The Rockwell Falls Public Library has three open seats for school district public library trustees. Library trustees are responsible for the governance, fiduciary, and planning needs of the organization, and ensuring that the library provides the best possible service to its community.
The library’s Board no longer has a quorum and is unable to do the necessary work to keep the library open to the community. The Southern Adirondack Library System (SALS) is working with the NYS Education Department to recruit potential trustees.
Interested applicants should understand that library trustees are responsible for:
- Developing and approving the mission of the library.
- Planning and evaluating the library’s services and programs based on community needs.
- Selecting, hiring, and regularly evaluating a qualified library director.
- Securing adequate funding for the library’s service program.
- Exercising fiduciary responsibility for the use of public and private funds.
- Adopting policies and rules regarding library governance and use.
- Maintaining a facility that meets library and community needs.
- Advocating for the library in the local community and society in general.
- Conducting the business of the library openly and ethically in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and with respect for the institution, staff, and public.
Successful applicants must be willing to:
- Steward the library in crisis with the goal of re-opening to the public.
- Hire a qualified library manager.
- Communicate effectively with the public about governance, fiduciary, planning, and organizational issues.
- Work with the Southern Adirondack Library System and the New York State Division of Library Development to ensure the library is meeting minimum standards.
- Be active and informed about library matters.
- Attend all board meetings and be prepared to participate knowledgeably.
- Bring your curiosity and expertise. If you do not understand the issue, ask for clarification.
- Treat your fellow board members, community members, and staff with respect.
- Support board decisions even if you disagree. A democracy works by the rule of the majority. Seek reconsideration in the future if circumstances change.
- Understand the roles of all involved – the board, director, staff, and community members. Respect all opinions, whether you agree or not.
- Conflicts of interest by any board member are the concern of all board members. A trustee or family member may not receive, or appear to receive, any gain, tangible, or intangible, in dealing with the library.
- Advocate for the library.
- Offer competitive salaries to attract and retain qualified staff. Appropriate compensation is a direct measure of the commitment and respect a community has for the institution and its staff.
- Annually evaluate the board, individually and as a whole body. This process is an effective way to improve intra-board communication.
- Understand and respect the role of the director as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the library corporation and support the director’s administrative decisions.
- Attend at least two hours each year of mandated trustee training focusing on governance, fiduciary, advocacy, and planning.
The New York State Board of Regents created a framework to guide how trustees govern:
- Duty of Care: A trustee or board member must act in good faith and exercise the degree of diligence, care, and skill that an ordinary prudent individual would use under similar circumstances in a like position.
- Duty of Loyalty/Conflicts of Interest: Trustees/board members owe allegiance to the institution and must act in good faith with the best interest of the organization in mind. The conduct of a trustee must further the institution’s goals and not the member’s personal or business interests. A trustee should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Acts of self-dealing constitute a breach of fiduciary responsibility that could result in personal liability and removal from the board.
- Duty of Obedience: Trustees are responsible for ensuring the institution’s resources are dedicated to the fulfillment of its mission and that it complies with all applicable laws and does not engage in any unauthorized activities. In addition, the Regents charge Trustees to “ensure that financial resources are being used efficiently and effectively toward meeting the institution’s goals;” and to “hire a CEO to manage the operation of the institution and evaluate his/her/their overall performance.” (Source: Statement on the Governance Role of a Trustee or Board Member, New York State Board of Regents).
The Southern Adirondack Library System invites individuals interested in serving as trustees to submit a letter of interest, references, and resumé no later than 4 pm Monday, December 4, 2023.
This post has been updated as of 11/22/23, and will be updated as more information comes out.