To carry out their duties effectively, trustees need information about the library’s services, needs, and plans. They also need an understanding of the legal responsibilities of the library board and the relationship of the board to the city, and to the library director and other library staff.
Find out where to go for answers to your questions. Know the people and resources that will give you quick answers to tough questions. The director and other board members are the best sources for learning about the library. This handbook is designed to be a guide to the basics of good board membership and will also answer many of your questions.
Get to know the other people who serve on the board with you—not just their names, but who they are. What are their interests and concerns? What motivates them to serve on the library board? Team building begins by knowing your teammates.
Get to know the director, the other part of the board team. There must be a very high level of trust between those who govern the library and the person they have chosen to manage the library. Board members and the director form the board team.
A good orientation will provide trustees with the answers they need to perform their duties confidently. The orientation program should be planned step by step by the library board, with the assistance of the library director. Orientation should start as soon as possible after a board member is appointed–before the first meeting, if possible. A sample trustee orientation follows: