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Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State (2023 Edition)

Content from the latest edition of the Trustee Handbook.

Working Together: Roles & Responsibilities Guidelines

Tasks Library Director Trustees Friends
General Administrative Direct responsibility for administration of the library within the framework of the board’s plan, policies, and budget. Reports at each board meeting and keeps the board informed of the library’s progress and problems. Recruit and employ a qualified library director; maintain an ongoing evaluation process for the director. Routinely keep in touch with what is going on through director’s reports, personal use of the library and feedback from the public.  Support quality library service in the community through fundraising, volunteerism and serving as advocates for the library. 
Policy Apprise the board of the need for new policies as well as policy revisions. Implement the policies of the library as adopted by the board.  Identify and adopt written policies to govern the internal and external operations of the library.  Support the policies of the library as adopted by the library board.
Planning Coordinate and implement a community-based strategic plan with the library board, Friends, staff, and community.  Ensure that the library has a community-based strategic plan with implementation and evaluation components.  Provide input into the library’s strategic plan and support its implementation. 
Fiscal Prepare an annual budget for the library in consultation with the board; make the Friends aware of the special financial needs of the library. Decide on use of money based on the approved budget. Secure adequate funds to carry out library operations. Assist in the preparation and presentation of the annual budget. Authorize expenditures in accordance with the budget.  Conduct fundraising to support the library’s mission and plans. 
Advocacy Promote the mission of the library within the community. Educate the library board, Friends and community regarding local, state, and federal issues that impact the library.   Promote the mission of the library within the community and in society in general.  Promote the mission of the library within the community. Advocate for the library to legislators. Advocate for the passage of the library’s budget vote.  
Meetings Participate in library board, board committee, and Friends meetings. Ensure that there is a liaison from the board to the Friends and vice versa.   Participate in all board meetings and assigned committee meetings. Follow Open Meetings Law. Appoint a liaison to the Friends Board and become a member of the Friends.  Maintain a liaison to the library board. Include the library director and board liaison in Friends meetings.  
Networking Encourage trustees and Friends to join state and national professional organizations and make them aware of educational opportunities.  Join the Library Trustees Association Section of the New York Library Association (NYLA) and United for Libraries (ALA). Attend continuing education sessions at the public library system. Join Friends of Libraries Section (NYLA) and United for Libraries (ALA).  Attend continuing education sessions at the public library system.

Adapted from Working Together: Roles and Responsibilities Guidelines developed by the Connecticut State Library, Connecticut Library Association, Association of Connecticut Library Boards, and Friends of Connecticut Libraries and the Handbook for New Public Library Directors in New York State