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Welcome, California Public Library Trustees & Library Directors.

This website is an abbreviated version of the updated California Public Library Trustees Toolkit and the accompanying Director Confidential: A Companion to the Trustee Toolkit. To access the full version of the toolkit, download the pdf below.

California’s public libraries have never been more vital for their communities.

Public library trustees must be prepared to take on the exciting yet demanding role of helping to position their libraries as fundamental resources for individual and community success.


For many Californians, the public library is a fundamental part of their existence.

Along with free access to print and digital collections, it offers a civic and cultural engagement space, a place for workforce preparedness and educational pursuits, a technology hub, a safe place, and a center of community life. Public library boards were created to represent the people in public library governance . . .


Five Main Principles

The five main principles of public library trusteeship are:

1. Mission

Trustees should understand, believe in, and commit to the educational, informational, community and economic development, and recreational roles of the public library and their mission as trustees.
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2. Scope

Trustees should know the scope of the library board’s powers and its role compared to those of the library director and friends/foundations groups.
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3. Governance

Trustees should know the tenets, laws and rules that govern and guide the board’s proceedings and conduct of business.
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4. Duties

Trustees should understand and be prepared to carry out the duties of the library board regarding library planning, leadership, policies, and budgeting.
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5. Learning

Trustees should recognize the importance of continuing education for the library board and participate in ongoing learning opportunities.
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