Public Library Standards 2007 - Governance and Administration
Libraries in Maine may be publicly or privately owned. Not all Maine libraries are established under the same legal format, but most are overseen by one of two types of boards: governing or advisory. Others are part of town or city government. Please note that many standards below apply only to those libraries with a Board, but the principles involved are recommended for all.
A governing board is responsible for setting policies for the library. An advisory board represents the community and acts only in an advisory capacity to the library director and to the local governmental body. The responsibilities and duties of any board should be clearly outlined in their by-laws, their articles of incorporation or in the public statute(s) that established the board.
In Maine, board members can be selected in a variety of ways. They may be appointed by a local governmental body, elected by the membership of the local library association or corporation, elected by public ballot, or named by the board itself in a self-appointing manner. The size of an individual board is determined by the municipal governing body, by corporation by-laws or by tradition.
Every library board, whether governing or advisory, should be a strong advocate for the library in its community. All board members have an obligation to keep informed about developments in their library, to be involved and to work with the library director to ensure that local library services are the best possible.
|1. *The governing authority hires the library director and delegates to the library director full professional responsibility for administering and managing the library, its policies, personnel and finances, as well as the selection of materials.|
|2. The governing Authority annually evaluates the performance of the library director.|
Governing or Advisory Board Responsibilities
In accordance with Maine’s Open Meetings Law, the board meets regularly, with the library director in attendance, at a time and place convenient for both the board and the community. Governing boards are responsible for the governance of the library in accordance with local, state and federal laws. All board members and library directors must have a clear understanding of the roles of the library director and the governing board. A joint review of Appendix A which lists trustee and librarian duties and a review of the Trustees’ Handbook is critical and should take place for all new board members and/or annually.
|1. *The board meets at least four times per year.|
|2. All new library board members are given a comprehensive orientation by the library director, including copies of important documents, a tour of the library, discussion of library services and staffing, and a review of the library’s history and trustee procedures.|
|3. Library board members attend meetings regularly.|
|4. At least one library board member is a member of the Maine Library Trustee Association.|
|5. At least one member of the library board attends a minimum of one statewide or regional library activity each year.|
|6. *The library board adopts ALA’s Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, the Freedom to View Statement and Access to Electronic Resources Statement (see appendices B, C, D and E.)|
|7.*The library board ensures that library statistics and financial records are kept, and that both statistics and financial records are incorporated into a written annual report made to the community.|
|8. The library board is guided by the Maine Trustee Handbook. This is available on the Maine Library Association Website at www.mainelibraries.org.|
Governance – Structure
|1. There is a formal written statement approved by the local town, city, county, or state government defining the authority and responsibility of the library board.|
|2. *The library board has adopted written by-laws which outline the board’s purpose, set the frequency of meetings, define the number of board members, specify the procedures for the appointment of committees, specify operational procedures and address conflict of interest issues.|
|3. The by-laws are reviewed at least every three to five years.|
|4. The library board has adopted written policies for operating the library, i.e. personnel, circulation, collection development, disaster management, meeting room use, patron behavior, confidentiality of patron records, internet use, exhibit space, handling of gifts, programming, safety and security.|
|5. All library policies approved by the library board are printed for distribution to board members and library staff and are available to the general public.|
|6. Written policies are reviewed at least every three to five years.|
Governance – Goals
|1. The library board and director have considered purchasing Directors and Officers Liability Insurance.|
|2. The library board works with the library director in developing a written strategic plan that includes time frames and is reviewed and updated annually.|
|3. The library board works to include the library plan in the overall municipal plan. The library board informs elected officials about library services and programs.|
|4. The library board encourages the library director to be active in professional organizations and compensates the library director for membership fees in professional organizations.|
|5. The library board promotes the library throughout the community.|
|6. The library board involves members of the community in board committees and special projects.|
|7. The library board involves members of the community in board committees and specialprojects.|
Public libraries should be financed at a level that permits the provision of the standards of services, collection, staffing, and facilities outlined in the document. The library must follow standard accounting procedures that are consistent with state law and local government requirements in preparing, presenting, and administering its budget.
|1. The library receives financial support sufficient to provide a level of service, staffing, collection, and facility consistent with its strategic plan. (Please see strategic plan information.)|
|2. The library director prepares and annual budget request for approval by the library board (governing boards.)|
|3. The library board and director present the annual budget request to the appropriate funding authority.|
|4. The budget is in the following proportions:
|5. The library board encourages gifts, bequests, and donations to augment the primary funding source.|
|6. Governing library boards have the fiduciary responsibility to effectively manage library endowments. In order to fulfill this obligation, the board should evaluate and review investments at least semi-annually.|
|1. The library’s financial record keeping follows Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP.)|
|2. Financial reports are reviewed by the library board and library director on a regular basis.|
|3. An audit or review of the library finances, including funds received and expended, is conducted annually by a Certified Public Accountant.|
Planning is an important opportunity for any organization to work together. A successful planning process produces efficient, cohesive, and effective operational results. As library board members, library directors and staff consider their priorities, they should be guided by a strategic plan that includes:
- knowledge of the local community;
- the library’s mission, vision and perceived roles
- specific goals and objectives.
The planning process should include an evaluation of the library’s ability to fulfill the objectives of their strategic plan.
A good, comprehensive guide to the planning process is in the Planning for Results : A Public Library Transformation Process, ALA, 2001.
The library director manages the operation of the library. The library director acts within the framework of policies and guidelines established by the library board/governing authority. The library director acts as a technical advisor to the library board/governing authority and represents the library board/governing authority in dealings with the staff and, when appropriate, the community.
|1. * The library director is responsible for completing and submitting an Annual Report to the Maine State Library in a format acceptable to the Maine State Library.|
|2. *The library director manages the library on a daily basis. The library director plans, organizes and directs a program of library services that serves all people in the community.|
|3. *The library director measures and evaluates the effectiveness of library services in relation to the changing needs of the community.|
|4. The library director formulates and recommends policies to the library board and implements library procedures.|
|5. The library director ensures that a procedures manual is created and kept up-to-date.|
|6. The library director submits an annual budget to the library board|
|7. The library director directs and supervises the expenditure of library funds.|
|8. The library director identifies and recommends new construction, repairs and alterations. The library director coordinates site selection and design of any new buildings with appropriate officials.|
|9. The library director oversees the maintenance of library buildings, grounds, and vehicles. The library director ensures that the library has adequate property, liability and casualty insurance.|
|10. The library director maintains a written plan of emergency procedures.|
|11. The library director recommends and administers personnel policies.|
|12. The library director maintains an orientation manual for new employees.|
|13.The library director organizes in-service programs for staff training and development.|
|14. The library director establishes and administers procedures for the procurement and processing of library materials.|
|15. The library director recommends and administers public relations and marketing activities.|
|16. The library director establishes and maintains working relationships with other governmental agencies, civic and community groups and the general public.|
|17. The library director informs the library board of any legislation that affects libraries.|
|18. The library director is the public face of the library. The library director represents the library to the community. Public outreach includes speaking before community, civic and other groups regarding the objectives and activities of the library.|
|19. The library director attends professional and other meetings.|
|20. The library director holds staff meetings on a regular basis.|
|21. The library director recommends security policies and procedures for both building and staff to the library board/governing authority.|
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