Effective library boards consist of informed, dedicated citizens who represent a cross-section of the community. There is usually a direct relationship between the quality of library service a community offers and the knowledge, capability and enthusiasm of its board members.

Effective trustees are citizens who have:
  • Readiness to learn about the library in addition to the duties, responsibilities and authority of trusteeship
  • Recognition of the importance of the library as a center of information, culture, recreation and life-long learning
  • Willingness to learn about areas of library service that includes standards, trends and new developments
  • Rapport with the community, including a concerned awareness of diverse social and economic conditions, needs, and interests of all segments of the public
  • An active interest in the community, government, business, education, finance, law or related fields
  • Initiative and ability to plan creatively, to establish policies for effective operation of the library, and to withstand pressures and prejudices when providing impartial service to library users
  • Skill in board management, an open mind, intellectual curiosity, respect for the opinions of others and the ability to work cooperatively with others
  • Sound judgment, a sense of fiscal responsibility, legal understanding and political awareness
  • Verbal and written communication skills, the ability to relate to the public and the availability to represent the library at public functions and meetings
  • Willingness to participate with local, state or national library leaders to improve library service on all levels
To Know
  • The role and purpose of the public library
  • Library services and resources available
  • Local government - structure, people and operation
  • Information needs and interests of the community
  • How to work effectively in a group
  • The role of state and regional library development agencies
  • National library trends, standards and developments
To Attend
  • Every board meeting and committee meetings
  • Other library oriented regional and local meetings and workshops
To Plan
  • Policies of the library
  • Future growth and priorities of the library
  • Active community awareness programs
  • Orientation for new board members
To Support
  • Library Director and Staff
  • The Community and citizens you represent
  • Local, state and federal legislation for library development
To Act
  • To articulate your library's needs
  • To seek funding
  • To promote your library
  • To develop good personal relations with local and state representatives
  • To make yourself, your board and your library visible in the community
To Remember
  • The library board acts only as a whole
  • The library board must authorize you to act in behalf of the library
  • To delegate responsibility for the operation of the library to the Director