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Trustee Support Resources


Perhaps not glamorous or exciting, but an understanding of the ways in which libraries are funded and how those funds should be managed are critical to keeping the library’s doors open. This knowledge is essential for board members who are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that their community continues to have library services and programs.

It is the trustee’s responsibility to understand the details of their library’s funding, including where the money comes from and the district or municipal library budget process. Limitations on funding have been established by state law and the Washington State Constitution as well as various initiatives passed by a vote of the electorate.

Trustees must be advocates for adequate library funding within their communities, with city and county governmental authorities, and with state elected officials. Trustees must also consider investigating additional sources of revenue, especially for one-time projects.

Garnering support for the library is critically important. It is a task that requires the personal commitment of each board member to:

  • Understand how funds are allocated to the city or town library or levied by the district and how the laws that govern public finance and proposed laws, initiatives, or referenda that will affect the library financial needs and budgetary processes;
  • Explore the options for better support of library services in the community, from supporting Friends of the Library to establishing a library foundation;
  • Promote the board’s vision and long-range plans for the library and ask citizens for their support in a variety of venues in addition to library board meetings;
  • Plan ahead for community needs, such as constructing or remodeling library facilities;
  • Regularly ask citizens and library users what the community wants and actively work to achieve their priorities;
  • Work proactively with funding authorities to support the library.