Trustee Corner, July 2019

Photo of Silverton Public Library
Silverton 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.


Mill Levy Election Resources

Is your library board considering a mill levy election? If you are thinking of going to voters to increase funding, whether for the November 2019 election or at some point in the future, take a look at these Mill Levy Election Resources compiled by the Colorado State Library to help with planning, preparation, and advocacy.

Board & Trustees Pocket Handbook

Has your board reviewed the Colorado Public Library Board & Trustees Pocket Handbook? This resource is an invaluable tool for library boards, and can be used in new trustee orientation and board training. Print copies are available through the Colorado State Library. Call 303-866-6891 or email Crystal Schimpf to request print copies for your current library board members.

Photo of Colorado Public Library Board & Trustess Pocket Handbook

Board Member Manual (Special District Association)

The Special District Association published an updated version of their 2019 Board Member Manual, available to members online via their website. The Colorado State Library also has a few print copies which will soon be available for circulation through our Professional Collection. This resource can be a helpful reference for library districts. Visit the Special District Association website for more resources and information about membership for your library district.

A Library Trustee, by any other name…

What’s in a name, or title as the case may be? If you serve on a public library board, you may have the title of Board Member, Commissioner, or Trustee.

These are all different titles that refer to the same role, defined in the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S. 24-90-108): “The management and control of any library established, operated, or maintained under the provisions of this part 1 shall be vested in a board of not fewer than five nor more than seven trustees.

As taxpayer funded government entities, public libraries have a responsibility to provide services that meet the needs of the community, in alignment with professional values of librarianship. Trustees, as members of the library board, are entrusted with the responsibility to support and guide the library in achieving that mission. Although your title may differ, your responsibility remains the same.

Trustee Track: CAL Conference

This year’s Colorado Association of Libraries Conference (CALCON) features a 2-day Trustee Track, along with a special registration rate for trustees. This track includes program sessions targeted at public library boards (for both district and non-district libraries), as well as general conference keynotes, awards, lunches, and networking opportunities. Many sessions will also be of interest to library management. The Trustee Track will take place Friday-Saturday, September 20-21.

Register to attend at the CAL Conference website. Please encourage your library’s Trustees to attend at least one day of CALCON in 2019!

Tips for Trustees: Email Communication

What email address do you use for communicating as a public library trustee? Do you use an email provided by your library? Or do you use a personal (or work) email? What is the risk of using a personal email when doing work as a public library trustee? This was a topic of discussion during a session on risk management at the 2019 Colorado Municipal League conference. Tami A. Tanoue, Executive Director of CIRSA, recommended not mixing personal with public record, when it comes to email communications. Using a personal email puts your privacy at risk if the library were to receive a CORA (Colorado Open Records Act) request, since it may require a third party to then review all of your personal emails to determine which are relevant to the CORA request. Additionally, using a work email may violate the policies of your employer. Email communication related to public library business conducted by the library board would typically meet the definition of a public record, open to public inspection through CORA.

When it comes to email, a good practice for library trustees is to use one email exclusively for public library trustee work. If your library provides you with a trustee email address to use, then use that email for all trustee communication. Your library may even have a policy about email use for library trustees. If your library does not provide an email address, then consider creating a free email account from a reputable email provider (e.g. Gmail, Outlook). Choose an appropriate username to represent the library (e.g. SandySmithLibraryTrustee), and use that email exclusively for library trustee communication. Using one email exclusively for your public library trustee work will help reduce your risk, and will help you to keep your library communication organized!

Upcoming Training Opportunities:

Free Webinars

  • July 11: Hooray for Freedom! Part One: Privacy, Confidentiality, and Intellectual Freedom in the Library (WebJunction)
  • August 8: Hooray for Freedom! Part Two: Developing Policies in Support of Ethical Practice (WebJunction)

Conferences & Events

Trustee Resources:

Do you have a topic you would like to see featured in the Trustee Corner? Email Crystal Schimpf with your suggestion.

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) newsletter.

Crystal Schimpf