The following quotes are from the 2010 Edition of the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State.
Policies should be able to stand alone and be dated for the original adoption and the last review and/or revision. They should be recorded, compiled, and organized for ready access in a policy manual.
Every trustee should have a copy of the policy manual and must be familiar with its contents. A thorough understanding of the library’s policies is the foundation from which to adopt new policies, revise old ones, and interpret or defend the library’s rules.
The library board is responsible for creating such policies, reviewing and revising them, and ultimately enforcing them with the assistance of the library staff.
Policies must be clearly written and understandable. Clearly reasoned and written, up-to-date policies provide the Library with critical legal protection.
With those statements in mind:
Are your library’s policies organized and easily accessible? Are you and your staff able to name which policies your library has? Do you, your staff, and patrons understand the policies? Could you and the staff easily explain and defend them?
If your policies are accessible and easy to understand, questions, complaints or challenges from patrons may be reduced. When trustees and staff understand their policies, the library speaks in one clear voice.
Are your library’s policies backed up off-site? If your library is forced to shut down in the event of an emergency, trustees and staff would still need to operate with confidence. That could be very difficult if your policies are trapped inside the building.
For those libraries that have shared policies on the LTA database, you have a head start . . .
- Policies are already backed up and accessible online and off-site at any time. (Please make sure you always re-submit your policies as they get updated.)
- You and your staff will have an organized list of your policies that are in the database. Policies can be pulled up and printed from any computer connected to the Internet.
- Since the policies are viewable by all, patrons will be able to print them out on their own . . . or a staff member can print any of the policies on demand, should a patron ask. This “open” environment fosters communication between the board, staff and patrons.
If your library has not yet contributed all of its policies, please do so today.
How to send policies:
Mail: please contact me by email or call me at: 518-288-3571. (If your policies are only in hardcopy, we will convert them to digital files and send them back to you at no charge.)
If you are trying to get some tips about how to organize policies into a manual, check the Handbook. Use “Table of Contents” (include quotation marks)as a keyword search in the database, or contact one of LTA’s directors by clicking on the “Contact Us” button on the homepage). LTA is always here to help!