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The Board of Trustees

Tom Westlake
Tom Westlake
Carmen Hamper
Carmen Hamper
Vice President
Irene Skleres
Irene Skleres
Susan Avsec
Susan Avsec
Matt Butler
Matt Butler
Antonia Kohler
Antonia Kohler
Josephine Misener
Josephine Misener

Role of the Library Board

The board is charged with establishing policy and long-term plans for the direction of the library and are the ultimate legal authority for the library. The board hires the library director and delegates to the director the responsibility for managing the library and all of its daily operations. The director implements the policies and direction set by the board. Planning, policy-making and management are obviously interrelated, but the differences are simply stated: Boards should not run their libraries; they should see that they are run properly. Boards should not attempt to manage their libraries; they must see that the libraries are managed properly.

Expectations of ACDL Library Trustees

The Ashtabula County District Library (ACDL) Board Bylaws require the board to meet regularly at least quarterly. The ACDL Board has chosen to meet monthly on the third Wednesday of the month at 5:30 PM. Circumstances may require meetings to be rescheduled as necessary to meet the needs of the board. In addition, special or emergency board meetings may be called when necessary.

There are three primary committees with multiple responsibilities appointed by the Board President consisting of two board members and the President of the Board as an ex-officio member. They are the (1) Executive/Finance/Audit, (2) Operations/Personnel, and (3) Facilities/Planning/Development Committees. Board members are expected to serve on one of the three committees.

Board members are expected to:

  • Regularly attend scheduled regular, special and emergency meetings and committee meetings to which they are assigned.
  • Notify the Board President or the Library Director in advance when personal circumstances prohibit you from attending a meeting to be excused.  Multiple unexcused absences may be cause for the Board to seek your resignation.
  • Be prompt, having read the board packet and reports, and prepared to discuss the issues on the meeting agenda.
  • Actively participate in activities and workshops, and lend expertise and leadership to the board for the good of the library.
  • Treat each other with respect, listen to others’ views, and when a decision is reached speak with one voice in support of the board and that decision.
  • Unless expressly authorized by the board, only the Library Director or Board President may speak for the board or library.
  • Keep confidential any personal nonpublic information that you may be privy to.
  • Conduct yourself in a manner that positively reflects on the ACDL system and adhere to the State of Ohio Ethics regulations.
  • Advocate for the library and its budget in the community.

Typical Qualifications for a Library Trustee

The issues and decisions involved in the administration of the modern public library are varied and complex. Trusteeship is not an honorary position. It is a working relationship with the community, library staff and fellow trustees. Trustees must devote a great deal of time and express a high level of interest to fulfill their duties. Commitment is the primary qualification for those who serve on the board

  • Commitment to uphold the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights.
  • Readiness to devote time and effort to learning about the library in addition to the duties, responsibilities, and authority of trusteeship.
  • Recognition of the importance of the library as a center of information, culture, recreation, and lifelong learning in the community.
  • Sound judgment, a sense of fiscal responsibility, legal understanding, and political awareness.
  • Skill in board management, an open mind, intellectual curiosity, respect for the opinions of others, and the ability to work cooperatively with others.
  • Willingness to become knowledgeable about librarianship including application of standards, identifying trends, and new developments.
  • Rapport with the community, including a concerned awareness of diverse social and economic conditions, needs, and interests of all segments of the public.
  • Position of leadership in the community, government, business, education, finance, law, or related fields.
  • Initiative and ability to plan creatively, to establish policies for effective operation of the library, and to withstand pressures and prejudices when providing impartial service to the patrons.

Diversity makes an effective Board

Our diversity in membership has allowed us to advise and make judgments on a variety of subjects, ranging from personnel and public relations to financial and legal matters as we strive to meet two basic criteria: A board should be representative of the community values and should have experience or knowledge, which enables them to provide insights in making good choices on various questions that arise. We articulate our needs by following a simple, three-step process using demographic factors, and the other involving experience and background factors.

  1. Identify the criteria that need representation on the board. 
  2. Evaluate the mix of the present board membership based on these criteria to identify areas of deficiency in the representation.
  3. Based on these same criteria, identify potential candidates that will contribute to a successful board.

Board members should remember that they can exercise their professional experience (as a lawyer or an architect, for example) only in an advisory role and that any conflict of interest or personal liability must be avoided. (Note:  The Ashtabula County Prosecutor’s Office serves as our general legal counsel and advisor.)

Full Board Meetings
Full Board Meetings
Executive/Finance/Audit Committee Meeting Schedule
  • January 25, 2022 - Ashtabula Library Board Room - 5:30pm - 6:30pm
  • April 27, 2022 - Ashtabula Library Board Room - 5:30pm - 6:30pm
  • July 11, 2022 - Ashtabula Library Board Room - 5:30pm - 6:30pm
  • October 7, 2022 - Ashtabula Library Board Room - 5:30pm - 6:30pm MEETING CANCELLED
  • November 7, 2022 - Ashtabula Library Board Room - 5:30pm - 6:30pm
  • January 23, 2023 - Ashtabula Library Board Room - 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Building and Grounds Committee Meetings
  • September 13, 2022 - Ashtabula Library Board Room - 9:00am - TBD
Personnel Committee Meetings
  • November 30, 2022 - Becker's Restaurant (1601 W Prospect Rd, Ashtabula, OH 44004) - 8:00am - TBD
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