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Trustee Training Held on Strategic Planning

The southwest region’s multi-district trustee training was held Saturday, April 28th and featured Tish Mogan, Director of the Standards for Excellence Program at the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO).

Since the overwhelming majority of public libraries in PA are 501(c)(3) organizations and not municipal entities, a session with PANO made perfect sense and was well received by the attendees representing 27 public libraries.

In order to strengthen library board culture, Tish suggested adopting a values statement and/or set of “core values” that can be displayed on the wall at every board meeting; and to remember that MISSION always comes first!

Attendees were encouraged to update their by-laws and include:

  • A board member removal clause (with or without cause);
  • Approval of email voting (only if there is “unanimous consent”);
  • In the case of large boards, giving the Executive Committee decision making capability on time sensitive issues;
  • Building the strength of committees by appointing non-board members;
  • Establishing a Governance Committee that actively recruits, evaluates and develops a succession plan for board leadership.

The session was very interactive and some of the ideas from the attendees included:

  • Make each board meeting a “working meeting” with a “strategic agenda;”
  • Make use of the “consent agenda;”
  • Utilize 21st century technologies to enhance efficiencies: email, dashboards, and online surveys for evaluations;
  • Remember that board meetings are about the future and not the past and should include planning, resource development and sustainability.

The attendees were very interested in receiving additional information as well as a follow-up session with Tish geared more specifically to the issues and challenges facing public libraries and boards.

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Submitted by:
Melinda Tanner, District Consultant
Citizens Library

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