Library Board Operations – Mike McDonald and Robin Hastings
Resources for Public Library Trustees
Public library trustees have various roles and responsibilities, many mandated by Kansas Statute. For complete information on your duties as a trustee, see the Kansas Public Library Trustee Manual. If you would like a printed copy of the manual, contact NEKLS staff, alternatively it can be found here: http://systems.mykansaslibrary.org/kansas-state-trustee-manual/.
One responsibility of trustees is to assist library directors with the NEKLS Accreditation process. Click here more information on Accreditation.
Accreditation Standards recommend that all library trustees join the Kansas Library Trustee Association (KLTA) , a section of Kansas Library Association (KLA). To become a member, go the KLA webpage.
Every trustee who joins a library board should participate in new trustee orientation. This is reflected in NEKLS Accreditation Standard 77, which states: “All new library trustees participate in a formal orientation upon appointment to the library board.”
A thoughtful, well-planned orientation will help to ensure each new board member is prepared to fulfill her/his role on the board. At a minimum, orientation should consist of:
- Library director provides a formal tour of the entire library – building and grounds
- Prior to the new member’s first board meeting, the library director and new member review the board orientation packet that includes:
- Library Board bylaws
- Board roster; meeting dates, times, places
- Statutory Power and Duties of the Library Board
- Kansas Open Meeting and Open Record requirements and resources
- Board and Director Roles (pdf)
- Employee Handbook
- Library policies (sample policy website)
- Library’s key planning documents (strategic, facilities, technology, etc.)
- Organizational chart (employees, their roles and reporting)
- Complete board packet from the last board meeting
- Operating budget for the current fiscal year
- Description of NEKLS, the services provided and trainings available
- Completion of Conflict of Interest form
- Completion of Loyalty Oath and Statement of Substantial Interest (pdf) or (docx)
Annual Trustee Training Requirement
To meet Accreditation Standard 9, a quorum of library board members must successfully complete annual trustee training. The training should include two hours of meaningful content/discussion on topic(s) relevant to their positions as library trustees.
The deadline for meeting this annual standard is September 15. Failure to complete this requirement may result in the library losing the remainder of its Library Development Grant; Until a completion plan is in place, the third quarter grant check will be held.
- Ways for trustees to successfully complete the training requirement include:
Attending the annual in-person Trustee Training event sponsored by NEKLS, typically during summer;
- Watching the video recording of an annual in-person Trustee Training event;
- Attending a NEKLS-approved online or in-person class, individually or as a group, and providing notification to Jessi Harris at NEKLS (jharris at nekls.org).
- Attending part or all of the annual Kansas Library Association Conference, or another state, regional or national conference.
As best practice, all board members should complete training on the same topic, though there may be situations when this is not feasible. The two-hour requirement may be divided into separate sessions and topics, including sessions held as part of library board meetings.
Specific training options are:
- NEKLS annual Trustee Training event (typically held in early summer)
- KOMA/KORA from Kansas Secretary of State’s office
- Kansas Library Association Annual Conference
- NEKLS Annual Assembly (Typically held mid-August)
- Many other training opportunities and topics may qualify. Library Directors or Board Presidents should contact Anna Foote for approval prior to board participation.