Public library boards have five primary roles.
To be a library advocate is to work for the betterment of library services for the community. Advocacy includes:
- Getting to know the mayor and city council
- Making sure the community’s needs and interests are paramount when making board decisions
- Pursuing opportunities to meet and speak with community groups
- Working to obtain adequate funding for the library
Planning for the Future
Planning is 1 of the most important trusts that the community gives to the Library Board. Planning is deciding what is going to happen with library services over the next few years. It is taking charge of the library’s future and creating it to be responsive to what the community needs.
Monitoring & Evaluating Effectiveness
The community puts its trust in the Library Board to make sure the library is operating the way it should. For example, the Library Board is familiar with the library’s budget (where the money is coming from and how it will be spent). The board monitors monthly financial reports and approves the bills so they can be paid. The board also helps determine whether the community is satisfied with the service received from the library.
The Library Board spends much of its time on policy issues, developing policies and monitoring the effectiveness of those policies (policy is a carefully designed, broadly stated, written guideline for actions and decision of the library). Once adopted by the board, library staff carries out the policies on a day-to-day basis.
Hire & Evaluate the Library Director
The board hires a qualified director to manage the day-to-day operations of the library and works with the director, carefully respecting each other’s roles. The board also regularly evaluates the director to make sure the library operates well and in the best interest of those the library serves.