Trustee Handbook Book Club

Trustee handbook book club logo. Open book with multicolored gears.

Join co-authors of the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State Jerry Nichols and Rebekkah Smith Aldrich for this fun and informative series! Each month trustees are encouraged to read a chapter of the Trustee Handbook and send in questions that the authors will address at live events later this year.

Trustees from all public library systems in New York State are welcome. Library Directors from across the state are welcome to attend as well.

2021 Sessions

Duties & Responsibilities (October 19, 2021) | Recording Available Here

Preparation:

a) Read the chapter: Duties & Responsibilities

b) Thoughts to consider before watching the webinar recording:

  • What is your purpose as a Library Trustee?
  • What do you believe is the mission of your Library in the community?
  • Have you received a thorough orientation about the Library, it’s services and how it functions?
  • How can the Board be most effective as the public body entrusted with the future of the community’s library?

c) Watch the Duties & Responsibilities recording below.

d) Review the program using the Duties & Responsibilities Post-Session Toolkit.

Library Board Meetings (November 16, 2021) | Recording Available Here

Preparation:

a) Read the chapter: Library Board Meetings

b) Thoughts to consider before the watching the webinar recording:

  • Are your meetings well organized with a standard agenda and materials distributed well in advance?
  • Do all Board members regularly attend and are well prepared?
  • Are you familiar with and faithfully follow the Open Meetings Law?
  • Do you review and approve all bills and personnel actions?
  • Are you fully apprised of all library activities from the various departments?

c) Watch the Library Board Meetings recording below.

d) Review the program using the Library Board Meetings Post-Session Toolkit.

Personnel (December 14, 2021) | Recording Available Here

Preparation:

a) Read the chapter: Personnel

b) Thoughts to consider before the program:

  • Do you abide by the Best Practices rubric: “Director selects; Board appoints”?
  • Do you approve all personnel actions (even retroactively), including salary increases, promotions and terminations?
  • If applicable, do you understand your responsibilities under NYS Civil Service Law?
  • Does your Board treat the director as the CEO and avoid micromanagement?
  • Do you provide sufficient compensation to attract quality staff and a competent library director?
  • Do you avoid all appearances of nepotism in the hiring and promotional process?

c) Watch the Library Board Meetings recording below.

d) Review the program using the Personnel Post-Session Toolkit.

Trustee Handbook Book Club After Party (December 22, 2021) | Recording Available Here

2022 Sessions

Budgets & Finance (January 18, 2022) | Recording Available Here

Preparation:

a) Read the chapter: Budgets & Finance

b) Thoughts to consider before the program:

  • Is your long-range plan taken into consideration during the budget planning process?
  • Once your budget is drafted by the director, is it reviewed by the treasurer and Finance Committee before presented to the full board?
  • Does your board have adequate policies and procedures in place to make budget adjustments during the course of the fiscal year?
  • Does your board have a capital fund, and a related capital fund reserve policy, to save for high-cost activities related to the facility?
  • Does your board engage in a process of multi-year budget planning to prepare for the future?

c) Watch the Budgets & Finance recording below.

d) Review the program using the Budgets & Finance Post-Session Toolkit.

Facilities (February 22, 2022) | Recording Available Here

Preparation:

a) Read the chapter: Facilities

b) Thoughts to consider before the program:

  • Is your library facility completely accessible to folks with physical disabilities? If not, do you have a policy that makes it clear how folks of all abilities can access all library services equitably?
  • Has your board adopted an environmental sustainability policy to ensure everything from how the facility is cleaned to how renovations and expansions are designed takes into consideration the natural environment and the environment in which library workers and patrons experience your library facility?
  • Has your board engaged in scenario planning to prepare for significant severe weather events or major disruptions such as extended power outages?
  • Has your board engaged a firm to conduct an energy audit of the facility?

c) Watch the Facilities recording below

d) Review the program using the Facilities Post-Session Toolkit

Policies & Risk Management (March 29, 2022) | Recording Available Here

Preparation:

a) Read the  chapters: Risk Management  &  Library Policies

b) Thoughts to consider before the program:

  • Is your library facility completely accessible to folks with physical disabilities? If not, do you have a policy that makes it clear how folks of all abilities can access all library services equitably?
  • Has your board adopted an environmental sustainability policy to ensure everything from how the facility is cleaned to how renovations and expansions are designed takes into consideration the natural environment and the environment in which library workers and patrons experience your library facility?
  • Has your board engaged in scenario planning to prepare for significant severe weather events or major disruptions such as extended power outages?
  • Has your board engaged a firm to conduct an energy audit of the facility?

c) Watch the Policies & Risk Management recording below

d) Review the program using the Policies & Risk Management Post-Session Toolkit

Ethics & Conflicts of Interest + Intellectual Freedom, Censorship and Privacy (April 19, 2022) | Recording Available Here

Preparation:

a) Read the  chapters: Ethics & Conflicts of Interest + Intellectual Freedom, Censorship and Privacy

b) Thoughts to consider before the program:

  • Does your board have an up-to-date Conflict of Interest policy which includes the requirement that all trustees sign a disclosure form annually?
  • Has your board adopted a Code of Ethics?
  • Does your board have an anti-nepotism policy?
  • Has the board recently reviewed its collection development policy and challenge of library materials form and procedure?
  • Does the library’s collection development policy reflect the principles of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement?

c) Watch the Ethics & Conflicts of Interest + Intellectual Freedom, Censorship and Privacy recording below

d) Review the program using the Ethics & Conflicts of Interest + Intellectual Freedom, Censorship and Privacy Post-Session Toolkit

Planning & Evaluation (May 3rd, 2022) | Recording Available Here

Preparation:

a) Read the  chapter: Planning & Evaluation

b) Thoughts to consider before the program:

  • Is the library’s current long-range plan based on feedback received from the community?
  • Are the goals and objectives of the plan designed to meet the needs expressed by the community?
  • Are budget decisions based on goals expressed in the board-approved long-range plan?
  • Does the library have an operational plan to address gaps in resources necessary to be successful in achieving the goals set in the long-range plan?
  • Does the board annually evaluate the goals in the plan and adjust them accordingly?

c) Watch the Planning & Evaluation recording below

d) Review the program using the Planning & Evaluation Post-Session Toolkit

PR & Advocacy (June 14th, 2022) | Recording Available Here

Preparation:

a) Read the  chapter: PR & Advocacy

b) Thoughts to consider before the program:

  • Have you articulated your personal “why”?
  • Why the library matters to you personally and why you give of your time and energy to this institution?
  • Do you have a good understanding of all library services and programs offered in person and online?
  • Do you know who your municipal leaders are? County legislators? State and federal representatives?
  • Is it easy for a new resident in your service area to access library services?
  • Have you adequately funded budget lines related to outreach and public relations?

c) Watch the PR & Advocacy recording below

d) Review the program using the PR & Advocacy Post-Session Toolkit

Trustee Handbook Book Club After Party Part II (July 25, 2022) | Recording Available Here

Effective Meetings Using Parliamentary Procedures (October 27, 2022) | Recording Available Here

Co-Moderators for the series:

  • Brian M. Hildreth, Executive Director, Southern Tier Library System
  • Ron Kirsop, Executive Director, Pioneer Library System.

Submit Your Questions Here

Resources:

Promotional Partners

New York State LibraryPULISDO Public Library System Directors OrganizationNYLALibrary Trustee Association of New York StatePublic Libraries Section - New York Libraries Association