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.
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:
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
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.
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.)