Policy Review

Policy development and changes are major decisions affecting established practice and policies. Trustees should allow adequate time for policy consideration and avoid incomplete assessment of possible options. If unresearched recommendations are arbitrarily rubber-stamped by the board without due consideration, the trustees will waste time reconsidering prior decisions, acting in crisis situations and rebuilding lost confidence of the staff and community.

Remember, policies are not carved in stone! Resources, communities and goals change and grow. Policies must reflect current needs and services.

During monthly board meetings, boards can review one section or one type of policy. A schedule for review can be drafted at the annual meeting and reviews completed during the year. The policy manual should be reviewed at the annual meeting, if not done prior.


While only trustees have the legal responsibility and authority to make policy, experience shows that the decision process works best when the library director and other staff are involved in researching options, drafting policies and presenting a report to the board. In medium and large libraries, the staff usually assumes responsibility for submitting policy analysis to the appropriate board committee. In small libraries, trustees may often prepare the analysis of policy options.

Board of Trustees Library Director
Determine the goals and objectives of the library and methods of evaluating progress toward meeting them. Review goals and objectives annually and evaluate progress. Provide assistance and direction to the board in setting goals and objectives and determining methods of evaluation. Provide information and opinion on how the library is progressing.
Relate the library and its programs to the community and its needs, discovered through systematic study of the community and through systematic analysis of library service. Assist the board to know the needs of the community and how to respond to these needs through library services.
Determine and adopt written policies to govern the operation, use, and program of the library. Adopt bylaws for board procedures. Review policies on a regular basis, especially as part of the orientation of new trustees. Recommend needed polices to the board and study examples and sources of information. Carry out the policies as adopted by the board. Interpret policies to the staff and public. Provide the board with recommendations and materials for study.
Seek a cooperative basis with officials of the municipality or other local governing unit, keeping in mind the special legal responsibilities of a library board Administer the library within the framework of the law and the library’s goals and objectives, policies and budget.
Attend all board meetings and committee meetings to which you are assigned. Carry out all special assignments properly. Prepare all needed library reports for the local unity of government and the Idaho Commission for Libraries. Provide copies to the board.