This information below & much more can be found in the Trustee Handbook.

While the trustees of all municipal, school district and special district libraries, as well as a growing number of association libraries, are elected by the public or appointed by an elected municipal body, most association libraries in New York still appoint their own board members.  Therefore an important part of every association library trustee’s job is to be on the lookout for potential new board members who can help keep the library and the board strong and move it confidently into the future. A board should seek out and encourage qualified candidates who can complement board strengths or fill a gap in the current board’s expertise. It is essential that board composition reflect the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity of the community. A clear, generic trustee job description should always be available for interested persons and the news media.

When a potential trustee has been identified, he or she can be invited to board meetings to learn more about the library’s governance. It is also important to bring such people to the attention of appointing authorities if the library is dependent on such for new trustees.

What are the qualifications for a library trustee? The most important qualification is a strong and genuine belief in public libraries and their mission in the community as centers for information, recreation, culture and lifelong education. Good library trustees are also good library patrons. A candidate must also be willing to devote appropriate time and effort to carrying out the duties and responsibilities of trusteeship. These duties will include regular attendance at board meetings, committee service and activities, visibility in the community on behalf of the library, and learning about the library and the social, legal and political context in which it exists.

As public libraries move toward an uncertain future dominated by rapid change, the need for other board skills is also becoming apparent. The board should include members who are conversant with information technology, entrepreneurship, finance and public relations. These areas of expertise, which may have been considered the domain of the library staff in the past, are keys to ensuring a healthy future for the library.