Trustee Corner – December 2020

Entrance to West Custer County Public Library, with double doors and lights overhanging the sidewalk.
West Custer County Public Library

The Trustee Corner is a monthly series featuring information of interest to public library boards. Topics include training opportunities, legal issues, helpful information, and relevant news impacting public library governance. The information included in this newsletter is for informational purposes, and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Please consult your library’s attorney with any questions about your specific situation.

In this issue:

  • Intellectual Freedom & Public Library Policy
  • United for Libraries Self-Paced Learning Pilot
  • 2021 Trustee Training Webinars
  • Call for Volunteers: CALCON 2021 Trustee Track

Intellectual Freedom & Public Library Policy

Libraries are for Everyone with illustration of people from different cultural backgrounds holding a globe like a book.
Image Credit: Hafuboti

Intellectual freedom is a core value of library work, but what exactly is it? The American Library Association (ALA) defines intellectual freedom as “the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.” Through free access to information representing a range of perspectives, intellectual freedom allows individuals to explore “any and all sides of a question, cause, or movement.” Watch the short video Introduction to Intellectual Freedom for an overview of this important topic.

The ALA Library Bill of Rights addresses intellectual freedom through seven foundational principles that should guide library service. The first of these principles states: “Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.” The Library Bill of Rights goes on to address challenges to library materials, censorship, library access, and patron privacy. The supplemental Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights provide more detailed analysis of how these principles should be applied in specific library settings, including topics such as Diverse Collections, Library-Initiated Displays, and Visual and Performing Arts. The Freedom to Read Statement is yet another intellectual freedom resource published by the ALA.

The values of intellectual freedom should impact how library policy is set at the local level. Some libraries have directly adopted the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement as part of their policy set. Intellectual Freedom principles influence policy related to collection development, library card registration, internet use, and programming. These policies then influence the procedures for handling attempts to challenge or censor library materials. Library policies help protect the rights of library users to read and view information. They also communicate the guidelines the library follows when making decisions about library materials.

For more information on intellectual freedom, take a look at these resources from library professional associations:

United for Libraries Self-Paced Learning Pilot

The Colorado State Library is launching a pilot project in 2021 to provide access to United for Libraries Self-Paced Learning Content for 6 months (January-June). This pilot will provide access to subscriptions resources including the Trustee Academy, Short Takes for Trustees, Tips Sheets, and recorded webinar archives. This pilot will also include access to the recordings from the 2020 United for Libraries Virtual Conference. This content addresses a range of topics relevant to library boards, and may be of interest to new and continuing library trustees.

United for Libraries is the division of the American Library Association dedicated to supporting Trustees, Friends, and Foundations. They provide online learning resources to support the work of library governance, community awareness, and financial stability. United for Libraries self-paced online learning options provide a range of information and training to support individual and board growth in these areas.

Participation will be limited to 30 Colorado public libraries. Participating libraries will be asked to provide feedback on their experience to help inform future decisions about the project. The Colorado State Library will cover the cost for participating libraries to access United for Libraries content for the entire year.

Public libraries should apply by December 17 for priority consideration. Applications received past that deadline will be considered if space is still available in the pilot. For more information, visit these important links:

  • For more pilot project details, view the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) [dead link removed 19 May 2022]
  • To view the application questions, view the Application Worksheet (PDF)
  • Submit an application for the United for Libraries Self-Paced Learning Pilot

2021 Trustee Training Webinars

The Colorado State Library is planning monthly FREE virtual training webinars for library trustees in 2021. Save the date for these webinars planned for January and February. More details will be coming soon.

  • United for Libraries: Self-Paced Learning Launch
    Tuesday, January 12, 2:00-3:00pm
  • Colorado Public Library Standards: A Planning Tool for Library Boards
    Wednesday, January 27, 2:00-3:00pm
  • Library Board Essentials (for Advisory Boards)
    Tuesday, February 9, 12:00-1:30pm
  • Library Board Essentials (for Governing Boards)
    Tuesday, February 23, 12:00-1:30pm

Training is also available by request. Email Crystal Schimpf at the Colorado State Library if you would like to request a specific training for your public library board.

Call for Volunteers: CALCON 2021 Trustee Track

Building a Bridge to Tomorrow Colorado Association of Libraries 2021The Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) is seeking volunteers to help plan the the next conference (CALCON 2021). In order to provide a quality learning experiences, it takes the input and involvement of library trustees. As we begin planning for the 2021 conference, CAL is seeking new volunteers to provide input on trustee programs, and to help shape the Trustee Track.

Would you be willing to offer some of your time and energy to help improve and continue the Trustee Track at CALCON 2021? No prior experience necessary. Here are a few of the volunteer opportunties:

  • Review Trustee Track program proposals for inclusion in the conference.
  • Join the Trustee Track planning subcommittee for CALCON.
  • Become a Trustee Track ambassador at CALCON 2021.

[dead Google Drive link removed 19 May 2022], and to receive updates about these volunteer opportunities. Library directors and staff who are interested in supporting the Trustee Track are also invited to sign up to volunteer.

Stay Connected

Be sure to follow Colorado State Library on Twitter and Facebook. Interested in receiving Trustee-related updates via email? Sign up for the Colorado Library Trustees (COLT) email list.

Did you miss the November issue? View it, and more, at the Library Trustees page of the Colorado Virtual Library

Crystal Schimpf