As Library Boards and CEOs prepare for the appointment of new boards, the documents and webinar below are resources to help prepare the transition and orientation of a new Library Board and new Municipal Council.    

Appointments to the Library Board

After the Ontario Municipal Election, set for Monday, October 22, 2018, there will be new municipal councils and library board appointments will follow soon after.  

Board appointments must be done in accordance with the requirements outlined in the Public Libraries Act (PLA) with these overarching reminders:  

  • The current Library Board remains an active board until the new Library Board is appointed 
  • Library boards in Ontario do not appoint their own replacements.  
  • Library board appointments are made by the establishing municipal council.  

Board Succession

Making appointments at the beginning of each electoral term and filling vacancies is municipal council’s responsibility. However, as advocates for the library, the library board can have a significant influence on the shape of the board in the future. Indeed, managing the transition from one board to the next is a key leadership responsibility for Ontario library boards in the second half of their term.   

Board Orientation

Board orientation is an essential part of establishing a new library board.  Typically, the orientation session is the first meeting of a new board and is focused on board members reviewing and discussing roles and responsibilities.  Board orientation sessions are useful for giving an introduction to governance and to the governing legislation. The orientation session also provides all board members with a common frame of reference for how the board and library operate.

Councillor Orientation

Forging a strong working relationship with municipal council and administration is an important role of the library board. By working together, library boards and municipal councils provide responsive and innovative library service that meets the needs of their community.

Spotlight on Ontario Public Libraries, a document for councillors appointed to library boards, provides an overview of governance of public library service in Ontario and the important role local libraries play in the life of communities across Ontario. 

The Model Letter to Welcome New City, Town and County Councillors, prepared by FOPL, is an initial step that the library board and CEO may wish to take to build a positive relationship with Council. It’s an excellent opportunity to congratulate new councilors while also making linkages between municipal priorities and the role of the library.

Planning the Transition to a New Board

Recorded September 2018

Following the Municipal Election on October 22nd, municipal councils will begin the process of appointing board members to the library board. Good governance requires that the outgoing board and the library CEO work to ensure that: 
  • the transition to the new board is as smooth as possible 
  • the municipality has the information it needs to appoint good people to the board 
  • returning members commit to mentoring new board members 
  • the orientation for new board members is seen by the whole board as an opportunity to renew itself.  
This webinar is an overview  of requirements and best practices for managing this important transition and an opportunity to get your questions answered.  

Anne-Marie Madziak is a the Service Development Director  with SOLS. In her work with public libraries she has trained both staff and trustees on a wide range of topics, assisted with board development, facilitated planning sessions and guided libraries through a variety of service reviews.  

Peggy Malcolm is a library development consultant with SOLS.  She is the SOLS representative on the Ontario Public Library Guidelines Council, which recently released the sixth edition of the Ontario Public Library Guidelines for municipal and county libraries, and coordinates accreditation audits for libraries in southern Ontario. 

Questions and Answers about Transition to a New Board

Do council representatives on the library board continue to participate as active board members once their council term is finished?

Yes. Under the Public Libraries Act, the current Library Board remains in place until the new Library Board is appointed.  That means that all members of the board who were appointed by the past municipal or county council remain in place, and all have full voting privileges.  It is possible that if the new board is appointed at the first meeting of the new council in December, then the new library board would be the body to meet in December. In many cases, however, it is the old board that meets in December, and sometimes, January. Council has 60 days from its first meeting to appoint the library board, which means that it sometimes happens that a municipal/county councillor who was defeated in the election (or who did not run) would still be on the library board through December and January.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Anne Marie Madziak, Service Development Director