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Library Boards

This brief overview highlights only the basic information regarding library boards.  For extensive details and sample documents and tools on library board governance, see the Kentucky Public Library Trustee Manual and more on the Kentucky Public Library Trustees page on the KDLA Website.

Most of the public libraries in Kentucky have a board composed of five members.  Boards that best represent the community will be diverse and include not only citizens from different parts of the county as mentioned in KRS 173.725(2), but also include representatives who will reflect a variety of community perspectives and interests.

Library board members are appointed to a four-year term.  Trustees may serve for two consecutive terms after which they may not succeed themselves.  They may be reappointed no earlier than twelve months following the end of their last service.  Board members with an expiring term continue to hold their office until their successors are appointed and have taken the oath of office.

Board members are governed by statute concerning conflicts of interest [KRS 173.340(3) and KRS 173.740].  Trustees have a duty to subordinate personal interests to the welfare of the library and those the library serves.  Conflicting interests can be of a financial nature or involve personal relationships, status, or power.

The board’s responsibility is to:

  • Establish policy,
  • hire a director and delegate the management of the library and all staff to that person,
  • monitor and evaluate the director’s performance,
  • plan for the future and ensure progress toward the library’s mission,
  • monitor and evaluate finances and library services,
  • evaluate board performance to ensure that the board is acting in accordance with law, by-laws, and in an open and transparent environment, and
  • advocate for the library and in political issues that impact library matters and services.

Board/Director Relationship