MHLS Home Trustee Resources: Across the Board
A Trustee's Guide to the MHLS Web Site
Summer 2009

Across the Board | Summer 2009 | Topic: A Trustee's Guide to the MHLS Web Site
The Mid-Hudson Library System's Quarterly Newsletter for Public Library Trustees

The Mid-Hudson Library System web site is designed for the trustees and staff of our 66 member libraries. Content has been developed over the past decade in response to questions staff receive from member libraries and the trends we see and hear in the field. This issue of Across the Board is meant to be your "guide at the side" to help you make the most of your time on our site. We know there is a lot of "stuff" on our site and have worked to make our Web Site Index, the last button on the left, very comprehensive.

When you click on you will see three distinct areas: The center section gives you instant access to new resources, endeavors and opportunities. Currently, you can learn more about the federal stimulus funds, register for the upcoming Newsletters & eNewsletters workshop, and learn more about our special projects designed to help libraries build their base of supporters and win their budget votes.

The buttons to the left of the center section take you to basic information about MHLS:

Next is a listing of member library web sites, which is where we direct the public in all our press releases. Information about the MHLS Board of Trustees includes the minutes of earlier meetings and the current board packet. There is also information about the System by-laws and budget as well as the MHLS board orientation manual. The last button on the left-hand side is the Web Site Index mentioned earlier.

The buttons on the right provide resources by categories developed over the past few years. These categories are based on questions frequently asked of us by library staff and trustees. Our philosophy is, "if one person asks, there are more wondering." These areas are packed with valuable information and each section has its own index. An explanation of these sections follows.

Are you looking for answers to these questions?

(Q) How can I compare my library to others in the Mid-Hudson Library System?
(A) Check out the MHLS Statistical Reports from member libraries Annual Report data (under Budgeting & Finance) and Demographic Snapshots (under Planning & Evaluation).

(Q) We need to build a new library. Where do we start?
(A) Click on Facility Resources, then Construction Projects.

(Q) We need help managing personnel issues.
(A) Click on Human Resources / Personnel for help with salary information, benefits, director evaluation and more.

Are you looking for answers to these questions?

(Q) How can I find a sustainable funding source for my library?
(A) Take a look at the opening paragraph of the main page, which explains the options for each type of library.

(Q) How do we build community support for our library?
(A) Click on "Marketing & PR" where you can learn how to listen to your community and plan services that they will appreciate.

(Q) Where can I find a list of the newspapers for my area?
(A) Under "Marketing & PR" you will find a "Media Contacts" section, broken down by county. The list includes a media outlets transmission preference and their deadlines, in most cases.

(Q) Are there any sample presentations or press releases we can use?
(A) "Marketing & PR."

(Q) Where can I find contact information for our local legislators?
(A) Click on "Advocacy."

(Q) Where can I research grants for our building expansion?
(A) Click on "Fundraising," then "Grants" for a list of grants public libraries are eligible for. Also consider subscribing to the MHLS Friends & Fundraising Listserv for notification of grants for libraries while on the "Fundraising" page.

(Q) How can we run our annual book sale more efficiently?
(A) Visit the "Book Sale" section of the Fundraising page.

(Q) We've lost our IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter. Where can I get another copy?
(A) Visit the Fundraising page and look under "Tax-exempt Status (NYS & Federal)."

(Q) Our Friends Group needs help. Does MHLS provide any resources for them?
(A) Have your Friends visit the Fundraising section where they'll find an entire section devoted to Friends Groups.

(Q) How can we reach out to new residents in our community?
(A) Visit the "Marketing & PR" Section for our Reaching Out to New Residents Resource Kit and the Building Your Base toolkit.

Are you looking for answers to these questions?

(Q) Is there a handbook for public library trustees?
(A) Yes. The New York State Association of Library Boards has published such a handbook. In fact, the entire MHLS Trustee Resources section is organized around the content of that book.

(Q) Are there any NYS mandated standards for public libraries?
(A) Yes. Interspersed throughout this section of the website you will find helpful information for meeting NYS Public Library Minimum Standards.

(Q) I'm on the Policy Committee. Are there any sample library policies we could use?
(A) Yes. Click on "Policies" on the left side of the screen, then "Sample Public Library Policies & Policy Development Tips"

(Q) What are the responsibilities of the Board, of the Library Director?
(A) Check out the resources under "Roles & Responsibilities."

(Q) Does the Open Meetings Law apply to public libraries?
(A) Yes. Take a look at the "Board Meetings" section for more information.

(Q) We have trouble getting new Board members. Where can I find help?
(A) Start by reviewing the material under "Selection of Trustees."

(Q) Our long range plan expired last year. How do we get started on a new one?
(A) Start by looking under "Planning and Evaluation." Here you will find basic tools and guides to begin your community analysis and plan. Then call us to meet with your board for a long range planning consultation. This topic and many more are offered free of charge through our On-Demand Consultation Menu, located under the "MHLS Support" link.

(Q) My board needs help. Would MHLS come to one of our meetings and talk to us?
(A) Yes. Under "MHLS Support" you'll find a link to the MHLS On-Demand Consultations Menu. If you can't find what you're looking for, give us a call. We'd be happy to customize something for you.

Newsletters & eNewsletters: How-to, Best Practices, Tips & Shortcuts
Friday, July 31st, 1:00 - 3:00pm @MHLS Auditorium (105 Market Street, Poughkeepsie)
Register online:

Presented by Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, MHLS Coordinator of Member Information and featuring Julie Johnson, Director of the Kinderhook Memorial Library

This workshop is appropriate for staff, trustees or Friends interested in improving the library's communication with the community. It will be useful whether your library has a newsletter or if you are thinking about starting one.

The workshop will cover:

Trustee Education Opportunities
Each year, MHLS provides an education series specifically for member library trustees. Many of those who have attended commented on how valuable it was to meet with and discuss library issues with trustees outside of their own library board. There is a $100 incentive grant to libraries if three of their trustees attend a MHLS trustee training in 2009. The System will mail checks based on attendance. Registration is required:

Essential Trustee Duties & Responsibilities

Attendees will learn effective ways to carry out the nine essential library trustee duties and responsibilities (everything the library board does either falls within one of these duties or is done in support of them). Note: These sessions feature the updated content that was introduced last year.
- Thursday, September 17th, 6:00 - 8:00pm @MHLS Auditorium
- Saturday, September 26th, 10:00am - 12:00pm @Town of Esopus Library.

2009 Advanced Trustee Education Session:
Dealing with the Current Economic Situation
- Saturday, October 24th, 10:00am - 12:00pm @Germantown Library
- Thursday, October 29th, 6:00 - 8:00pm @Mahopac Library
- Thursday, November 5th, 6:00 - 8:00pm @MHLS Auditorium

On-Demand Trustee Consultation Menu
All consultations are free of charge, customizable and can be brought your library at your convenience. Contact: Josh Cohen | 845.471.6060 x217 or Rebekkah Smith Aldrich | 845.471.6060 x239



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