A version of this post originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of the Trustee Corner.
At the start of the calendar year, new library trustees typically begin their terms on public library boards across the state of Colorado. This makes it a good time to review your orientation materials for new trustees. An orientation should provide an introduction to their role on the library board, and the basic information they will need to successfully perform their duties as a library trustee.
Some libraries prepare a physical handbook for each library trustee that may be in a folder or binder. Others may provide information in a digital format using a collaborative filesharing tool such as Google Drive or Dropbox, or hosted on the library website (like this example from the Pueblo City-County Library District). In addition to providing informational resources, the orientation may include a physical or virtual tour of library spaces, particularly if the library has multiple facilities. The library director and returning board members should work together to provide a welcoming orientation to new trustees to help them feel welcome and prepared to serve. Given the safety measures related to the pandemic, it may be necessary to modify traditional methods of orienting new trustees.
Here are some resources to consider including in your orientation for new library trustees:
- Mission, vision, & values statements
- Strategic plan & budget
- Bylaws & policies
- Trustee job description
- Board meeting schedule & important dates
- Colorado Public Library Board & Trustees Pocket Handbook (email Crystal Schimpf to request printed copies)
For more suggestions, check out the resources below:
- Recruitment and Orientation of New Trustees (State Library of Iowa)
- Trustee Orientation: Things Every Trustee Should Know (Vermont Department of Libraries)
- Nonprofit Board Orientation Checklist (BoardSource)
- Trustee Trouble Video Series #2: Orientation (Wyoming State Library)
- Virtual Learning for Library Trustees, April-June 2021 - April 7, 2021
- National Library Week 2021: Welcome to Your Library - April 2, 2021
- Trustee Corner – March 2021 - March 24, 2021