What can library trustees do between monthly board meetings to enhance their knowledge of library services and legal and fiduciary responsibilities?
LTA partnered with Southern Tier Library System (STLS) to continue the dialogue begun at the May LTA institute, Crucial Connections. Seventy trustees and library directors met at the Fred and Harriet Taylor Memorial Library in Hammondsport for a two-session weeknight workshop.
Cassie Guthrie reviewed basic trustee roles and responsibilities. Former Executive Director of the Pioneer Library System and present director of the Greece Public Library, Cassie emphasized several priorities for trustees: understanding the services of library systems; hiring, supporting, and reviewing the best possible library director; and working as a team with library director. She encouraged trustees to use the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York States as a guiding resource, not a one-time read.
Conrad Wolan quipped that his immediate response to legal questions from library directors and trustees is “It depends!” A veteran library litigation attorney, Conrad acknowledged the complexity of laws creating and governing libraries. He walked trustees through the framework of education law, federal and state regulations, and new requirements of Non-Profit Corporate Law. He emphasized the need for clear library policies and frequent review of library by-laws.
Just as libraries reflect and respond to their communities, LTA is committed to addressing specific trustee education needs through additional regional offerings.