A new set of Trustee Training videos has recently been made available on YouTube by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries in Pennsylvania. They are from the program called: “Getting on Board: Tools for Board Development and Assessment.” These eight videos are ten to fifteen minutes long and are listed below. There are several reasons why Pennsylvania’s achievement is a very exciting development for Kansas libraries.
The video programs are very high quality and very professional, yet engaging and likable. They involve excellent trustees and heavy library users, as well as experienced library directors. They can be accessed at any time by any Kansas trustee or librarian at no charge.
They are supplemented by an excellent trustee manual on WebJunction, which can be accessed at:
The full package is a very comprehensive training program. The videos and manual should be used as partner pieces.
These are not traditional trustee training programs. They do include very helpful best practices for orientation, effective meetings, budget management and policies. But these programs also market cutting-edge ideas for board development that can help trustees become sophisticated and effective developers of great library service:
- The fundamental role of a library board is to create the future. The board should spend most of its time on planning, marketing, and fund development. They should be very focused on the library that needs to develop, rather than talking about what has already happened. Written reports and working committees should be used effectively for board management, so that full board meetings can keep a major focus on planning.
- The library should be a community center, focused on the community, with staff and trustees fostering relationships all over the service area. Planning for the library’s future should be partnered with a wide understanding of the needs of community residents.
- The library director should function with full authority to manage the library operations. The library board should have library director evaluation as a top priority, but within a context of planning and support.
- The library trustees should also have an active program of board evaluation. Evaluation allows a library board to determine when their procedures or plans should be adjusted to increase the board’s effectiveness. [Sample evaluation materials are available from the State Library of Kansas. Call Shannon Roy at 785-296-2148 or send email to Shannon.Roy@library.ks.gov]
Library directors and library boards should review these training materials in a planning context. How does the library board need to change the way it does business so the trustees can develop a library that is always responsive to the changing needs of the community?
The eight videos in the “Get on Board” training program include: