Guidelines for Conducting Library Board Member Orientations

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Board orientation ensures that new library board members are familiar with the library’s operation, mission, goals, and challenges. It explains what their role on the board entails and clearly delineates the board’s responsibilities from the library director’s. 

Conducting formal orientations with new board members will be required for libraries to comply with the North Dakota Library Coordinating Council’s Standards for Public Libraries, once they go into effect on July 1, 2017. We created the following outline to guide you through this process. Not everything on this outline is suitable for all libraries (especially smaller ones), so you should feel free to tailor it to your situation. If you would like a copy of this outline as a Word document, so you can easily edit it to suit your library’s needs, don’t hesitate to contact your Field Services librarian!

Board Member Orientation Outline

A thorough orientation program follows these steps:

1.       Promptly send any new board member a packet that includes:

  1. The by-laws of the board
  2. A directory of the board members, indicating terms of office and board officers
  3. Board committee membership lists
  4. Calendar of upcoming board meetings
  5. A chart listing the board’s responsibilities and the library director’s responsibilities
  6. A copy of a brochure or other concise information about your library (mission & vision)
  7. The library’s latest annual report
  8. The library’s long-range/strategic plan and current technology plan
  9. The library’s policies
  10. The library’s current and previous year’s budget
  11. The board’s meeting minutes for the previous six months
  12. The director’s reports for the previous six months
  13. The latest monthly statistical report and financial report
  14. An organizational chart of the library staff with names and titles
  15. The library board’s annual calendar, including legal requirements and deadlines
  16. Pertinent North Dakota statutes 
  17. NDLCC’s Standards for Public Libraries

2.       The board president or library director should contact the new board member to welcome him/her to the board and schedule an orientation session. This session should include a tour of the library with the director to introduce staff and discuss library programs and services. It should include a meeting with the director to learn:

  1. The library’s values
  2. How the library is organized and governed
  3. How the library is funded
  4. How the library is operated day to day
  5. How the library serves the needs of the community
  6. How the library is linked to other resources, other libraries, and the library system
  7. How the library could better serve the community (re: the library’s plans)

Finally, the orientation session should include a meeting with one or more board representatives to discuss:

  1. Library board statutory powers and duties
  2. Board by-laws, organization, officers, and committees
  3. Location, schedule, and conduct (rules of order) of meetings
  4. Responsibilities and expectations of board
  5. Library’s long-range/strategic plan and the status of activities to meet the objectives of said plan
  6. Recent library accomplishments
  7. Board relationship to the library director and library staff
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One response to “Guidelines for Conducting Library Board Member Orientations

  1. Pingback: NDLCC Standards Compliance Resource Links | Field Notes

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