Massachusetts Public Library Trustees Handbook
Welcome to the world of public library trusteeship!
When you think about it, there are really few jobs as important in your community. A a library trustee, you have been granted the care of one of our most important educational and democratic institutions-the public library.
Public libraries offer a unique opportunity for the very young to discover the pleasures of reading and discovery, for students to explore their desire for knowledge without limits, and for residents of all ages to share in the pleasures of lifelong learning. Libraries foster our growth and success as individuals and vastly enhance our community quality of life. They serve as a great equalizer for those with limited resources and help guarantee an active democracy by fostering the free exchange of information and ideas. It is difficult to imagine what our communities and nation would be without them.
Over the last century, trustees just like you have worked hard to create and build the public libraries you see today. We can take great pride in what we have accomplished, but cannot afford to "rest on our laurels".
As a trustee, you have taken on two big jobs: The first is to serve as a tireless advocate for your library, working to help it become "bigger and better". You already know that dollar for dollar, your library provides an enormous return in human terms. Your job is to sell your library and your future plans to your community and funding authority. Most importantly, you must be comfortable asking for money. After all, if you don't do it, who will?
The second job is to learn about your library, about your community and its needs, about the laws and state programs affecting your library, about other libraries, and about the issues facing libraries today. In this era of rapidly changing technology, being a trustee is more challenging than ever. The more you know, the better you'll be as a trustee.
We do hope this manual will help you be a better trustee. We also hope that you will join the Board of Library Commissioners, the Massachusetts Library Trustees Association, and other trustees from around the Commonwealth at one of the many workshops, symposia and conferences offered for trustees. One of the greatest pleasures of being associated with a library is the many wonderful and dedicated people who you'll meet.
We look forward to seeing you there-and to working together to make each and every library as good as it can be!
Keith Michael Fiels, Director
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners