person will fill the remaining term of the vacancy.

Reappointment:

Truly outstanding members can be reappointed to the board, but no one should serve indefinitely. The board chairmanship should be rotated among members. Each member should be appointed for a specific 3-year term and know when (month and year) their term expires. Terms should be specified in the appointment document.


Board – Library Director Relationship
The librarian or library director is employed to handle the day-to-day administration of the library. Both the board and the governing body should support the director in performing her/his administrative responsibilities. The board should ensure the director's continued education and development by encouraging participation in professional associations and by requiring attendance at workshops and conferences. The board itself should also take responsibility for its own continuing education. The table below contrasts the personnel oversight responsibilities of the library director and the board.


Responsibilities of Trustees and Librarian

Trustee
Librarian
The most important duty of the board of trustees is to hire a qualified, competent librarian.
When hiring a new librarian, the board should:
  1. Decide on the salary range based on the budget and the qualifications of the position. Where possible, the librarian
    should be a graduate of a library school accredited by the American Library Association.
  2. Obtain assistance in seeking qualified applicants from the state library, accredited library schools and professional organizations through advertising in their publications.
  3. Follow the hiring procedures of the governing body.
  4. Having hired a librarian, let her/him handle the everyday management of the library. A written job description and
    written goals and objectives should be agreed upon at time of hiring (or subsequently). A performance review based
    on the library director’s job description and goals and objectives at the midpoint and upon completion of the
    probationary period is recommended.
  5. Provide funds and professional leave for the librarian, staff, and board members to attend State Library sponsored workshops and whatever other continuing education opportunities that may be necessary to keep abreast of current trends in librarianship and to maintain their certification and library accreditation.
SD State Library Voluntary Certification/Accreditation Program
Hiring a New Director Resource Packet
Administer the personnel policies of the library.
The librarian should:
  1. Select and supervise all library personnel.
  2. Administer all aspects of the library’s personnel policy.
  3. Serve as the channel of communications between the staff and the board of trustees.
  4. Urge staff members to apply for, maintain and/or upgrade their South Dakota State Library voluntary certification.


Public Relations
Trustees serve as the public's representatives to the library and as the library's representative to the public it serves. This list defines the public relations role of trustees and the librarian:
Trustee
Librarian
Library user.
Maintains a high level of library service, and a friendly, inviting atmosphere within the library.
Promote library services and needs to trustees' business associates and to the public.
Develops a sustained public relations campaign through the use of personal appearances, media coverage, display materials and special promotions.
Studies and actively supports legislation to improve library services on local, state and national levels
Studies and actively supports legislation to improve library services on local, state and national levels
Support the librarian’s efforts to maintain an effective public relations program.

Establishes a good working relationship and maintain year-round cordial contact with the city or county commissioners, community leaders, and other government officials.
Establishes a good working relationship and maintain year-round cordial contact with the city or county commissioners, community leaders, and other government officials
Participates, when asked, in formal public relations activities.



Trustee Ethics Tools

New trustees want to be good board members, but they are not always familiar with the ethical concerns of a non-profit board. The library should have an Ethics Statement for Library Trustees and this should be shared with new board members.
Sample statements are available at the following URLs: