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Handbook for Library Trustees of New York

Library Trustees of New York State Welcome

Dear Library Trustee,

Sometimes, just starting something can be the most difficult step. When it comes to writing this letter, the first step comes naturally . . . Thank You! Thank you for answering the call to become a library trustee.  Thank you for your service, time, ambition, dedication and commitment to excellence. Thank you for all of your efforts to make New York State libraries models for our nation. Your hard work and efforts do not go unnoticed and are greatly appreciated.

Libraries are ever evolving, and they are used more than ever. They are information portals, educational institutions, modern day community centers, and a keystone in our democracy. How will you help your library not only survive, but thrive? Can you envision what your library will look like 20 years from now?

As you know, in partnership with your director, you have an extremely important role to play in the success and long-term growth of your library -- and the realization of that can be daunting. The fact that you are reading this letter and this handbook shows that you have found an excellent starting point and have taken your first step in the right direction.

This handbook provides you with a solid foundation from which you can continue to grow and learn. Becoming well versed with its information will make your job as a library steward much easier. Whether you are a brand-new trustee or have served on a board for 20 years, the updated edition of this handbook is an essential read.

When you do need additional information – you are never alone. In fact, as a trustee in the library community you could not be in better hands. For answers, guidance, tools and resources, you can reach out to your library director, your library system, the Division of Library Development (DLD), and library organizations including the Library Trustees Association of New York State (LTA).

LTA was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 1949 and is the state organization for library trustees. LTA is the voice of library trustees in New York State, and its mission is to connect trustees through advocacy, education and recognition.

LTA provides vast amounts of information and resources for new and experienced trustees alike. We keep trustees informed through our newsletters, emails, and our frequently updated website, while also providing many tools to help trustees succeed. LTA’s library policy database contains over 3500 real library policies which have been shared by your peers.  The database is continually updated, and it can be searched by multiple criteria.

We help keep trustees informed about innovative library programs, continuing education opportunities, and library legislation. LTA educates trustees through our annual Institute, regional presentations, and webinars; and we help build trustee leadership skills so that trustees can help inspire and energize their colleagues to be more effective in their roles. We recognize and reward trustees who are actively engaged in their own continuing education and who stand out as making a difference in the development of their library.

By sharing the successes and struggles of trustees, LTA helps connect trustees from different parts of the state and provides an opportunity for trustees to learn from their peers. LTA continues to grow and expand services and becomes more effective as more trustees connect with one another.

Likewise, LTA is more effective when, as an organization, it connects with the rest of the library community. LTA prides itself on working in close partnership with your library systems, the Division of Library Development (DLD), NYLA (the leading organization for library professionals), the Empire State Library Network (ESLN), school library systems, and other library organizations -- and we encourage individual trustees to do the same.

With collaboration and partnership, we will work together to help each other reach our goals. When LTA works in tandem with other organizations there is greater strength, and trustees and the library community as a whole will speak with a more united and resonating voice.


Adria Ripka, President;
and the Library Trustees Association’s Board of Directors