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MHLS Trustee Resources: Roles and Responsibilities

Do You Know?

Important points Public Library Trustees
need to know about Roles and Responsibilities:

  1. Each and every trustee has been honored by having been elected or appointed to his or her position. Each trustee must continually strive to be worthy of the honor by fearlessly advancing the highest and best interests of the library and by continually improving his own knowledge, skill, and expertise in library matters. This is leadership.
  2. Trustees make policies for their libraries. This is the single most important task with which they are entrusted. Policy making is complex and must be approached with great care and judiciousness. One good way to address the ongoing responsibility of this task is to learn about libraries in general. Trustees should read, attend conferences, and ask the library director for helpful materials which will explain the current state of libraries in the US, the issues they face, and the services they can provide. Trustees should know as much as possible about library innovation, the potential for library services, and the obstacles which stand in the way of services being realized.
  3. Trustees hire and evaluate the director of their library. This is an essential process upon which rests the success of the library. The library director implements the policies set by the trustees. Working appropriately and successfully with the library director is a skill which which can be learned by each individual trustee and by the board of trustees as a whole.

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