On Saturday, June 1, 2019, trustees from the Northeast, Wilkes-Barre and Pottsville Library Districts gathered to learn about Creating Strong and Engaged Boards. This multi-district CE opportunity was made possible in part by LSTA funds.
Tish Mogan, Standards for Excellence Director for the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) presented an engaging, interactive program highlighting many of the responsibilities, challenges and rewards that come along with serving on the board of a nonprofit such as a library.
Among the topics covered were leadership and governance, board development, board, staff and volunteer responsibilities, by-laws, board job descriptions, policy and legal oversight and resource development. The last topic sparked a lively debate about the advisability of having 100% giving from board members. It was noted that many funding sources are more likely to be receptive to a request for funding if the applicant can demonstrate that all of its board members have contributed financially to the organization. It doesn’t matter how small the contribution, as long as everyone gives something.
Tips for more effective board meetings included the use of the consent agenda, sending materials to board members at least a week in advance, and keeping minutes that are accurate but not an actual transcript of every word spoken.
Attendees had the opportunity to work in small groups to get to know each other and to discuss specific plans of action based on what was learned. In addition, they heard from two trustees about their experiences. Don Broderick from the Abington Community Library, spoke about his positive experiences as a board member at the library and other organizations. Colleen Garrison from the Wyoming Free Library, spoke of what can happen when things go awfully wrong and the hard work that is required to set the board and library back on the right path.
Mary Ann W. Yonki
Wilkes-Barre Library District Consultant
Osterhout Free Library, North Branch