Monday, February 26, 2007


One of the functions of WLTA is to aid in the education of Library Boards and Friends Boards. The DPI has an excellent manual for this called TRUSTEE ESSENTIALS which can be found on their site. The Director of Wisconsin Valley Library Service provided a short summary of Essential No. 1 for the last WLTA meeting. I am posting it here. You should review it, discuss it at your meetings, and go to the DPI site for the complete version for the use of your group.


" A library trustee is an individual who has been chosen to participate in the administration of one of the oldest and most significant civilizing influences in the history of the human race. There is but little doubt that back of all libraries, both ancient and modern, there have been trustees, governors, committees, or patrons, who administered their affairs, protected their staffs, and fostered their growth. The library trustee of today is part of a glorious on-going procession which started in the dim early history of civilization and will doubtless continue as long as civilization endures." -- Author unknown --


Participate as a member of a team (the library or system board) to protect and advance the interests of the broader community be effectively governing the operations and promoting the development of the local public library or library system.


  • Prepare for and attend regular board meetings

  • Work with relevant municipal governing bodies to obtain funding, develop budgets, monitor monthly expenditures, and develop long-range plans

  • Develop library and system policies and review them regularly

  • Determine and advocate for reasonable staff salaries and benefits

  • Hire, supervise and evaluate the library or system director

  • Address the needs and interest of the community being served

  • Act as an advocate of the library or system through contacts with civic groups and public officials

  • Learn about and defend intellectual freedom and the important roles libraries and systems play in maintaining a democratic society

  • Include WLA/WLTA membership fees for trustees in library/system budget and attend WLA conferences, system workshops, etc. to expand knowledge of effective leadership and ever-changing library-related concerns. If you have a computer, take the time to review your library and system web pages and subscribe to relevant local/regional listservs and to wispublib, the listserv that keeps the Wisconsin library community informed.

The handbook is available at

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