Trustees should seek out educational opportunities through their library director, and also from connection with state and national organizations such as the California Library Association, the California State Library, and United for Libraries. Having the opportunity to network with others regionally and nationally will help trustees understand the context in which the library operates and their own roles and responsibilities.
There are many free resources available on public trusteeship and board development, as well as public library operation and management (see the Resource Guide). Trustees should also ask their library director to let them know about articles or books that may be important to their understanding of the library and its social/political context. Organizations concerned with non-profit administration and management, such as BoardSource and the National Council on Nonprofits, offer helpful information and resources.
The board and individual trustees should consider joining United for Libraries. While some of the resources that United for Libraries offers are free, many valuable learning tools are for members only. These include Short Takes for Trustees, designed for boards to use for training during meetings, and a national online trustee discussion forum, which many find an invaluable resource for learning about best practices, connecting with other trustees on specific questions and issues, and for discovering new resources and learning opportunities for library trustees.
Events such as webinars, workshops, and conferences provide excellent opportunities for continuing education, both from the subject matter and from the opportunity to meet and share experiences and ideas with other trustees. Trustees should consider attending the California Library Association’s annual meeting and work to include conference programming on trusteeship. At the national level, United for Libraries offers a program track for trustees at the annual ALA Conference.
The board should adopt a continuing education policy that underlines the board’s recognition of the importance of continuing education for board members and establishes requirements for training attendance.