Common Missteps

There are legal limits to what the Board can ask of its library director. One of the most common mistakes made by Boards is asking the library director to work more hours than she or he is paid for. Many library directors go above and beyond what is required and give extensively of their personal time to the library without being asked to do so. As a Board member, not only should you not ask them to volunteer their time, you should make it a goal to see that they are paid for actual hours worked.

Some trustees will ask the library director to work holidays reasoning that the director is being paid for the day. In some cases, this is illegal. It can also be demoralizing, especially if the director already receives few benefits as is the case in many libraries in Montana.

Finally, don't micromanage. After the Board and the library director have agreed on the director's job responsibilities, the Board must let the director take the lead. Problems need to be addressed, but even in these cases, the situation needs to be handled with respect. Step back and ask yourself if there really is a problem or if the situation is just a difference of opinion or style. There are different ways to reach the same goal of providing the community with excellent library services.