Board Meetings

The most important work of the Board is carried out at the Board meetings. First, individual trustees have no legal authority over the library. Any change in policy or procedure, or other governing act, must be brought before the Board. Second, the Board only has authority when it makes a group decision in a legally constituted meeting.

The Board bylaws provide the structure of your work, but here are some general guidelines for effective meetings.

Be as productive as possible. Deal only with appropriate issues and make a clear distinction between the functions of the Board and those of the director.

Ensure that the director is present at all Board meetings.

Rotate leadership responsibilities to create a stronger Board; each trustee should have the opportunity to hold office.

Hold regularly scheduled meetings, as listed in your bylaws. Select specific dates, times and places six to twelve months in advance.

Follow procedures for conducting business meetings as outlined in  Robert's Rules of Order. If this seems too formal, the chairperson should devise a specific order of business that maintains an orderly flow for the meetings.

Keep an archival file of Board minutes in the library. Individual Board members should retain current minutes in their trustee handbooks.

Hold working Board sessions and committee meetings prior to the formal Board meetings where decisions are made. This saves time and provides an opportunity for careful study of an issue.

Remember: Committees issue recommendations to the Board but do not make the decisions. Written committee reports distributed before the Board meetings are most effective.

Meetings must be open to the public and held in accessible locations. (See the  Public Participation section for more information.)

Typical Board Meeting Agenda

Call to order

Roll call (needed to judge a quorum)

Open time to address the Board

Approval of previous minutes

Reports of officers, director and standing committees

Reports of special committees

Unfinished business: items that are carried over from a previous meeting or items that have been postponed to the next meeting

New business: members may introduce new items of business or move to take from the table any item that is on the table


Program or speaker (if one)


The minutes should include the date, time and place of the meeting; the names of Board members present and absent; the substance of all matters proposed, discussed or decided, and a record of votes taken; the names of citizens who appeared and the substance of their testimony; and other meeting information that Board members request be entered in the record.