On a + note


A good board meeting does not happen by accident …it is a team effort. #9: 2013.

Posted in on a + note by flickfancy on March 4, 2013

kitty #9It seems that folks who read On a + Note are really interested in the “back of house” of dealing with a public library board. To answer some of your specific questions…

The meeting:

►The date and time of board meetings are a matter of public record; changing them will result in more problems than it solves. Resist this temptation at all cost!

►The agenda creates a natural flow for dialogue and decision making; stick to it.

►Library board meetings generally last 1.5 to 2 hours. Make the board members comfortable; it is just appropriate and respectful.

►Staff who are presenting to the Board should be at the meeting 20 minutes before and stay until the end of the board meeting. We are a team.

►I try and avoid any interruptions or distractions during a board meeting. It slows down the process and breaks the Board’s concentration.

►Variety is good. At each GPL board meeting, there is at least one staff report. Board members like meeting staff and connecting with the service.

►A well-informed Chair will lead a good meeting. Making sure they know what is on the agenda, understand the issues, and are comfortable facilitating the dialogue is essential.

►Board decisions are not official and actionable until the meeting minutes are passed at the next month.

The Board information package:

►Make it easy to access (e.g. on the library website) and an appropriate size. A 100 page board package lacks an editor!

►It has surprised me over the years that I continue to take great pride in a well-constructed and well-edited board package. GPL has a writing lexicon. We use a standard format with Arial 12 for the body and Arial 14 bolded for headers.  We use photos and images whenever appropriate. If the board package is not interesting, board members won’t read it!

►In presenting a report, anticipate that the board has read it. A 2 to 3 minute overview is great, but then move into questions/dialogue or show and tell. The dialogue is where the decision is going to be made, so that is where you should focus your attention and time.

My personal goals in dealing with the Board include:

►I always consider it a successful meeting if they talk 90% of the time.

►The board members are volunteers and people. A bit of humour or show and tell goes a long way to making your point, so, YES, a board meeting needs a bit of entertainment and fun. A happy board makes good decisions!

►I always strive to be honest and positive.

►Less information and more listening is always a good idea.

A good board meeting does not happen by accident; it is a team effort. I share all of this detail with you, because library school doesn’t.  Hopefully, being aware of these points reduces the stress that we all feel when we interact with the boss!

Have a great week! Spring is on its way here in southwestern Ontario.

Kitty Pope                                                                          #9 March 2013

kpope@library.guelph.on.ca

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2 Responses to 'A good board meeting does not happen by accident …it is a team effort. #9: 2013.'

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  1. Janet Woodbridge said,

    Re: [New post] A good board meeting does not happen by accident …it is a team effort. #9: 2013.

    Hello Kitty

    I always enjoy my Monday morning wake up call from you!

    Just to add to your comments regarding today’s post, all our board agendas and minutes meet the Integrated Accessibility Guidelines.  It is much easier to post accessible documents if they are created using accessible templates. We worked with the County to develop the accessible templates for the Library.    Our agendas and minutes are posted through the county website, with a link from our website.  This way, all documents are laserfiched and stored electronically.   

    Below  is  a  link  to  assist  you  in  creating  documents  that are accessible.

    This website provides some “desk reference” type guides on how to make Accessible Documents in a number of different programs. http://adod.idrc.ocad.ca/

    Best regards, Janet Janet Woodbridge Chief Librarian, CEO Essex County Library 519-776-5241 ext 122                         mailto:jwoodbridge@essexcountylibrary.ca

    Monday, March 4, 2013, 6:04:09 AM, you wrote:

    flickfancy posted: “It seems that folks who read On a + Note are really interested in the “back of house” of dealing with a public library board. To answer some of your specific questions… The meeting: ►The date and time of board meetings are a matter of public record;” 

  2. Grant said,

    Kitty,

    I have really enjoyed your advice for directors on dealing with library boards. While I practice some things (“no surprises” is a big one with me), you mention other things that I could do to make things easier or more pleasant. Feel free to offer more advice when your spirit moves you.

    Thanks,

    Grant


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