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July 2010
Volume 2, Issue 7

Continuing Education Alert

Check Your Calendars!!

SDLA BranchOut 2010
July 27, 2010. Augustana, Sioux Falls.

Library Card Sign-up Month 2010
September, 2010

SDLA Annual Conference
September 22-24, 2010. Sioux Falls.

Festival of Books
September 22-24, 2010. Sioux Falls.

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read
September 25 - October 2, 2010.

2010 Indian Education Summit
September 26-28, 2010

Teen Read Week
October 17-23

Library Development

Department of Education offices prepare for move to MacKay Building

DOE new office space

By July 1 all of the Department of Education (of which the State Library is an office) will be under one roof. The move will be the final culmination of a project that began in December 2007.

DOE employees will be moving to the MacKay Building from the Kneip Building located just down the street. Facilitating this move has been a detailed process. Staff have been encouraged to clean out and recycle items not needed prior to moving. Labels had to be placed on each person’s cubical, phone, computer(s), office furniture, and other items within work areas to ensure that everything would be kept together.

Upstairs at the MacKay Building, construction has been underway to add new offices and clear space for the more than 100 cubicles that will move over from Kneip. New paint and carpet brighten the space, new glass doors have been installed at the entry to the building, and key card access for employees will soon be operational.

Outside the building, landscaping has started. You may recall from an earlier article that the MacKay Building is hoping to achieve silver certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™. Landscaping has to be largely drought resistant plants and ground cover. There are reserved spots for energy efficient vehicles and for those who carpool.

Enthusiasm is running high throughout all of the DOE offices. "We're looking forward to having all Department of Education staff, including our State Library staff, in one building," said Secretary of Education Tom Oster. "The new arrangement will allow us to share resources, and being able to interact with each other on a daily basis -- and have a better understanding of the many resources we have to offer — should result in better services to our constituents."

Board Talk: What is a “good board”?

By Daria Bossman, Assistant State Librarian for Development Services

Many boards just read their statutory responsibilities and venture no further. I’d like to explore some of the challenges good boards face and what makes a good board. Planning, evaluation, of course finances, advocacy and oversight of organizational operations all play a significant part in good trustee management and leadership.

What is a “good board”? More specifically what is an “effective” board? Library Boards should have by-laws which lay out their specific practices and responsibilities beyond the state code. They are required to meet four times a year but the by-laws may state that Public Library A meets every other month or ten times a year. Effective boards practice good time management skills - preparing in advance materials for board members to read, being respectful of board members’ time and keeping to the set agenda.

There are five areas in which effective boards balance their attention and time. Since library boards are required by South Dakota law to have “five competent citizens broadly representative of the local population” may I suggest that each board member be assigned one area of “expertise” or at least an area of focused concern and attention?

These areas are: 1) Daily Operations, 2) Finance, 3) Community Relations, 4) Personnel Administration, and 5) Planning or Visioning.

Daily Operations would include the writing and adherence to a set of prescribed and current by-laws. [SD Code 14-2-40(2)] It would involve all legal requirements being met such as ADA requirements, Open Meeting law requirements and the annual reporting of the Public Library Survey statistics to the state and federal government. It would also focus on approving a set of appropriate and current library policies and procedures for daily operations.

Finance would concern itself with the budget and the monthly expenditures of the library. Our South Dakota State Code has quite a bit to say about the board’s responsibilities in this regard. [SD Code 14-2-40(3)] “Prepare and submit an annual budget of its governing body.” This should be done well in advance of the actual city, municipal or county budget being set.

Community Relations involve communication with the legal service area and surrounding areas of service. This would involve speaking (or writing) on behalf of library policies and procedures, clarifying misinformation and advocating for the support of the community for the continuation and expansion of library services. As public libraries expand and change to meet the changing needs of local communities this is increasingly a vital and important area of board commitment. Our 21st Century library services will continue to look very different from past decades in the years to come. If our libraries are not relevant and meeting the informational and recreational needs of our communities they will not continue to exist.

Personnel Administration focuses on hiring library staff and most importantly, the hiring of a library director. The board should be mindful of state guidelines in terms of the qualifications of an effective librarian. They should be aware of what it takes for a public library of their size to be accredited and what training and professional development they need to support their librarian as a SD Certified Public Librarian. We now have a tiered system of library accreditation where libraries can meet Essential, Enhanced or Exemplary levels. Once achieved these levels should be communicated to community leadership and to the general tax-supporting public. No library is too small to meet the basic criteria for a library of its size.

Planning is the board’s last, but not least area. It has been said that if you don’t know what road you are on, you can’t get anywhere. “Roads” are our goals. It is the hallmark of a truly effective Library Board to have plans, goals and a vision for what they want their public library to become. Library Boards, like any effective board, will have plans and goals for the next five or ten years. These should be written down and measurable. “To be the best possible library in our community” is admirable. It is a visionary statement, but frankly it is not measurable and thus, not a goal. However, to raise X amount of dollars to buy or build furniture for our new teen section in the library…now, that is a goal!

Remember as a board member you wear five…yes count them….five hats! You oversee daily operations; you create, approve and oversee the budget and all other finances pertaining to the library. You hire, discipline, evaluate and sometimes fire personnel and deal with on-going personnel issues. You advocate and communicate library issues within the community in which you serve. Lastly, you read, talk and listen so that you can constantly be creating and adjusting your community’s vision for better library services.

It is not an easy job. It takes time and it takes commitment. A librarian’s task is to keep the board informed on all these fronts and to assist the chair in formulating interesting and informative agendas with the necessary information board members will need to make wise and pertinent decisions. However, it is a very rewarding job and beyond interesting…you might even say it’s just plain fascinating! If we can assist you with trustee development or answer questions, do give us a call.

board, community, DOE

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