Trustee Times - December 2020

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Trustee Times - December 2020

In this Issue:

Welcome to the December Issue

Trustees sitting around a table.

Welcome back to the Library of Michigan's (LM) Trustee Times. Michigan’s public libraries have been hard at workeeping their patrons supported with continuation of services during the pandemic, while maintaining safe and healthy workplaces for everyone. Throughout 2020 the LM has increased the number of available resources and training to help meet the challenges facing the Michigan library communityAnd we know that as trustees, you have been busy learning new information to help steer your libraries forward.  

Public libraries across the state have been working diligently to implement new services, create COVID plans, as well as navigate many new requirements related to the pandemic. We hope you continue to make use of resources and information we can provide for you as a trustee.  

This month we are featuring tips to help you with virtual board meetings and trainings, along with additional resources to help you continue your service as a public library trustee with confidence and skill. We are here to serve the Michigan library community. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Library Development staff at the LM with questions. We look forward to serving you! 

Library of Michigan Renews Statewide Membership in United for Libraries

UFL Logo

Did you know that you have trustee training resources and support at your fingertips?  The LM provides statewide membership in United for Libraries (UFL) to all public libraries in Michigan. Access is for trustees, all library staff, as well as friends of the library. UFL is the American Library Association (ALA) division that represents trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations. Member resources include high quality information specifically geared to the responsibilities of a public library trustee. There are many useful training resources and more, available to help you grow your knowledge and skills as a library trustee.

A few of the most helpful benefits of the membership are: 

  • Short Takes for Trustees, a series of 10 short videos (8-10 minutes each) that can be shown during Trustee meetings to stimulate discussion about the important role that Trustees play in the governance of their libraries. 
  • Trustee Academy, a series of online courses to help Trustees become exceptionally proficient in their roles on behalf of their libraries. 
  • Practical guides, toolkits, sample policies, tips sheets, and more, on topics from director evaluation to insurance. 
  • Access to current and archived webinars sponsored by UFL on a variety of topics. 
  • Discussion Forums to share and connect with trustees across the country.


To access UFL visit 


Scroll down to MICHIGAN

REGISTER to use the resources 

For future access simply login to your account under MICHIGAN 

 This service is provided to you at no charge and is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Library of Michigan. 

Upcoming Trustee Training Opportunities

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LM provides training sessions and additional resources from other organizations to support the Michigan library community. 

Following are some of upcoming training sessions to help you learn more about your role as a public library trustee: 

Library Law Spotlight: Remote Work is scheduled for 10:00 am ET, Friday, December 18Remote work is becoming a fact of life - even in libraries. This presentation is a Q&A with two prominent Michigan attorneys working with public libraries throughout the state. LM hosts a Library Law Spotlight each month focusing on topics of interest to the library community. You can find more details and register for this free webinar on the LM web site.  

If you have not registered for a LM webinar previously you will need to create an account. Additional instructions can be found on our website. Need extra help with registration? Email us at or call 517-335-1517. 

Did you miss a LM webinar or want to share the information with other board members?  You can find recordings of many LM sessions on our webinar archive page.  Several recordings can be found in the Library Law section of this page.    

Proactive Advocacy and Communication for Library Trustees and Staff will be presented by WebJunction on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 3:00 pm ET. You can register online here to attend or you can visit the WebJunction site later to view the recording. This one-hour webinar will explore communication tools and strategies for boards and library staff to be better prepared for unknown changes and is presented in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). 

Tips to Make Your Virtual Meetings a Success and Meet Pandemic Order Requirements

Laptop with Coffee

Recent amendments to the Open Meetings Act (OMA), MCL 15.261 et. Seq, have specified circumstances under which public bodies may hold public meetings virtually (or remotely). These amendments make significant changes to the way virtual attendance was handled pre-pandemic, so it is strongly recommended that boards become familiar with the new requirements. 

In addition, convening meetings virtually or remotely can be a very different experience than presiding over an in-person meeting. Following are some tips and resources for understanding WHEN and HOW to hold meetings remotely under the OMA, and for successfully managing the meeting once it starts. 

  • ASK your attorney to review new procedures and policies to make sure they conform with the new OMA amendments. 
  • READ the Statute!  As board members you should already be familiar with the OMAThe virtual attendance/meeting requirements (MCL 15.263MCL 15.263a are a significant change to prior understanding of what was permitted. (The changes are NOT YET reflected in the Open Meetings Handbook published by the Attorney General’s office).   
  • REVIEW relevant policies and procedures! The amendments require different noticing and in-meeting procedures than in-person meetings. Amend your current practices to reflect the new requirements. For example, after December 31, 2020, members can no longer attend meetings remotely UNLESS they: 
    • Are on military duty,
    • Have a medical condition that prohibits them from attending in-person,
    • Are located in an area under a public health or emergency order that prohibits them from attending. 

In other words, if members habitually attend remotely because they are out of town, they will no longer be able to do that after December 31, 2020.  

