Library Board Trustee Position Description

March 22, 2016

About the Library Board

Public Library Boards are governing boards, legal corporations with the authority to make policy and to govern the library’s affairs under the Public Libraries Act, RSO 1990, c. P.44.

A Board’s duty is to provide comprehensive, effective and efficient public library service that reflects the community’s needs and builds community capacity.

The stakeholders of today’s libraries expect strong leadership.  Consequently modern governance must reach beyond ongoing budget oversight and a regular strategic planning exercise to embrace new ideas, and forge strong relationships that will support the library in its Vision and Mission.

The Responsibilities of the Library Board

The primary roles of the Uxbridge Public Library Board are to:

  • Set the vision, mission and strategic direction for the library and, using strategic planning techniques, determine a strategy map to get there;
  • Make policy within the framework of government legislation and regulations;
  • Oversee the library’s finances in accordance with public accounting principles and requirements and within municipal budget policy and procedures;
  • Monitor overall effectiveness of the library in meeting community needs in an efficient and effective manner and evaluate progress on the strategic plan;
  • Set fees where allowed by the Public Libraries Act;
  • Hire and evaluate a qualified Chief Executive Officer to implement the strategic plan and to manage the day-today delivery of public service and daily operations of the library.

The Library Board has the authority to act on behalf of the library; individual board members have no authority to act on their own.

Uxbridge Public Library Board Trustees


As a member of a library Board, a trustee must act honestly and in good faith and in the best interests of the library.  This means that the interests of the library take precedence over personal interests or those of any group with which the trustee is associated.

Trustees are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the Uxbridge Public Library Boards Members Code of Conduct, which states the Board commits itself and its members to ethical, businesslike and lawful conduct, including proper use of authority and appropriate decorum when acting as Board members.  The Uxbridge Public Library believes that it is the right of all employees, Board members, volunteers and any person having a relationship with the Library be treated with dignity and respect.  The library is committed to providing a working environment which promotes mutual respect, provides equal opportunities and is free from harassment.

Trustee Roles

The person appointed to the Library Board must be:

  • A Canadian citizen;
  • At least 18 years old;
  • A resident of Uxbridge; and
  • Not employed by the Library Board or the Municipality

Along with the governance, legal and fiscal roles, Library Board Trustees are expected to support and participate in the community engagement by:

  • Establishing the library as an essential community service;
  • Building community pride in the library;
  • Advocating the library’s role in the community;
  • Maintaining an open dialogue with the community;
  • Building strong relationships with Municipal Council;
  • Being aware of the municipal planning context; and
  • Developing strategic partnerships with community groups and leaders.

In order to fulfill the above, Uxbridge Public Library requires a well-rounded Library Board with competent, experienced trustees.  The trustee’s job is not an easy one: it requires the ability to work towards a vision and to think in broad, future oriented terms while maintaining a commitment to move vision to reality.  This requires understanding and discussing the philosophical aspects of library service while implementing the necessary governance measures to achieve desires services.  A good trustee keeps the overall vision, mission and value promise in mind while acting strategically.

Essential Competencies & Qualifications

The essential core competences and qualifications for an Uxbridge Public Library Trustee are:

  • Conviction that the public library is essential and uniquely important to the life of all Uxbridge residents and communities within Uxbridge
  • Commitment to the Township of Uxbridge and the Township of Uxbridge residents through active service to the community;
  • Leadership experience
  • Business acumen;
  • Ability to seek and listen to input from all stakeholders;
  • Ability to approach people and problems with an open mind;
  • Ability to actively participate in discussion and deliberation and to attain positive outcomes; and
  • Time and energy.

Desirable Competencies & Qualifications

In addition to the above, based on the status of the current Uxbridge Public Library Strategic Plan and the current/emerging economic environment, the Library requires a well connected, credible community leader who brings:

  • A large network of varied community contacts including the business/corporate, education, public and not-for-profit sectors; and
  • Success in advocating for funding and political support.

Experience in the area of fund development would be an asset.

Time Commitment

The Library Board holds 10 regular monthly meetings a year: January – June and September – December inclusive.  The time commitment includes: preparation time to read and consider reports and other information in the meeting package, and the meeting time of approximately 2 hours.

On occasion, Board members are also required to participate in public participation meetings designed to seek public input on key library matters.

Board members are expected to represent the library on committees such as the Ontario Library Boards’ Association, Southern Ontario Library Service, etc.  Time commitments vary according to the committee.

Board members may also elect to participate on standing (Finance Committee, Community Outreach, and Personnel and Policy) or “ad hoc” committees of the Board which are established to deal with specific matters such as the hiring of the CEO or drafting specific policy.


Library Board Members are not compensated for the time required to participate in the above activities however certain expenses may be paid (eg., mileage, meals, conferences, workshops).

Additional Information

Interested applicants can find information on the following websites:

About Uxbridge Public Library and about the Library Board (e.g. policies, reports, meeting agendas and minutes:

About Uxbridge Public Library

About the roles and accountability of Public Library Boards:

Ontario Library Boards’ Association, Leadership by Design (Much of the above content as adapted from the OLBA 2007 publication Cut to the Chase)

About the roles and accountability of Public Library Trustees:

Ontario Library Boards’ Association, Leadership by Design


Southern Ontario Library Service, Trustee Tips