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Board Basics - Organization and the Conduct of Business. Introduction. How boards are organized and conduct business is based in state law and detailed in board bylaws. The board must reflect its community and is responsible for the library’s governance and future. Overview.

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Board Basics -

Organization and the Conduct of Business

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How boards are organized and conduct business is based in state law and detailed in board bylaws.

The board must reflect its community and is responsible for the library’s governance and future.

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  • Appointment, terms, composition

  • Recruiting for the future

  • Diversity

  • Code of Ethics

  • Bylaws and procedures

  • Officers and committees

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Lesson Objective

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe how a board of trustees is organized

  • Explain how board business is conducted

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How are Trustees Appointed?

For libraries established after June 14, 1961:

  • Stipulated in The Library Code

  • Not less than 5, nor more than 7

  • Appointed by municipal officers, who can also fill vacancies

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How are Trustees Appointed?

For libraries established after June 14, 1961:

  • When two or more municipalities contribute funding

    • Each appoints trustees

    • Mutually agree on number

    • Total can be no more than nine

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How Long Does a Trustee Serve?

  • When a board is first established:

    • 1/3 serve 1 year

    • 1/3 serve 2 years

    • 1/3 serve 3 years

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How Long Does a Trustee Serve?

  • When terms expire, new appointees serve three years

  • Appointees filling vacancies are appointed for the unexpired terms

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  • Maintain a free, public, nonsectarian library

  • Provide information, education and recreation

  • Free access to a useful collection

  • Ensure proper staffing

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Required by law:

  • Elect president, secretary and treasurer

  • Provide bonding for treasurer

  • Submit annual report to funding agency

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Required by law:

  • Submit annual report and audit to Commonwealth Libraries

  • Make treasurer’s accounts available for audit

  • Follow provisions of the Sunshine Law

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Annual Report

  • Whether you need to or not!

  • Includes:

    • The year’s receipts and expenditures

    • Summary of condition of library (volumes, maps, etc…, lost or withdrawn, added)

    • Number of registered borrowers and readers

    • Circulation information

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Written Policy Statement

  • First step of any board in PA

  • Written by whole board

  • Differentiates functions of board and staff

  • Clarifies roles

  • Helps define meeting agendas

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  • Written internal rules

  • Defines structure and operations

  • Provides clear direction

  • Guides decisions

  • Bylaws and practice must be in accord

  • Reviewed by attorney for legality

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  • Regular and special meetings

  • Board officers – titles, duties, terms

  • Regular board member terms

  • Quorum

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  • Elections

  • Committees

  • Conduct of meetings

  • How to amend

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Boards Need Procedures

  • Boards function best with agreed procedures

  • They must be managed consistently

  • List in your toolkit

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Balanced Board

  • A broad range of talents, including skills in:

  • Financial management

  • Legal issues

  • Negotiations

  • Advocacy

  • Technology

  • Construction

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Look at your board--

  • Is it representative of the community?

  • Is it racially and ethnically diverse?

  • What is the average age?

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  • Important to attract young people

  • Look for unique perspectives

  • Create a well-balanced board

  • Necessary to gain respect of all

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Talent Scouts

  • Vacancies provide opportunities

  • Recruit new trustees

  • Seek out skills

  • People want to join “winning organizations”

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Recruiting Tips

  • Create a plan

  • Identify board needs and match prospects

  • Invite potential members to join committees

  • Friends groups are good training ground

  • Be clear about expectations

  • Speak about successes and respect

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Sustaining Interest and Commitment

  • A challenge

  • Some underestimate necessary level of commitment

  • Annual contract

  • Means to assess effectiveness

    • Sample in toolkit

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Role of Officers

  • All members are equal

  • Officers expedite work

  • No member may speak for the whole board without permission

  • Bylaws specify officer duties

  • Duties listed in your toolkit

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  • Detail work done by committees

  • Personnel, finance, building

  • Committees do not make decisions

  • Prepare recommendations

  • Written reports in advance of meeting

  • Follow legal requirements

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Code of Ethics

  • Recommended

  • Written

  • Members sign and abide by

  • Sample in toolkit

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    A list of recommended books is in your toolkit

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  • Board composition and term limits

  • Officers and committees

  • Trustee responsibilities

  • Representing your community

  • Planning for the board’s future