Library Board

What is a Library Board?

A library board is a group of citizens responsible for the governing of a public library. Board members are the vital link between the library and its community. Board members serve as library advocates and leaders in developing responsible and creative library service to all members of the public. They are volunteers who serve their community with no financial compensation. Members may be reimbursed, however, for any reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of library business.

With few exceptions, Nebraska public library boards are administrative/governing boards and carry responsibility for the library and its policies. Traditionally, library boards have had the power to control library expenditures and to make rules and regulations for library use. Boards also have been empowered to hire the library director and to establish personnel policies, although library personnel policies and administrative procedures must be approved by the city council or village board prior to implementation. In some Nebraska communities, some of the administrative responsibilities of the library are shared with or supervised by municipal officials or staff, and the board functions as both a governing/administrative and an advisory board depending upon which issues are under consideration.

It is a violation of sound administrative standards when the library director independently changes or fails to follow established library board policy or when the library board engages in direct management of the library.

   What Are Boards Responsible For?

Under the powers of administrative/governing boards granted by law, boards make operating and administrative policies. The board acts as an agent of public trust governing the library. The library director is responsible for the internal management, daily operation and procedures of the library. The director exercises professional judgment under the direction and the review of the board to implement the goals, objectives and policies set by the board.

There are five areas of library governance that stand out as primary responsibilities for library boards. They are to: Make everyone in the community aware of the library. Secure adequate financial support. Hire a competent director when the position becomes vacant. Develop policies. Encourage continued growth and development of library staff. The duties and responsibilities of library board members and the library director may appear to overlap. Understanding the differences in function assures teamwork and better library service. Following is a chart of related responsibilities of the library board and of the library director.

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