The Board Meeting โ€“ Agenda Development

A meeting agenda, or order of business, is a blueprint of how the meeting is going to be run.

The meeting announcement should include the agenda and the issues that will be discussed under each heading.

A typical order of business for a library board is:

  1. Call to order
  2. Approval of agenda
  3. Consent agenda
    1. Reading, correcting, approving, or disposing of minutes of previous meetings
    2. Treasurer's Report
    3. Approval of the Bills
    4. Director's Report
    5. Reports of Officers
    6. Reports of standing committees
    7. Reports of special committees
  4. Verbal reports if pulled from consent agenda
  5. Unfinished business
  6. New business
  7. Announcements
  8. Questions and comments from the public (optional)
  9. Adjournment

Call to Order. This is the official beginning of the meeting.  The chair calls the meeting to order and a roll call of the members is taken.  The secretary should report in the minutes the precise starting time for the meeting and the names of the members who were present when the meeting began.  (If members arrive or leave during the course of the meeting, this should be noted in the minutes at the point where the member arrived or left.)

Approval of Agenda. Normally this procedure is routine: changing the agenda should not be done lightly, since the posted agenda has informed the public about the issues that will be discussed at the meeting. Changes may be made, however, if a decision item has come up after the agenda has been posted and if a decision must be made before the next scheduled board meeting. The chairperson should ask for any additions or changes to the agenda. If board members wish to add or change an item, they should explain why this item cannot be held until the next board meeting or why the change should be made. This explanation should go into the minutes. Any addition to the agenda should be approved by a majority of the board and the vote recorded by name. For Open Meeting posting and agenda requirements, see I.C. ยง 74-204:

Consent Agenda.  Boards having a large number of routine or noncontroversial matters to approve can save time by using a consent agenda, also called a consent calendar.  This is a section of the meeting agenda listing matters that are routine or expected to cause no controversy, unlikely to elicit questions or discussion.

Each trustee should have read the entire board packet before the beginning of the meeting.  Before taking the vote, the chairperson allows time for the members to look over the consent agenda to determine whether it includes any matters they may have questions about, or which they would like to discuss or perhaps vote against.  Each trustee has a right to remove any item from the consent agenda, in which case it is transferred to the regular agenda for more thorough discussion before voting.  When the board has more than a few questions about a particular item, the chairperson may choose to remove it from the consent agenda and place it on the regular agenda.  The remaining consent agenda items are then approved en bloc (as a whole) by majority vote, without discussion.

Approval of the Minutes. Members are given an opportunity to review the record of the last meeting and make any changes in the record that is deemed necessary. Records of these changes should be kept. It is not necessary for the secretary to read the minutes out loud. Considerable time can be saved at meetings if the minutes are mailed to the members in advance and members read them before coming to the meeting. If minutes or other materials are mailed in advance, extra copies should be available at the library and at the board meeting for the public.

Treasurer's Report. The treasurer reports on the financial condition of the library. The report should be in writing, with the treasurer highlighting important changes verbally. The report should include the total income and expenditures for the month and the year, the amount of cash on hand, and a report on where this money is being kept and at what rate of interest. As with the minutes, meeting time can be saved and members can be better prepared if the financial report is sent out in advance.

Approval of the Bills. A list of bills should be given to each board member. The actual invoices should be on hand in case there are questions about specific bills. The library director should point out any unusual bills. As with the minutes and the financial reports, the list of bills can be sent out to board members in advance to save meeting time.

Director's Report. Monthly statistics should be presented in writing. Anything unusual that occurred in the library in the previous month that does not require board action should be reported. (If something requires board action it should considered under unfinished or new business.)

Committee Reports. Informational reports by standing or special committees are made at this time. Written reports, mailed in advance, should be prepared if committee reports are long or complicated. If committees are requesting action by the board, the chair should be asked in advance to place these items under either unfinished or new business.

Unfinished Business. These are issues which have been held over from previous meetings. Typically, if an item is listed in either unfinished or new business, it is expected that some kind of action will be taken on it, even if the action is just to put off a decision.

New Business. These are issues that have not been discussed in the past. They are often placed on the agenda at the request of the director or of a board committee.

Announcements.  This is an optional time for the board members and/or director to share any information, such as upcoming programs, visits from legislators, anniversary celebrations.

Questions and comments from the public.  Although this is a courtesy that the board may wish to extend to the public, this portion of the agenda is optional, as Idaho's Open Meetings Law does not expressly require the opportunity for public comment.

Adjournment. The adjournment is the official end of the meeting. No library business should be conducted after the meeting has been adjourned. The exact time of adjournment should be stated in the minutes.

Posting the Agenda. To comply with the Idaho Open Meeting Law, notices of the meeting must be posted at the library in advance of the meeting. Boards that do not have a regular meeting date must post a notice of each meeting five days in advance. All boards must post an agenda notice 48 hours in advance of the meeting.
See Idaho's Open Meetings Law Information