At most institutions, the relationship between board members and the library is mediated through the administration. In an informal survey of 35 library directors, In Trust found that most have little direct contact with board members. Twenty-four library directors said that they never have contact with their school’s board members outside their board meetings. And 19 of the 35 said they have never submitted a formal report to their board.
However, the survey also provided some great insights from librarians who have built strong bonds with their board members. In Trust talked to three librarians about why this communication is so important to the betterment of the school.
Eileen Saner, the director of library services at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), provided In Trust with a useful reflection on how she integrated herself and her library’s needs into AMBS’s board’s discussions. One of the most significant bits of advice is to “deliberately focus on on how the library can contribute to advancing the institutional mission.” Her testimony ranges from setting strategic goals, to making the board aware of library issues, to creating a library mission statement.
To read more about the strategic ideas from these librarians, and for an example of the AMBS library mission statement, read here.
For more resources from In Trust, read the full issue here or visit the archives for other issues.