A couple of months ago I provided an overview of the Friends of Durham County Library and the Stanford L. Warren Friends. The topic this month is Value Added from the Library Board of Trustees. Having an engaged Library Board is an essential component to any library being successful, and we are fortunate to have just that!
The Library Board of Trustees (BOT) serves as an advisory board for the Library Director and consists of nine members appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. Each member is dedicated to library advocacy. They listen to needs of the community as it relates to what’s working or not working within our library system. They have served as a voice for the transformation of Main Library. They have spoken in support of increased outreach efforts for the Bragtown community while their location is closed for repairs. They share excitement from friends, neighbors, and random library users who express their love for Durham County Library.
BOT members are passionate about our library system. Last year they held their inaugural advocacy breakfast. The event was a success with representation from State, County, and City government. This provided the BOT an opportunity to educate our elected officials on the impact of libraries in Durham. Those in attendance visited the North Carolina Collection, the MakerLab, and Books Among Friends, the Friends of the Library bookstore. The next advocacy breakfast is tentatively planned for January 2019.
Additionally, they recognize a staff member annually with the BOT award. This award is given each year to a staff member who exemplifies one (or all) of the following attributes:
- Exceptional service
- Dedication to increasing the public’s perception of the library
- Helpfulness in assisting other staff members
- And any other attribute that makes this Durham County Library staff member a valuable employee!
Members of the public are also able to participate by nominating a staff member. The winner for this year will be announced at our Staff Development Day on October 3. The winner receives bragging rights and a crisp one-hundred-dollar bill compliments of the BOT.
To keep BOT members knowledgeable of library resources, each bi-monthly meeting includes a highlight of a library resource. A recent resource discussed was Brainfuse HelpNow. Brainfuse Helpnow is a live on-demand tutoring program that covers math, reading, science, and writing subjects. The program allows students and tutors to work together in real time. They also learned about Brainfuse JobNow, a program that provides help writing resumes and cover letters. Sandra Chambers had this to say about resource learning for the board: “I enjoy each learning session provided by staff. Once someone discovers that I’m a Library Board member, they usually share a positive library story. I enjoy being able to inform them of other library resources they may not be aware of.”
Sandra Chambers has served as Chair for the past year and has served as a board member since 2013. I asked Sandra what she enjoys most about serving in this capacity. She was quick to say, “Like many others on the board, I have my favorite going-to-the-library-as-a-young-child story, but it’s more than that. I truly believe that the library has something for everyone in the community, and I want to make people aware of how the library and its many services can become an integral part of their life.”
The BOT also supports our budget requests to the County and works diligently with staff to approve our library policies. They are a committed group of individuals and dedicated to us having the best library system possible.