How do library trustees get trained? How are director and trustee roles defined to ensure a healthy library organization? How are trustee relationships cultivated both in and outside the library circle? Join us on September 14, 2 pm Eastern, for The Rural Library Trustee: Roles, Responsibilities and Relationships, a webinar exploring these and other questions related to library trustees that will provide you with practical ideas and tactical strategies to support and advocate for your library organization as a trustee, or library director in a small or rural community. This webinar is brought to you by ARSL (Association for Rural and Small Libraries) and featuring presenters: Sally Gardner Reed, Executive Director ALTAFF (Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations); Kim Armentrout, Library of Virginia; and Jim Minges, Director of the Northeast Kansas Library System.
Listen up, trustees! It’s time to get serious about showing your library’s value to your community. A rocky economy means fierce competition for tax dollars from the police, Public Works and others.
Make sure local officials help, not hinder, your library. Where to start? With ARSL’s first-ever two-part webinar, Library Value: What’s YOUR score? On October 9, find why you need “TWO goal posts: Library and community.”
Veteran trustees Jim Connor and Ellen Miller will join PJ to “tell it like it is” to get your dream team. Audience participation includes rating your relations with city/county officials, Q&A and a webinar evaluation.
On November 13, log in for the ARSL webinar’s second part, “How they see us: Bulls-eye or fringe?” Topics will include:
Tip: Bring a power bar to these fast-paced sessions! To join the ARSL webinars visit us at: http://www.webjunction.org/rural-webinars
by Patricia H. Fisher
Money talks! In good times and tight economic times, people are conscious of spending their money wisely. People also want their hard-earned dollars, given in the form of tax dollars, spent wisely. As a library trustee on a governing or an advisory Board, can you convince elected officials, your neighbors and taxpayers in general that they are getting a good return on their investment (ROI)? In other words, can you talk in dollars?
For-profit companies, non-profit organizations and government agencies need money to provide products and services. People who invest in these organizations, stockholders, individuals and grant agencies and taxpayers, all ask: “How do I measure my return on investment?” and “How do I know if my investment is really paying off?”
Recently, an old friend (hi Alane) asked about WebJunction’s trustee resources. We did a quick poll around the office and created a nifty little set of links to all the current trustee resources on WJ. Here they are, in case it’s helpful to you too:
Friends & Trustees discussions:
“Become an Effective Trustee” course:
Trustee Blog series:
Board Challenges and Successes – Webinar Archive:
Motivating Your Board: Lawsuits, Money and Facilities – Webinar Archive:
Two upcoming Trustee webinars in the series listed here (rural focus, but relevant to all trustees):
Library board culture rules! So where does yours fit on a six-point continuum, from passive to passionate? At the July 31st “Motivating Your Board” webinar, most participants chose the middle ground.
Boards listen to three proven motivators—lawsuits, money and facilities. Trustee Jim Connor told how a meeting room policy caused a First Amendment lawsuit in federal court. Partnerships should include for-profit entities, too. And whether you repaint, remodel or get a new building, you’ve boosted the library’s and the board’s image.
Transitioning from one board to another can be thorny. The previous Aztec, NM advisory board loved high-profile partnerships that got national kudos. The new board worried about being over-extended. To bring the new board on board, director Leanne Hathcock:
One bonus for having a passionate board? It makes recruiting the trustee skill set you need easier!
Library trustees are busy folks. Jobs, family, medical appointments, other volunteer gigs. No wonder amnesia is a job hazard – “What, we voted last month to be open on Friday nights?” Apathy lurks close behind. A lack of crises can spawn a “same old, same old” attitude.
Board adrenaline spikes with these proven motivators:
ROI (Return on Investment): Showing the library’s economic value to all community stakeholders is “must do,” not a rainy day chore. Your competition does it—police, fire, parks and recreation, etc. Tell how library tax revenues are leveraged for the community’s benefit.
Lawsuits. Library Friends make a huge difference. Some help just one branch. Others serve the entire system. Either way, they provide much-needed money for staff training, summer reading, etc. And their advocacy at city hall and the courthouse is invaluable.
Facilities. Bricks-and-mortar projects hit trustee hot buttons! Their name goes on a plaque, leaving a legacy. They get to critique fancy architectural drawings and fabric samples. They get kudos for the community’s new amenity.
Add CE to Your Board Meeting
Crises and opportunities motivate boards. So can continuing education (CE). The problem? Trustees dislike extra meetings. Solution? Add a short CE to your monthly board session – no travel, no hassle. For example, use a short DVD segment on trustee responsibilities and self-evaluation.
Directors, YOU be the trainer! Does your board need help with “Effective Board Meetings,” or “Marketing the library to the community”? Get a ready-made, one-page director outline and its short trustee handout. The Kansas Trustee Education Program (KanTEP) pilot test showed that all 46 trustees at four libraries wanted occasional board meeting CE topics.
More at the Upcoming Trustee Webinar!
Join the Association of Small and Rural Libraries’ webinar, “Motivating your board: Money, lawsuits, facilities!” Veteran trustees Jim Connor and Ellen Miller have worked with dozens of boards. Cameo speaker Leanne Hathcock, director of the Aztec, NM Public Library, shows how to bring a new board on board with earlier, important partnerships.
Tip: Eat a power bar first! This fast-moving webinar includes audience participation, samples and examples.
by Patricia H. Fisher
Library boards and the library director are responsible for seeing that community needs are addressed by providing library services that are well-planned and that fulfill the library’s half of the social contract—making a difference in stakeholders’ lives in return for taxpayer funding. It’s in the job description!
But how to go about it?
Start with a “Give ‘Em What They Want!” philosophy
One way of measuring is to have “benchmarks,” which are sometimes called “standards,” for comparisons. Georgia has operating and primary standards, to evaluate its public libraries. The standards describe essential, full and optimal levels of service in enough narrative detail to allow boards and directors to determine where their libraries fall on the continuum. (more…)
How to build a savvy, diverse board that gets results? Start with candidates who match your skill profile. In addition to racial, ethnic, gender or age diversity, look at job and community experience. For example, adding Don Developer not only strengthens planning for your new branch – he also counterbalances that powerful city architect.
Library boards and library directors need a practical division of labor that covers who-what-why-when-how. Get results instead of trying to herd fish!
Remember, directors come first – only you think libraries 24/7/365! Your division of the labor has four main parts:
1. Organize the board’s time.They have authority only when acting as a group, a.k.a the monthly board meeting. Help them reach timely, thoughtful decisions via:
By Ellen Miller
On March 6, the ARSL Rural In Focus webinar “Board Successes and Challenges” will tell you how to help your board get results and to feel successful.
Alert: These speakers may not be politically correct. And the pace moves fast, so bring some energy bars!
edit: View the archive of the Board Successes and Challenges webinar!
Join us for the free, hour-long webinar: Thursday, March 6, 2008, 11:00 am PT/2:00 pm ET