Massachusetts Public Library Trustees Handbook
The selection of trustees, the size of the board, the terms of membership and the powers and duties of trustees are covered in Massachusetts General Laws Budgeting and Financial Management8, sections 10-13. The filling of vacancies is covered in Chapter 41, section 11. If there is any question regarding selection and appointment of trustees, municipal counsel should be consulted. Keep in mind that certain types of public libraries, such as corporation and association libraries, may not be governed by these laws. Chapter 2 of this Handbook describes in fuller detail the varying types of public libraries in Massachusetts.
The caliber of trustees determines the progress of the library. Be prepared to identify potential trustees who are active, informed and interested library supporters. Trustees must devote a great deal of time and express a high level of interest to fulfill their duty. Commitment is the primary qualification for those who serve on the board.
The size of your board may be determined by one or more of the following:
Massachusetts law specifies (for towns only) a board number divisible by three, except where local terms or conditions of a bequest accepted by the municipality stipulate otherwise
By local charter
By incorporation document.
If a board finds that its small number of members inhibits its ability to be productive, try actively recruiting non-board members to serve on committees. Remember, not all committee members need to be board members. It is possible to change the size of the board if other strategies prove ineffective; however, trustees sould seek municipal counsel if they wish to alter the size of the board.