The State of Montana started supporting library services in 1929, when the State Library Extension Commission was created by an act of the Legislative Assembly. The Commission's job was to develop libraries in Montana, but it wasn't until 1945 that the Legislature appropriated money to finance its work. Today, Montana is home to more than one hundred public libraries, providing a range of information services to citizens free of charge.

Libraries are at the heart of sustainable communities because of the hard work and commitment of people like you. Over the years, public library trustees have put in long hours to promote public library services. In turn, they have had the satisfaction of seeing their libraries grow and their communities benefit from enhanced lifelong learning and a free exchange of ideas.

The Montana Public Library Trustee Handbook will help you continue that vital work.

In addition to describing your roles and responsibilities as a trustee, the handbook provides sample documents, checklists and other resources you can turn to when you need information about specific topics. It also provides valuable information for your director. Because trustees and the director must work together to provide quality information services to the community, cooperation and teamwork are emphasized throughout.

Your trustee handbook is a tool. Keep it on hand for easy reference.

Treat the handbook as a tool. For example, you will want to have your handbook available for reference at each Board meeting. And when you retire from the Board, you can pass your handbook on to the next trustee.

The Montana Public Library Trustee Handbook is a reference you will return to again and again. But please remember that it is not a substitute for working closely with your community, professional library organizations, other libraries and the Montana State Library. Making use of all of these resources will help you better understand and meet your community's needs for information services.