Massachusetts Public Library Trustees Handbook
Post notices of all meetings well in advance. Set dates and times and coordinate with the library director who is expected to attend all meetings.
Library staff members may be invited to attend meetings to observe and/or report. The communication between the board of trustees and staff members can reward the library organization with an increased level of cooperation and understanding.
Rotate leadership responsibilities to create a stronger board, giving each trustee the opportunity to hold office.
Plan meetings on a regular, annual schedule as listed in the bylaws. Select specific dates, times and places six to twelve months in advance (see Sample Board Calendar in Chapter 5 of this Handbook).
Inform the chairperson when you are unable to attend and have a solid reason for not being able to attend.
Follow procedures for conducting business meetings as outlined in Robert's Rules of Order, revised edition. If this seems too formal, the chairperson should devise a specific order of business that maintains an orderly flow for the meetings.
Be as productive as possible. Deal only with appropriate issues. Clearly define the difference between the functions of the board and the library director.
Minutes of meetings are considered public records, and must be kept in accordance with the law on public records (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66). The final approved version for each meeting must be kept as an archival file in the library. Many municipalities require that a signed copy of the minutes be preserved in the town clerk's office. A duplicate copy may be kept offsite in case of a disaster such as a fire or flood, which might damage or destroy the original documents. Individual board members should retain current minutes in their trustee manuals.
Plan the meeting carefully: when, where, what, why, who?
Prepare the agenda in advance in consultation with library director.
Allow adequate time for items listed.
Distribute the agenda and related reports several days in advance.
Publish or post public notice of meetings in the manner required by the Open Meeting Law (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 39, section 23B). This requirement may not apply to corporation or association libraries.
Start on time with roll call of board members.
Introduce visitors and/or new board members.
Review, revise, and order agenda.
Establish clear time limits.
Focus on the issues at hand.
Follow the agenda and established order of business as stated in the bylaws.
Establish action items: who, what, when?
It is the responsibility of the chair to keep discussion on track.
Review and evaluate the meeting's progress and any decisions made.
Announce next meeting and develop preliminary agenda.
Adjourn meeting officially and end on time.
Mail draft minutes to all board members.
Follow-up on action items.
Begin planning for next meeting.