Information for Library Trustees

Public libraries are governed by elected or appointed library boards.  The members of those boards are called Trustees

The Library Act defines how a library board is created, when appointments or elections are held, and the powers of the library board.  Read more about library boards: 

Integrated Library Systems are departments within a regional district and do not have independent library boards.

The Trustee Orientation Program (TOP), provided by the British Columbia Library Trustee Association, is an overview of the roles and responsibilities of public library trustees in British Columbia. The program is delivered by volunteer facilitators who have experience with public library governance. While designed with new trustees in mind, the broad content of the workshop makes it a useful experience for all trustees, whole boards, and library directors.

Read more about the TOP.

The Library Act defines the length of a Library Trustee Terms to 8 years, regardless of the type of library system (e.g. municipal, regional district or public library association).

It is good practice to implement a succession plan in the last 1-2 years of the Chair’s term. This typically means preparing the vice chair to take on the role of Chair by involving him or her in decision-making, occasionally chairing meetings and so forth.

Here are some suggestions for board recruitment:

  • Identify gaps in your current board (fundraising, strategic planning, financial management, etc) and specifically target people in the community with those skills.
  • Encourage young people to join the board. The minimum age is 18, but perhaps some grade 12 or college students would be interested in joining the board.
  • Promote the benefits to potential board members:
    • Make a difference in the community
    • Gain valuable professional experience and enhance your resume
    • Network and form social connections
  • In addition, people may be more willing to commit if they better understand the position demands; clearly state the time commitments, expectations and travel requirements (if applicable).

Board members who have exceeded their term may attend meetings on an ex-officio basis. That means that they would not be a voting member but would be available to provide guidance and advice as needed.

Public library trustees (board members) play an important role in advancing the public library system. Contact Libraries Branch to arrange for a retiring board member to receive provincial recognition, please provide the trustee’s name, name of library and years of service. If the recognition package is needed for a specific date, at least two weeks advance notice is required.