Trustee Times - February 2021

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Trustee Times - February 2021

Trustee Times is a bi-monthly newsletter published by the Library of Michigan, featuring information of interest to public library boards. Information included in this newsletter is for informational purposes, and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Please consult your library’s attorney with any questions about your specific situation. 

Freeport District Library



In this Issue:                                                                 

A New Year is Here


We already know as we begin 2021 that the need to learn and adapt to a variety of circumstances both personal and professional will continueIf you are starting a term as a trustee for a Michigan public library, welcome!  Be sure to take time to review the resources available for you and your library on the Library of Michigan (LM) website under the For Libraries areaAdministration section. 

The LM will continue to create resources and provide new ways to support libraries across Michigan as they navigate their community needs.  We hope that you will be able take part in some of these opportunities.  If you have ideas for us to consider as we look for new ways to support the public library trustee community, please don’t hesitate to reach out to LM's staff.      

Our February newsletter provides a good start for all trustees including a list of upcoming training events, tips for oaths of office, plus online resources available to support your work. 

We look forward to connecting with you over the current year and thank you for serving as a public library trustee in Michigan.

Online Resources for New Trustees

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Congratulations! You are a public library trustee... now what? Anyone new to the world of public libraries and public service can be overwhelmed by the amount of information necessary to perform the duties of the position. It can be daunting to find answers and explanations for the many questions new public library trustees often have. 

To assist new (and not-so-new) public library trustees, LM has listed a few resources to help answer some of the many questions that trustees may have about library governance.

Not finding the information you need in the sources listed here? No problem! Ask your Library Director or your Cooperative Director for additional options or contact a member of the LM Library Development department. 


General Resources 

Michigan Public Library Trustee Manual Provides an overview of information on Michigan public library law, funding, operation, ethics, and other topics relevant to public library trustees. Recently updated for 2021. 

COSLA Public Library Trustee Handbook A general non-jurisdictional resource that provides information on a range of topics of use to public library trustees. 

United For Libraries The division of the American Libraries Association (ALA) that focuses on public library trustees and friends groups. This site contains several training opportunities as well as documentary resources including manuals and sample organizational materials. Need more information on what trustees do?  Need sample insurance policies or evaluations? This is your site. LM provides statewide membership for all Michigan public libraries so you can create your own account under Statewide Access. 

Michigan Municipal League, Handbook for Municipal Officials Although written for municipal officials such as mayors and council members, this manual provides well-explained and comprehensive information on a myriad of topics such as use of public money, oath of office, managing public meetings, and more. Looking for information on whether you can use library money to send flowers to an ill staff member? This is your source. 

Library Laws Handbook A compilation of Michigan laws affecting library establishment and operation. Although this resource is not current, and may not reflect amendments made to laws after 2013, it does contain the full text of all library establishment laws, which may be helpful to trustees. 

District Library Law Handbook A general overview of the legal establishment and operation of a District Library. 



Michigan Public Library Trustee Handbook See chapter 2, page 6, Bylaws and Board Organization. 

COSLA Public Library Trustee Handbook See page 17, section Bylaws, and Appendix 1 for a set of sample bylaws.  


Financial Information 

Library of Michigan Public Library Financial Management Guide Written by an accounting firm, this manual provides a guide to managing library finances in accordance with appropriate municipal and public funds laws and guidelines. 


Open Meetings Act 

Open Meetings Handbook from the Michigan Attorney General Provides plain language explanation for compliance with the Michigan Open Meetings Act, which guarantees Michigan residents access and participation in public meetings. The one caveat is that this handbook has not yet been updated to include recent amendments covering COVID-19 protocols for electronic, virtual public meetings. 

Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith Newsletter Update on 2020 OMA Amendments Provides clear and plain language explanations about the October and December 2020 amendments to the Open Meetings Act. 


Parliamentary Resources 

Roberts Rules of Order The preeminent parliamentary procedure guide available from online booksellersyour local bookstore, or public library. The website provides official interpretations of rules and a knowledgebase of FAQs. 

