New Trustees

Rules governing library board operations are called "bylaws".
  • Reading the Complete Bylaws for Public libraries teaches new trustees how library boards should work. Web links in the document lead to additional information on specific topic on this Web site.
Ask the librarian for a tour of the library describing the services and programs occurring in each part of the library.
  • Does the library seem clean and inviting?

  • Does the library seem well organized? Can you and patrons find stuff without a tour?
Rules governing library operations are called "policies". Policies are the library board's written instructions to the librarian and staff about how to handle the interaction between patrons, library staff and the library's collection, computers, and facility. Ask the librarian for a copy of the libraries policies. While reading try to find the answers to the following questions.
  • Do the programs and services described in the policies match the programs and services described on the tour? They should.

  • What is/are the stated mission/vision/goals of the library?

  • Do the library's services and programs reflect the stated mission/vision/goals of the library? They should.

  • Libraries are for use.
    Do the policies about circulation, computer use, etc., promote/support use of these services and programs? Or
    do the policies limit/restrict use of services and programs?
    Do restrictions merely protect library stuff? Or
    do these restrictions protect patrons' future use of library services and programs?
Ask for the following additional information.
  • Last 6 to 12 months of the board minutes

    • What issues arose during the year?
      Were they resolved?

    • What were the major accomplishments of the library board?

    • What improvement(s) is the board working on now?

  • Latest library budget

    • What are the sources of the library's income?
      What percentage of the library's income comes from each source?

    • From looking at the policy and the library tour, you know the library's purpose and services and programs, do library expenditures adequately support the services and programs and the staff providing these services and programs?

  • Any short or long range plans. Technology plans. Disaster/emergency plans.

  • List of other board members with contact information.

  • Library's organizational chart, if necessary

  • Information about library Friends Groups, foundations, etc.

  • Most current Central Kansas Library System plan: Read the sections on system services and grants to member libraries.

  • Librarian-created documents for orienting trustees
Below are additional guides to set you on a useful path.