1. You often question (or turn down) training and professional development opportunities for your director and the library staff. Nothing damages library performance more quickly than a staff that is demoralized, isolated from new ideas and emergent technologies, and cut off from interaction with others in the profession. The best investment you can make in your library is in professional staff development.
2. You ask for data (or review reports) not directly related to library service. YTD expenditures against some specific budget lines may be a reasonable thing for boards to review; how many vacation and sick hours used by library staff in a given month probably is not. Getting involved in collection development decisions is definitely off-limits for boards.
3. You require board pre-approval of all library purchases. It’s questionable whether you should require board approval of ANY purchases except those that are clearly unusual. Set an upper spending limit if you feel the need for some control. Review monthly financial records and ask your director about anything out of the ordinary.
4. You find yourself dealing with management and staff personnel issues at board meetings. Unless you are discussing the director’s performance, you have no business involving yourself in day-to-day management decisions about how staff is scheduled, rewarded, disciplined, or trained. That is all up to the director. If you think there are problems with staff in any of those areas, take it up with the director.
5. You expect your director to succeed in everything the library does. Creativity and innovation often involve failure. New ideas don’t always work out on the first try. You have to allow your director the right to fail from time to time. Don’t punish reasonable risk-taking, and encourage experimentation by forgiving the occasional flop.