Trustee

Summer 2013

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

Policy Spotlight

By Tim Gavin

Summer 2013 issue of Trustee

Designing a “Policy Development Template”

Policy development is a hard enough task to begin with, so simplify your starting point. Design a standard policy format and process — a “policy development template.” This will not only improve policy organization and make it easier to seek out policies, reference and update them — it will also make it easier for library staff and patrons to understand them. Additionally, it will ease the pathway for those who write the policies.

Example “Policy Development Template”:

First, answer the following questions . . .

Step 1: Why do you need to create a policy?

Step 2: Do you already have a similar policy which just needs to be updated or modified?

Step 3: Do you have a specific person (such as a “Policy Chair”) designated to draft a policy, to do policy research (such as looking through LTA’s Policy Database), and to check state/federal laws?

Once the previous steps have been completed, it should be easier to move on to the actual writing of the policy.

Written to the right, is a commonly used template to help organize thoughts, and

to help compose a strong, coherent policy:

Commonly suggested tips:

  1. The same policy template should be used for each policy that is created.

  2. Language used should be concise, simple and consistent (e.g. If a collection development policy refers to “weeding,” it shouldn’t be called “de-selection” in a different policy).

  3. Each policy should look similar in appearance (including font, font size, heading sizes, etc.)

  4. Policies should be organized by a table of contents in a hierarchy and grouped with policies in the same general category.

  5. Use policy numbers to help show relationships (e.g. A personnel policy might be titled “3.1 Duties of a Library Director,” while the next might be titled “3.2 Evaluation of a Library Director”).

  6. All policies should be able to stand on their own and each policy should start on separate page to help aid understanding, enforcement, retrieval and updating.

 

    LIBRARY NAME

    POLICY CATEGORY

    POLICY NUMBER and TITLE

     

    EFFECTIVE DATE:

     

    APPLICATION: (Who does the policy affect — patrons, personnel, only certain personnel, trustees?)

     

    STATEMENT OF PURPOSE (sometimes alternatively worded “NEED FOR POLICY”):

    (This often refers back to the library’s mission Statement. Occasionally the library’s mission statement is included

    as a reference. This section not only serves as a reminder to patrons and staff as to why this policy is important, but reminds those who are drafting the policy to keep

    the library’s mission in mind.)

     

    POLICY: (The text of the policy.)

     

    RESPONSIBILITY: (Who will be responsible for

    ensuring policy compliance? Who will be responsible

    for drafting necessary procedures to ensure that the

    policy is properly and successfully implemented? )

     

    APPROVED: DD/MM/YYYY by the “X” Library Board of Trustees

     

    REVISED: DD/MM/YYYY by the “X” Library Board

    of Trustees

     

    REVIEWED BY/ON: (Legal Counsel and/or by a

    designated person after a period of time)


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