Working with the Library Manager

As Chair, your role is to convey the will of the Board to the Library Manager, and the Library Manager’s concerns to the Board. You have the most influence on the relationship between the Board and your Library Manager/ CEO. You can determine whether it thrives or withers. If you are unsure about who does what, you need to review your Board’s governance role. Now is the time to

  • Review your Board’s manual for policies and procedures related to governance
  • Increase your understanding of various types of governance. See Branching Out for relevant topics and resources
  • See Understanding who does what and related material for a summary of the differing roles of the Board and the Library Manager.

Your relationship with the Library Manager is essential to the success of your library and must be professional, honest and one of goodwill.

  • Expect your Library Manager to attend all meetings of the Board, except for in camera sessions about the Manager’s evaluation, compensation, termination or succession. The Library Manager can determine with you, which, if any, members of staff will attend.
  • Lead your Board in a fair and transparent process of setting objectives, performance evaluation and compensation review.
  • Delegate to your Library Manager, ensuring that:
    • Delegation is within the framework of the Board’s mission, policies, and bylaws
    • The purpose and objectives are clear
    • A timeline is established for progress reports and achieving objectives
    • The Library Manger is clear about the level of their authority
    • There is a method for evaluating actions or decisions.
  • Respect your Library Manager’s professional knowledge. Remember the Manager is on the job every day attending to library operations.
  • Maintain frequent, open and honest communication with your Library Manager about how things are progressing and about the wishes and concerns of your Board.
Remember if you do the Library Manager’s work, you won’t have time for the work of the Board!

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