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The Role of the Library Trustee: On Policy and its Development. Presented by Carolyn Ryan Reed, Director of the East Orange Public Library and George Britt, President, East Orange Public Library Board of Trustees for the Trustee Institute on October 3 and 4, 2003. What is a policy?.

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the role of the library trustee on policy and its development
The Role of the Library Trustee: On Policy and its Development
  • Presented by Carolyn Ryan Reed, Director of the East Orange Public Library and George Britt, President, East Orange Public Library Board of Trustees for the Trustee Institute on October 3 and 4, 2003
what is a policy
What is a policy?
  • Establishes the library’s philosophy, goals, value orientations and fundamental beliefs
  • A broad statement of the purpose, direction, and intent of the library
  • Policies keep units of the organization moving in the same direction
  • Policies are the “rules” under which you operate in pursuit of your goals
what policy is not
What policy is not
  • Laws, rules, or requirements
  • Official actions or votes of the Board
  • Procedures
the board s role in policy making
The Board’s Role in Policy Making
  • Determine and adopt policies
  • Rely on the director and staff for suggestions and research.
  • Review policies on a regular basis and amend them as necessary
  • Develop new policies as needed and to eliminate obsolete policies
  • Review challenges to policy and conclude them
the director s role in policy making
The Director’s Role in Policy Making
  • Assist the board in setting policy - be knowledgeable
  • Implements the policies
  • Director and staff develop procedures and practices to deliver policies
  • Seeks staff “buy-in”
  • Interprets policies to staff and the public
  • Supports, explains and defends policy
benefits of written policies
Benefits of Written policies
  • Avoid case-by-case decision making
  • Add consistency over time and from case- to- case
  • Give staff and the public a framework from which to operate – promote efficient operation
  • Reduce misunderstandings / interpretation
  • Provide the basis for procedures
characteristics of a good policy
Characteristics of a good policy
  • Written
  • Fair, flexible
  • Clear
  • Positive
  • Widely available
  • Up-to-date
what kinds of policies
What kinds of policies?
  • Administrative, personnel, financial
  • Buildings and facilities
  • Library services
  • Materials selection, retention
  • Internet use and access
  • Community relations
  • Use of professional services
  • Miscellaneous
board should review policies
Board should review policies
  • Review policies on a periodic basis through policy committee and with director
  • Have a policy manual outlining the cycle and process of review
  • Available resources – sample of Burlington County Library Policy manual
  • Contact other libraries… review policies on library web pages / ALA/ NJLA resources

www.ala.org; www.njla.org

the litigious society
The Litigious Society
  • Liability of Director, Staff, Board
  • Have legal counsel available with knowledge of policies and case law
  • Support staff decisions on policy you approved
  • Support proper use of complaint procedures
to summarize
To Summarize
  • Have written policies and know them
  • Be sure you can support them / proper legal review
  • Allow for grievances
  • Review policies regularly for appropriate information
  • Use many available resources, including the State Library and NJLA