Send Your Sick Board to the Intensive Care Unit

Library directors will tell you their Board of Trustees or Board of Directors can be a great source of satisfaction and support or a hotbed of turmoil and frustration. If you have worked with library boards long enough, you are bound to have encountered the good, the bad and the ugly.

As consultants, we have seen the inner workings of library boards across the country. We have observed first-hand boards that love the library, the director and their fellow trustees and do all they can to support the mission.

We have also encountered boards that:

  • Specialize in micromanaging minutiae ("Can we save on toilet paper if we switch brands?")
  • Are dominated by one strong personality ("Don't worry. I'll take care of everything!")
  • Mistrust each other ("Shhhh...there's a mole in our midst.")
  • Do nothing ("Let the minutes reflect that we approved the minutes.")
  • Are acrimonious and contentious (“You always…”)
  • Or are passive and disengaged (“Will we be finished in half an hour?”)
  • Bring personal agendas to decisions ("Weeding is wasteful.")
  • Began serving when Eisenhower was President.

Readers undoubtedly can add to this list. If your board suffers from some nasty malady, write and tell us. (The first step to healing is to admit you have a problem!)

Read about the Board Building Workshops we’ve conducted.