INFORMATION FOR PROSPECTIVE BOARD MEMBERS
SOLS is currently governed by a twenty member volunteer board, but effective June 2016, the board will be ten members. Board members are mostly drawn from the boards of our client libraries with additional members recommended by the Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. The Board serves without remuneration for a four year term. The next term runs from June 2016 until June 2020.
Role of the Board
SOLS’ Board’s Governance Commitment states: “The board, on behalf of the people of Ontario as represented by the Minister with jurisdiction for public libraries, will govern Southern Ontario Library Service with a strategic perspective through a continually improving capability to express values and vision.” Individuals interested in sitting on the Board should be big picture thinkers who are forward thinking and open-minded, aware of library issues, focused on improving library service, tolerant of different styles, and self-disciplined. SOLS’ board operates under the Policy Governance® Model developed by John Carver and candidates for the Board are expected to accept this model.
Board Job Description
The job of the board is to represent its ownership in determining and demanding appropriate organizational performance. To distinguish the board's own unique job from the jobs of its staff, the board will concentrate its efforts on the following job "products" or outputs:
1. The link between the organization and its ownership.
2. Written governing policies which, at the broadest levels, address:
A. Ends: Organizational products, impacts, benefits, outcomes, recipients, and their relative worth (what good for which needs at what cost).
B. Executive Limitations: Constraints on executive authority which establish the prudence and ethics boundaries within which all executive activity and decisions must take place.
C. Governance Process: Specification of how the board conceives, carries out and monitors its own task.
D. Board-CEO Relationship: How power is delegated and its proper use monitored; the CEO role authority and accountability.
3. The assurance of CEO performance (against policies in 2A and 2B).
4. The assurance of funding through:
A. Advocating for optimal funding from the provincial government;
B. Pursuing a variety of funding and resource development activites that support SOLS' End priorities.
There are three board meetings a year - October, February and June. Currently, the board meets on Friday evening and Saturday, but the start and end times are under review, and the schedule may change. Board meetings are held in the SOLS office in Toronto (1 Yonge Street at Queen’s Quay). Expenses are paid by SOLS. Overnight accommodation on Friday is covered for those traveling from out of town.
Board meetings are structured around the Board’s job description:
- Discussions under Linkage Development typically address plans for contacts with the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, MPPs, and our client libraries. The Board’s ownership policy describes our ownership as “the people of Ontario as represented by the Minister with jurisdiction for public libraries”.
- The Board follows a cycle of policy review so that all four areas (Ends, Executive Limitations, Governance Process and Board-CEO Relationship) are addressed, at a minimum, once every four years.
- Assurance of funding has two main targets – the provincial government which is SOLS’ primary funder, and individual donors. All Board members are encouraged to give a financial donation to SOLS each year. Board members willing to canvass and/or steward donors are also asked to self-identify.
- The CEO’s performance is assured through a cycle of monitoring reports which address compliance with the provisions of the Ends and Executive Limitations policies. There is also an annual formal review.
- The Board also evaluates its own performance on an annual basis.
Work between meetings tends to focus on linkage development and assurance of funding. Typically, board members will be involved in advocacy with local MPPs, reporting at Trustee Council meetings and fundraising.