Effective Meetings
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Effective Meetings. Introduction. The business of a board of trustees is conducted in meetings. We have all sat through business or other types of meetings that were way too long, unorganized, bewildering, or pointless. It shouldn’t be that way. Overview. Open public meetings

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The business of a board of trustees is conducted in meetings. We have all sat through business or other types of meetings that were way too long, unorganized, bewildering, or pointless.

It shouldn’t be that way.


  • Open public meetings

  • Executive sessions

  • Who does what

  • Conducting the meeting

Lesson objective
Lesson Objective

  • Conduct an organized, effective meeting

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

Sunshine law
Sunshine Law

  • Requires municipal libraries’ board meetings are public

  • Announced at least 3 days before

  • Published in newspaper, posted at location

Open public meetings
Open Public Meetings

  • Monthly public board meetings

  • Publicly announced

  • Public and press may attend

  • Seating and space available

  • Copies of the agenda available

  • Place on agenda for public comments, questions

Executive sessions
Executive Sessions

  • Law allows private meetings

  • Closed to the public

  • Bylaws specify when and how

  • Usually personnel matters

  • Also publicly announced

Written policy statement
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

Board s business
Board’s Business

  • Discusses and decides policy

  • Carries out legal responsibilities

  • Hears reports on daily library functions

  • Assists director with problem solving

  • Reviews and implements budget

  • Works towards excellent library service

Director s business
Director’s Business

  • Prepares supporting materials

  • Submits written monthly reports

  • Participates in discussions

  • Explains and answers questions

  • Educates the board

  • Leads board in considering future growth

Trustees can
Trustees can:

  • Be on time, not leave early

  • Arrive prepared

  • Keep to agenda points

  • Contribute ideas

Trustees can1
Trustees can:

  • Not dominate discussions

  • Listen and not interrupt

  • Speak succinctly

  • Be open and positive

Setting the agenda
Setting the Agenda

  • Developed by president and director

  • Items submitted by board, director, staff

  • Follows established order of business

  • Prepared and sent out in advance

A sample agenda is in your toolkit.

May also include
May Also Include:

  • Request to confirm attendance

  • Start and end times

  • Suggestions for preparation

  • Anticipated outcomes

  • List of action items

  • Timeframes and next steps

Conducting the meeting
Conducting the Meeting

  • President runs the meeting

    • Facilitates agenda and group’s focus

    • Encourages participation

    • Remains neutral

    • Manages follow-up

  • Rules of Order

  • Start and end on time

Making decisions
Making Decisions

  • All decisions are made together

  • Bylaws should state decision method

    • Majority rule

    • Consensus

  • Have a discussion on voting practice

One six step model
One Six-Step Model

  • Define issue, determine if action needed

  • Gather all the facts

  • Think about options and solutions

  • Consider pros and cons

  • Select the best option

  • Explain the decision to stakeholders

Didn t agree with decision
Didn’t Agree With Decision

  • Trustee is free to disagree

  • Opinion needs to be heard

  • Courteously air different view

  • Point of view may carry next time

Didn t agree with decision1
Didn’t Agree With Decision

  • What didn’t you like?

    • Process?

    • Decision itself?

Didn t agree with decision2
Didn’t Agree With Decision

  • Was the discussion lively?

  • Was dialogue encouraged?

  • Felt free to join discussion?

  • Were others receptive to comments?

  • Were points acknowledged?

  • Can you live with the decision?

Ask yourself these questions:

If the answer to all the above questions is no then you may have to resign from the board

If the answer to all the above questions is “no”, then you may have to resign

from the board.

Managing public comment
Managing Public Comment

  • Library issues spark controversy

  • Always someone who disagrees

  • Place on agenda for public comment

  • Courteous consideration of speakers


  • www.ala.org/alta

  • www.boardsource.org


  • Board meetings must be public

  • Both board and director have specific roles

  • Trustees need to be open and positive

  • Need a rule of order

  • Decisions are make by whole board