Massachusetts Public Library Trustees Handbook
Libraries must abide by federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination in relation to hiring, promotion and all other working conditions of employment. It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex, race, creed, color, religion, age, country of national origin, individual life style and physical handicap. Stated policies should demonstrate that the library board makes every effort not to discriminate. Library boards have responsibility for determining deficiencies in their policies and adopting corrections.
According to the due process legislation co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Library Trustees Association and the Massachusetts Library Association and passed by the General Court in July, 1982, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78, section 34, provides for written employment contracts with library directors. The written contract must at least outline the basic conditions of employment, including the establishment of a probationary period. The contract must also establish the procedure for specifying cause for dismissal after the probationary period. Trustees are encouraged to consult with the appropriate municipal official to identify local and state regulations and procedures governing employment practices. Sample contracts may be obtained from your regional library system or the Board of Library Commissioners.
Minimum Educational Qualifications for Library Director
In order to receive state funds under the State Aid to Public Libraries program, minimum general education requirements have been established for the library director based on the population of the community. Library directors in municipalities of under 10,000 population must, upon appointment, possess a Bachelor degree. Library directors in municipalities of 10,000 population and over must, upon appointment, possess a Master of Library Science degree. All library directors must hold (or immediately apply for) a certificate of librarianship issued by the Board of Library Commissioners.
A library may appoint an acting (temporary) director for a period of up to three years. An acting director's qualifications do not have to comply with the educational minimum requirements as set forth in the above paragraph. The library will be eligible to receive State Aid to Public Libraries awards as long as a permanent director with the appropriate credentials is appointed within the three-year period.
These requirements are detailed in Section 4.01(4) of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations (see Appendix C). Questions concerning the requirements, including details of the librarian certification program outlined in 605 CMR 3.00, should be directed to the State Aid and Data Coordination Unit at the Board of Library Commissioners.
When a board appoints a permanent or acting library director, it should notify its regional library system and the State Aid and Data Coordination Unit of the MBLC. This effort will provide timely information to update the statewide directory of public libraries as well as assist staff monitoring of compliance with the personnel requirements.