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Public Library Board of Trustees: New Board Members


Board orientation ensures that new library board members are familiar with the library’s operation, mission, goals, and challenges. It explains what their role on the board entails and clearly delineates the board’s responsibilities from the library director’s. It should be conducted by the library director with the assistance of the library board president. Conducting formal orientations with new board members is required for libraries to comply with standard D16 in the Standards for Public Libraries.

The document below will walk you through the items you need to gather in order to conduct a successful new board member orientation.


Recruiting members to the library board is an ongoing process. Every year, one or two trustees' terms may expire and new ones will need to be recommended to the city council or county commission to be appointed. A good board member will hopefully possess the following qualities:

  • Be a library advocate in the community
  • Participate in community events
  • Willingness to give time to the library 
  • Understanding the library's place in government
  • Understanding of budgets
  • Knowledge of funding sources

While it would be nice for a library board member to be an active library user, do not limit recruitment to library patrons only. Look for community leaders and those looking to get more involved in the development of the city or county.