One of the most important (yet often neglected) duties of Library Trustees involves “Succession Planning” — that is, planning for the future governance of your library, no matter who is on the Trustee Board or who is the library director. A good introduction is in this eight-minute video.
Succession planning and the yearly calendar
One element of Succession Planning involves creating a yearly calendar for the Trustees that:
- Lists what topics the Trustees usually discuss each month of the year,
- Indicates when the Trustees need to start talking about certain items to make sure those items meet specific deadlines (the budget, for instance), and
- Shows when the Trustees can fit additional topics into their meeting schedule (for example, reviewing policies or engaging in strategic planning).
Having a detailed yearly calendar will help ensure that Trustees do not have to rely on institutional memory and can continue to move forward if a Trustee needs to resign due to health or other reasons. It also helps the Trustees decide when to tackle new initiatives, or what topics can be postponed to future meetings when unexpected urgent agenda items arise.
Ideas for how to create a yearly calendar
- Brainstorm an initial list of to-do items for each month of the year – and assign one Trustee to the task of revising that list throughout the year.
- Go through a year’s worth of Trustee board meeting agendas and write down what was discussed each month. Revise as needed.
- Schedule a focused discussion during a Trustee Retreat to brainstorm and agree upon a calendar plan based on external deadlines, Trustee capacity, and board aspirations.
Whichever way the Trustees create their yearly calendar, it’s important to store the document in a place accessible to any current or future Trustee – for example, in a Trustee filing cabinet at the library, in Google Docs, or on the Trustees’ section of the library’s website.
The Wyoming State Library offers a handbook for Trustees with supplementary materials and links. The handbook and site are packed with information. You’ll find both general and Wyoming-specific information. Questions? Contact the WSL Library Development Office.