State Librarian's Letter

Dear Library Trustee:

Thank you for serving on the Board of your public library. Along with your library staff and your community, we at the State Library appreciate your commitment to help us better serve all Montanans by meeting their information needs. As a trustee, your role is to ensure that your library meets the information needs of your community. Today, as libraries take on many different responsibilities to best serve their patrons, the role of library trustees is changing and is more challenging and rewarding than ever.

While readers of all ages still relish the hours spent with a good book, there's no doubt that technology has revolutionized how people access and use information. Books now come in print, audio, and electronic form. Patrons are much more likely to do their research online rather than using reference books. Preschoolers enhance their early literacy skills via educational computer games, and seniors are one of the fastest growing populations of new users of the Internet and social media.

Serving communities also means that libraries serve as community centers. From programming for all ages to art space, computer classes, and meeting rooms, libraries bring people together from all walks of life and all parts of our communities. But even as the demand for library services continues to grow, costs rise and the resources that traditionally support libraries are more limited than ever. So, yes, being a trustee is challenging, but it is a challenge that your community believes you can - and will - meet.

This handbook can help. If you are new to the position, this handbook can serve as your starting point to learn about your new responsibilities. If you have served as a trustee for some time, it is a source book for refreshing your knowledge and honing your skills.

We hope you will make full use of your trustee handbook as well as the rest of the support we provide. By working together, we can continue to improve library services for all Montanans.

Again, thank you for your time and your commitment to your public library.


Jennie Stapp
Montana State Librarian