  • CHOOSE your virtual meeting program carefully! Many online meeting options provide a free version. However, the free versions will usually NOT be suitable for public meetings consistent with the OMA. Ensure your chosen service: 
    • Accommodates enough members and participants to satisfy the OMA requirement that no person wishing to attend would be prevented from attending. If your free version permits only 50 or less, that may be an issue. 
    • Provides appropriate meeting-time options. Free versions often limit the meeting time to less  than an hour, which realistically is not enough for most public meetings. 
    • Provides options for anonymous participation. Participants can’t be required to identify themselves to the organizer of the meeting in order to participate (per the OMA). 
    • Provides telephone and online participation options. This permits constituents with no or  limited Internet the option of attending. It is not absolutely required, but if you are a library in an area with sparce or uneven Internet service, having a call-in option is likely a must-have. 
    • Has options for accommodations for hearing-impaired and sight-impaired participants. Most common products will have information on their website or in their user assistance materials that discuss assistive technology and accommodation. If not, call them to find out what is possible. Are transcripts available, captioning? Is their product optimized for compatibility with screen readers? 
  • PRACTICE ahead of time to familiarize members with program controls - how to share screens, how to raise hands virtually, how to mute yourself and others, how to troubleshoot problems, how to operate the chat feature (if available). 
  • DISCUSS virtual protocol with members. Members should be on camera. Camera shouldn’t be pointed at the ceiling or the wall, or their back. They shouldn’t eat while meeting (or mute microphone if they do), they should be engaged and not watching TV or on their phones, etc. CHECK BACKGROUNDS! 
  • KNOW how to handle a “Zoom Bombing” or similar interference. Many common meeting  platforms have information on their sites that discuss security features and options that can be put in place to deter and minimize the possibility of a “bombing.” Zoom has helpful information on a user blog. 
  • PLAN AHEAD – Prepare the announcements that need to be made in accordance with the new OMA amendments, and place them on a slide or document page that could be shared with participants while verbal announcements are made. This ensures important information is received by participants and provides additional accommodations to hearing impaired participants. 
  • ENLIST technical assistance to aid participants during the meeting with technical problems. 
  • PREPARE a list of rules for members of the public participating (behavior rules such as  remaining muted except during public comment, rules for public commentif they have to sign up for public comment, how much time, etc.). Make it clear what the ramifications are if rules are not followed (such as being kicked off meeting, etc.). DISPLAY these rules at the beginning of the meeting and before public comment. 
  • REMEMBER, the most important thing in a virtual meeting is making sure every board member can HEAR one other AND members of the attending public can HEAR everything being said. Members should be reminded to speak clearly, state their name before commenting, or make a motion (or the secretary or president should repeat (Mr. Smith has motioned X, is there a second? Or, Mr. S has motioned for X, and Ms. Y has seconded). ROLE CALL VOTING should be employed or every vote so that it is very clear which member voted for which item. 
  • WATCH OUT for members and/or participants talking over each other. ASK people to repeat anything that may not be clear. 
  • UPLOAD all documents displayed at the meeting to the board meeting page on the library website. Anything that would have been provided at an in-person” meeting should be posted to the website. OMA amendments REQUIRE that an agenda is posted (if there is an agenda). 
  • ANNOUNCE at the start of a meeting if the meeting is being recorded. 

Additional Resources 

Center for Local Government Guide to Virtual Public Meetings 

Michigan Township Association Virtual Meeting Reference Guide for Townships

Michigan Municipal League presentation on setting up remote access tools 

Post from Michigan Municipal League blog on avoiding Zoom bombings 

Please note that any research or resources provided here are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue, question, or problem. 

Hiring a New Library Director?

Check out this Toolkit from the Chief Officers of State Libraries, COSLA. 

Library of Michigan Foundation Year End Appeal

library of michigan foundation

The Library of Michigan Foundation (LMF), established 1985, raises funds in support of enhanced programs across Michigan for increased literacy, resource sharing programs, special collections, and continuing education of the Michigan library workforce. This year has clearly demonstrated the need for accurate information regardless of location or financial means.  

In response to a wide variety of needs across the state this year, the LM’s Library Development team provided over 100 in-person and virtual training sessions for approximately 12,000 members of the Michigan library community. New and innovative trainings were identified to cover a wide range of topics in response to critical needs across the state due to the pandemic. Training sessions were dedicated to help libraries implement their own virtual programming, while guest speakers were recruited on topics from special collections, hotspots, to ideas for virtual classes.  

One attendee shared, “I am so appreciative of the many ways that the Library of Michigan has supported libraries throughout this pandemic. The load and stress would have been so much heavier without the knowledge, resources, and support provided.”  

Another shared, “...many colleagues in other states are not getting nearly the support from their state library as we're getting from the Library of Michigan. It is one of the things really making Michigan shine right now.” 

The LM is a beacon of light to libraries statewide. With your support we can keep Michigan’s light shining bright. A tax-deductible gift will assure libraries continue to thrive and to provide critical services as part of the state’s recovery. To make a year end gift, visit:

Stay Connected

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Follow LM on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Also, visit our website, For Libraries, for more information from the Library Development department to support your role as a public library trustee. 

Did you know Michigan residents are eligible for a library card from the Library of Michigan? Get your LM library card today.