Wisconsin Statutes authorize the library board to establish both “external policies” (policies that determine how the library serves the public) and “internal policies” (policies that govern library board operations and library management). The development of effective library policies is well covered in Chapter 10 of Trustee Essentials: a Handbook for Wisconsin Public Library Trustees.
It is vital that library policies be able to withstand the four tests of a legally defensible policy:
- Test #1 - Policies must comply with current statutes and case law.
- Test #2 - Policies must be reasonable (and all penalties must be reasonable).
- Test #3 - Policies must be clear (not ambiguous or vague).
- Test #4 - Policies must be applied without discrimination.
In addition to board-approved policies, many libraries find it helpful to create procedure manuals, especially for complex activities like the selection, ordering, and processing of new materials. Procedure manuals outline the steps necessary to accomplish various tasks and can be especially valuable to new staff. Procedures must conform to the policies approved by the library board. While it's true that the library board is responsible for the entire administration of the library, your library will operate most effectively if the board delegates responsibility for the development of procedures and the day-to-day supervision of library operations to the library director.
|(Photo of jigsaw puzzle pieces courtesy of Pixabay)|
Denise Anton Wright, Public Library Development