In July of 2007, the State Library of Kansas launched the Kansas Library Trustee Certification Program. The staff members didn’t know what to expect, but they knew that Kansas had a strong commitment to trustee development ever since the Kansas Library Trustee Association was founded in 1999.
There were 100 certified trustees at the end of 2008, to the delight of State Librarian Christie Brandau. At the end of November 2009, there are 196.
The success of the program is due to several factors, but the biggest is the commitment of the trustees to the Kansas libraries and communities they serve. Their discussions and questions reveal a determination to help their libraries offer excellent service, regardless of the financial climate. Many are community leaders who bring a wide variety of expertise and experience to their terms on the library boards.
Also important to the success of the program are the trustee leaders, library directors and system consultants who have given their time and expertise to this program. They have developed materials and presented programs on a wide variety of topics important to trustees. The Kansas Library Trustee Association Board members have worked hard to create, market and support this project in a close partnership with the State Library.
Another strength of the program is its flexibility. Trustees have gained their certification through statewide video training programs, through system programs and workshops, through board tutorials, through WebJunction desktop courses and through the amusing, but very informative, Trustee Trouble videos created by the Wyoming State Library.
Recently, a number of fully certified boards have been emerging from the Southeast Kansas Library System. Southeast has made board certification part of its criteria for system grants and the response from their member libraries has been excellent. A number of Southeast trustees have attended the statewide training programs, but the majority have gained certification through board tutorials or through watching the Trustee Trouble videos.
The State Library staff has been pleased with this program and looks forward to working with it in the future. The only drawback is that they can’t spend more time talking to these Kansans who support Kansas libraries so well.