Board Engagement & Development

Effective governance of a public library depends on a CEO who understands the importance of helping the board work well together to fulfill its obligations to the community.  The CEO needs to navigate the complexities of being both an employee and a leader when it comes to working with the board.  While not responsible for governance, the CEO needs to understand governance issues and be able to orient, educate and support the board as needed. 

Last updated: July 21, 2014

Competency:  Cultivates a healthy, mutually empowering relationship with the Library Board

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands the roles and responsibilities of the Library Board and the library CEO
  • Respects the Library Board as the legal employer and the legitimate authority and decision-making body on all governance issues
  • Understands the principles of good governance
  • Facilitates the regular flow of communication between the CEO, the board and the municipality
  • Helps board members get to know each other and get to know the library
  • Provides the board with the information it needs to do its job well
  • Helps the board stay focused on board work
  • Cultivates the board’s passion for the library’s mission  
  • Develops a respectful and trusting partnership with the board chair. 


Competency:  Structures and supports the Board’s work

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Provides leadership to the board in setting its annual objectives and collaborates with the Board chair to develop monthly agendas based on the annual objectives
  • Guides the Board in developing, reviewing and updating policies
  • Guides the board in strategic planning and in articulating mission and vision      
  • Leads the budget process in conjunction with the Board chair and models accountability through the regular provision of clearly presented financial information
  • Provides timely and pertinent information to support the Board’s decision-making
  • Motivates the Board to advocate for the library in the community and with Council
  • Motivates the Board to cultivate good working relationships with the municipality and other community organizations.


Competency:  Facilitates board effectiveness through orientation, education and succession planning

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Practices strategic recruitment of new Board members
  • Encourages the outgoing board to leave a legacy document for the new board;
  • Works with the outgoing board and municipal officials to achieve a smooth transition prior to and during the appointment of a new board
  • Plans for board orientation and ongoing library board development in key areas of governance and in current library issues
  • Engages the board in discussions of library issues as they arise
  • Encourages trustees to attend meetings, workshops and conferences relevant to public libraries and/or governance.

Please review's Terms of Use. For questions, comments and suggestions regarding this website, please Contact SOLS Helpdesk.

The Southern Ontario Library Service  is working to make our website accessible to all. We welcome comments and suggestions on access improvements and encourage you to take a look at our updated Accessibility Policy. If you require a particular PDF or word document in an accessible format, please do not hesitate to contact us. We also offer BrowseAloud reading support - click on the orange graphic to the right to launch.  Learn more about BrowseAloud.

The support of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is gratefully acknowledged.