Prepared for the Job

Public libraries in Wisconsin, and probably every other state, are overseen by a board of trustees.  We love and need our trustees.  But sometimes we forget that they are volunteers, and don’t always know what their job involves/includes.

I’m teaching an Advanced Management class for Wisconsin public library directors, in partial fulfillment of their public library certification requirement.  For the assignment they just completed, they wrote about problems with trustees (real or fictional) and how to address them.  I used the videos at Wyoming’s Trustee Trouble to give them some ideas, but I could have just as easily used Tales from a New Trustee, or some other collection.  You might want to take a look at these.


The overwhelming conclusion (and the right one!) is that errors by public library trustees can and should be headed by off by providing them with a comprehensive orientation when they join your board.  How are you orienting your board?

In Wisconsin, a good start is going through our Trustee Essentials and Chapter 43 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  Don’t forget information about your library, ethics of elected and appointed officials, and Parliamentary Procedure.

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