Roberts Rules of Order Cheat Sheet Handy quick reference for appropriate meeting protocol from California State University, Fullerton. 

Jurassic Parliament Parliamentary consultant and expert site that offers free informational resources that address parliamentary questions and problems. 


Upcoming Trustee Training Opportunities

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The new year brings with it a variety of training sessions of interest to trustees. You can find full details and registration for these online webinars using the links below or on our website under LM Continuing Education Opportunities. 



  • Library Law Spotlight: Library Privacy Act Amendments, Part 1, Wednesday, January 27 at 10:00 am EST. LM and the Michigan Library Association (MLA) will present the first of a two-part series about the recent amendments to Michigan’s Library Privacy Act. The recording of this session will be available on the LM Webinar Archive page. Part 2 is scheduled for March 16. You can find information on Part 2 on the MLA website as we approach that date. 
  • In Times of Uncertainty - Get Strategic! with Amanda Standerfer, Tuesday, February 3 at 2:00 pm ET. Learn about Strategic Planning Tips and Tools to Help Your Library Move Forward. Should you think about strategic planning in the middle of a crisis? What does a strategic planning process look like in turbulent times?
  • Millage Law for Libraries: Know Before You Go for OneWednesday, February 17 at 10:00 am EST. Library Law Attorney, Anne Seurynck, will walk attendees through the intimidating world of Michigan election and campaign finance laws as they apply to library millage campaigns. 
  • Library Law Spotlight: Risk Management, Thursday, February 25 at 10:00 am ET, is an opportunity to learn more about the risks faced by libraries including; data breaches, pandemics, accidents, disaster, crime and more, as well as common strategies to mitigate and address risks. 
  • Library Accounting Webinar: Uniform Chart of Accounts Update, Tuesday, March 2 at 2:00 pm EST. Hear about the updated Uniform Chart of Accounts recently released by the State of Michigan.  
  • Trustee Training 101Wednesday, March 10 at 10:00 am EST. Basic information will be provided to newly appointed or elected library trustees to assist them in beginning their tenure governing a public library. Content includes duties and responsibilities of trustees; the library's role as a public entity; and where trustees can find additional information and answers to questions. 
  • Trustee Training 102: Advanced Trustee, Wednesday, March 17 at 10:00 am EST. Building on information from the Trustee Training 101 session, topics will be discussed such as handling board discord, member recruitment, officer duties, and more. 



Never registered for a LM webinar?  You will need to create an account in our systemInstructions can be found on our website. Need extra help with your registration? Email us at or call 517-335-1517.  

Find all of LM’s training opportunities on the Continuing Education page. Have you missed 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. Be sure to look at the recordings found under the Library Law section of this page.   


Have You Missed an Issue of Trustee Times?

Find them here: October & December. 

Tips on Oaths of Office for New Trustees

People taking an oath of office

Tips on Oaths of Office for New Trustees 

In January many new trustees began the first month of their terms on public library boards. We have compiled a few tips in order to help you familiarize yourself with the law around this process and where to find more information. 

  • Oaths may be administered by a municipal clerk or a Notary Public. Oaths may be administered virtually under pandemic rules. 
  • Trustees must swear an oath whether elected or appointed. 
  • Trustees must swear an oath EACH time they are elected and re-appointed. 
  • The text of the oath is available at MCL 15.151 


Additional information: Public Library Boards and Oaths of Office


Stay Connected

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Looking for information or resources to help you with your duties as a public library board member? The LM Library Development web pages have lots of content to support you in your role as a trustee. Under the Library Development’s Administration section you can find a variety of topics such as Financial Management, Library Law, QSAC, State Aid and Penal Fines, Trustee Information, and more. Be sure to visit our website or connect with us for assistance. 

Follow LM on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too!  

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

Learn more about Michigan Library Cooperatives by finding links to cooperatives, plans of service, maps, and more here.