Role Of The Library Board

Librarianship is an ever changing field and individuals who work in libraries, no matter the job, need to continually advance their skills, knowledge and abilities in order to successfully serve the community. Continuing education (CE) for library staff is primarily the responsibility of the library director who can assess both the training needs of staff members and the library's resources available for staff to participate in CE activities. The Board's support for continuing education is important for staff development and ultimately for maintaining high-quality services for the library's patrons.

Continuing education is equally important for library trustees who face complex administrative, fiscal, and legal issues while providing direction for the library. Opportunities for trustees to participate in continuing education have increased and there is now a special voluntary certification track for trustees.

In 2010, the Public Library Standards will be modified to require that all public library directors be certified in the Library Administrator Track. The Board has responsibility for verifying that the library meets all standards each year and is therefore eligible to receive state funding. With the update in the certification program, the role of planning for and verifying CE activities for the director is filled by the Board. At the time the library director meets the requirements and applies for certification, the Board chair will sign the application form. The Board chair's signature verifies that the director has successfully completed all of the training activities listed on the tracking form and that the training qualified for library certification.

If a director leaves a library, his/her CE accomplishments up to that time can be verified by using the Montana Certification Program For Library Directors, Staff And Trustees - Interim Verification Form. This form can be signed by the Board chair. It guarantees that the CE credits earned by the director can be used for certification, even though the individual has a new position.

The role of the Board in the certification program is to:

Support continuing education for all staff and encourage participation in training events

Include training in scheduling and budgeting

Approve participation in CE activities that are library-specific and relevant to staff needs

Verify the director's participation in training that qualifies for library certification

Ensure that the director is certified so the library meets the state standards

Give special recognition to staff who achieve certification

Encourage Board members to participate in CE activities and to become certified

Trustees in the voluntary Trustee Track

Consider using certification as a hiring and promotion tool

Montana State Library staff will continue to assist Boards, directors, and all certification program participants with the certification process.