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Q: What is a “best practice” for preparing the agenda for a library board meeting?

A:  In order to facilitate the transaction of business at board meetings it is good practice for a board and director to engage in cooperative efforts in order to further the conduct of library business which will be discussed at board meetings.

Despite whatever prior practice may be in existence which allows for the library director to have sole responsibility for the preparation of the agenda for board meetings (a practice which could become institutionalized over the years due to the acquiesce of prior boards) the function of the board chair is to preside over Board meetings. In order to do so effectively, the chair should have prior input regarding the proposed content of the agenda.

That is not to say that either the board chair or the library director should assume they jointly have sole discretion in deciding what subjects will be included on a board meeting agenda. An opportunity should also be provided for other board members to have input regarding the agenda’s contents. Providing such an opportunity for board members facilitates more informed discussions by the board, and additionally helps to eliminate time spent in parliamentary maneuverings.

This can be accomplished by agreeing on a deadline beyond which any suggestions for agenda content not appearing in the distributed version may nevertheless be brought up for discussion at the meeting. Since an agenda is merely a guide to what will be discussed, items may be added to the agenda at any time subject to the approval of a majority of the board, whether by formal vote or acquiescence. Similarly, subject to the approval of a majority of the board, whether by formal vote or acquiescence, items listed on the distributed agenda may be skipped, omitted or tabled for future consideration.

If a board desires to formalize such changes, existing board by-laws should be consulted to determine if there is a need to harmonize any sections in conflict with the foregoing.

Please note: The foregoing should not be construed as legal advice, for which a competent attorney should be consulted. Neither Joe nor LTA shall be held liable for any action taken as a result of the information Joe provides.


Do You Have a Library Question Which Requires an Answer?

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Joe can be contacted toll-free at 1 (866) 720-8969 or by email at

For more information about Joe Eisner’s experience and background, please click on the “Ask Joe Eisner” tab under “Resources and Links” on LTA’s website.