New Library Directors Handbook

Tips For Working With the Library Board

Spend the first year building trust. Get to know your library board members. Ask them questions like: What do they think of the library? Where do they want the library to go?

Pick your issues carefully. Bring up major things, but don't bother the board with things that are only mildly irritating. Remember the board and library have a history. Respect that.

The keys to working with your board are respect, communication, and tact.

If a board member has an idea that is not feasible for the library, point out some of the practical difficulties. Keep your cool and treat the request with respect and tact. Let the board member know that you are not comfortable with acting on the idea without board approval and that you will add the item to the agenda.

If the board makes a decision you do not agree with, it is still our duty to carry through. The only exception to this is where the decision forces you to do something illegal or unethical. For all other cases, adhere to the board's decision and don't express a negative opinion about it to the staff or public. Document any problems that are created and bring them to the board. If the decision turns out to be a good one, compliment the board on it.