Main Library Page           Policies Index                                                                                                    Policy 10




Adopted: June 11, 2015 Page 1 of 2

Plattekill Public Library Trustees must learn and grow during their tenure on the board, developing an ever-deepening awareness of the affairs of their own library and an appreciation and understanding of other libraries and library organizations. The public library is a multifaceted organization functioning in a complex world.

The first critical step in the learning process is the orientation of a new trustee. However, education cannot cease once a person has reached the board table. Board meetings can be an excellent forum for continuing education. Many boards set aside time at every meeting for a presentation or discussion of some aspect of the library's work or programs. Such a session might include a training video, an overview of a staff member's work responsibilities, a presentation by a representative of the Mid Hudson Library System (MHLS) or simply a few minutes of philosophical discussion and reflection on the role and purpose of the library. The importance of board self-assessment cannot be overstated.

There is an extensive body of literature on trusteeship and board development, as well as public library operation and management. In addition to statewide organizations such as the Library Trustees Association of New York State and NYLA, many American Library divisions such as the Public Library

Association and Library Leadership and Management Association and the Association for Library Trustees, Advocates and Friends offer extensive resources as well.

Trustees should also ask the library director to let them know about articles or books in all fields that may be helpful to an understanding of the library's affairs.

Workshops and conferences provide an excellent opportunity for continuing education both from the program content itself and from the opportunity to meet and share experiences and ideas with other trustees. On a local level, the MHLS offers year round training sessions/workshops for Trustees, Directors and staff.

The Library Trustees Association of New York State sponsors an Annual Trustee Institute and most public library systems offer workshops and seminars specifically aimed at trustees. The annual NYLA Conference offers an excellent opportunity to learn about new developments, programs, and activities across the state. The Library Trustees Association of New York State always offers a special package of trustee-oriented programs within the NYLA conference. On a national level, the Association for Library Trustees, Advocates and Friends offers a program track for trustees at the annual ALA Conference as well.

Financial constraints or the perception of public disapproval make some boards reluctant to approve dues, registration fees, and travel expenses for continuing education. However, these expenses are essential to keep libraries alive and vibrant through a better-informed and more effective board and staff. The Plattekill Public Library should have sufficient funds budgeted each year to assure that both the library board and the library staff can take full advantage of educational opportunities and remain aware of new trends and best practices in the library world.

Effective and knowledgeable trustees undergo a constant process of growth and learning. Attending board meetings and voting on current questions is not enough. Continuing education, for trustees as well as staff, represents an important investment in the library's future.

Every trustee and staff member should attend at least one training session/workshop each year out of the the many offered by MHLS. When significant changes are occurring in the library world, such as new regulations or laws and workshops are offered to educate trustees in these changes, it behooves every trustee to attend these sessions in addition to any others they may have already participated in for the year.