Library Board

President, Sonni Deevers

Secretary, Penny Fisher

Trustee, Theresa DeWitt

Trustee, Kathy Hunt

Trustee, Helen Hannan

Library Trustees Handbook 2021

 

Role of the Library Board

Even though the board delegates the day-to-day management to the director, the board never gives up its responsibility to ensure that the library succeeds and prospers. In exercising that responsibility, Iowa’s public library boards have five primary roles: 

 

I.                Hiring the Library Director

The board hires a qualified person to manage the daily operations of the library, working with and in support of the director while mutually respecting each other’s roles. (See Chapter 4: Hiring the Library Director)

 

II.                  Approving and Monitoring the Budget 

Library boards typically have a great deal of authority over the library budget, including approving expenditures, and moving funds between line items. (See Chapter 5: Approving and Monitoring the Budget)

 

III.             Developing and Adopting Policies

Library boards must be mindful that they adopt public policy for a public service. They should take care to avoid writing policies that are reactionary or punitive. Instead, policy development should keep community interests at the forefront. Once adopted by the board, library staff work to carry out the policies and communicate them to patrons. (See Chapter 6: Developing and Adopting Policies)

 

 IV.       Planning for the Library’s Future

Planning is another important function of the board and should be approached as a continuous process. Planning leads boards to explore possibilities and opportunities, basing decisions on community input and packaging service in response to community needs. (See Chapter 7: Planning for the Library’s Future)

 

V.        Evaluating Service and Advocating for Advancements

The community puts its faith in the library board to make sure the library is operating within the public trust. The board helps determine whether the community is satisfied with library programming and services. One of the most effective ways to gauge satisfaction with library service is by evaluating the library director’s job performance. Note that trustees can also evaluate their own performance! In exercising this evaluation and advocacy role, boards are pushing for adequate funding, seeking technology advancements, fostering community relationships, and supporting the library staff in terms of salaries, benefits, and working conditions. (See Chapter 8: Evaluating Service and Advocating for Advancements)