Tools for Trustees — The Workshop

A three-hour workshop for your board(s) of trustees, based on the Tools for Trustees manual.


Welcome to Tools for Trustees: The Georgia Public Library Trustee Manual. It is the author’s hope that you will find this manual a valuable resource during your library board service. It is designed so that the body of the manual can be read through easily during your first few weeks on the library board.  In your enthusiasm, you may want to read the appendices as well! However, they are primarily there for reference and contain much of the detail to which you may need to turn later in your term.

In Part I, you will learn a little more about how libraries in Georgia are established and organized. This will give you a sense of the statewide context in which your library system operates.

People often ask questions such as, “In this Internet age, do we still need libraries?” The answer is an unequivocal “Yes!” Part II will help you understand and articulate the many ways people use public libraries and the reasons libraries continue to be essential to their communities. Communicating the value of libraries in today’s world helps shape public opinion and often influences funding for library services.

Part III is all about your new job! In this section, you’ll learn about your important legal and fiduciary responsibilities as a member of your public library board of trustees. In Georgia, governing boards have a great deal of authority and responsibility (which also means liability) for the operation of library systems.

“Board Basics” (Part IV) addresses the specific functioning of the board, including appointments, bylaws, parliamentary procedure, and committee work. If you have served on nonprofit or governmental boards before, much of this may be familiar to you. However, there are a number of laws and considerations that apply specifically to public library boards, so don’t skip this chapter!

During your service as a public library trustee, you will likely deepen old relationships and develop new ones. Part V identifies some of the individuals and groups that are important to your job as a library trustee and gives tips for building and nurturing effective relationships. 

Finally, Part VI encourages continuing education and training to help keep your skills sharp and the library board functioning smoothly and effectively. As with all worthwhile endeavors, there is always more to learn.

You are embarking upon important work that will have an impact on your library and your community for many years to come. Best wishes for a rewarding, exciting, and effective term on your local or regional library board of trustees!