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South Dakota State Library Services: Library Boards & Trustees

A list of services provided by the South Dakota State Library.

Library Boards & Trustees

South Dakota State Library Trustee Wiki

The South Dakota Public Library Trustee Wiki is intended to provide information for South Dakota Public Library Trustees to use in the performance of their duties. Building on and updating the content of the South Dakota Public Library Trustees Manual published in 1994, it presents a general overview of:

  • trustee duties and responsibilities
  • the complementary roles of trustees and library directors
  • some of the skills trustees must develop
  • some of the issues trustees face

If you have questions, contact South Dakota State Library Development Services at 1-605-773-3131 or 1-800-423-6665, Option 5

Please note that this guide should not be used as a source for legal advice. Library directors and trustees should always consult with attorneys for legal matters.

South Dakota Codified Law governing public libraries is found at:
Public library trustees should become familiar with these statutes.

South Dakota Codified Law dealing with public meetings, which include public library board meetings and public libraries is found at:
See specifically:

  • 1-25-1: Official meetings open to the public--Exceptions--Teleconferences--Violation as misdemeanor.
  • 1-25-1.1: Notice of meetings of public bodies--Violation as misdemeanor.
  • 1-25-2: Executive or closed meetings--Purposes--Authorization--Misdemeanor.

Board members must know and follow these laws and act in the best interest of the entire community.

One of the most important obligations of the board is to make certain that sufficient funding is available to operate the library properly. Each board member should know the library's financial background; the unit(s) of government allocating the local appropriation; the entire resources of local tax monies and the library's fair share; grants available from all sources (government and private foundations); and any other possible sources of support. (For example: a bond issue, endowments, gifts, donations, fines and fees.)

A budget is an expression of the library's plan and objectives in financial terms. Therefore, before a budget can be formulated, the plan for library services must be developed and the goals and objectives established. If the community is involved in the planning process, the library and its plan will be supported throughout the community. However, the library's budget must be realistic. The library is, after all, only one of many services provided by the unit of government. If the budget requires a substantial increase in funding, the board should investigate other possible funding sources. Funding from such other sources as federal monies should be considered supplemental and never as a means of lowering local appropriations. The local appropriations must be at least large enough to provide the minimum level of public library service acceptable to the community. Other funds should be used to supply services and materials over and above this level. The following list classifies the responsibilities of trustees and librarian:


Trustees Librarian
Study, amend if necessary, and approve the annual library budget request. Prepares annual budget that clearly states the amount of money needed, the services and materials which will be provided with the money, and the priorities among the various library services.
Present, along with the librarian, the budget to the appropriate governing body. Presents the budget to the appropriate governing body along with members of the library board.
Approve acceptance of gifts and government or private grants. Prepares a final line item budget for consideration of the board.
Adopt a final line item budget based on the budget allocation approved by the governing body. Reports regularly to the library board concerning expenditures and budget status.

The Budgeting Process

The following is a brief outline of the steps involved in preparing a budget:

  1. Formulation of the library budget is primarily compiled by the library director and staff. This first step in preparation of the planned budget should include various approaches to achieving the goals and objectives that are feasible in terms of anticipated resources. The approaches should then be ranked according to their priority and available funds.
  2. In the second step, the formulated budget must be presented to the board. The library director must explain the budget in depth so that it can be discussed. All anticipated questions that the community may ask should be taken into consideration during the discussion. If problems should arise, changes must be made. Board members must be well informed and prepared to answer any and all budget questions which may arise.
  3. The third step involves obtaining the good will of the community. If the library has been a needed part of the community, and the community has taken an active interest in the library, public support should be in favor of the planned budget. However, precautions must be taken to counteract existing anti-tax sentiment through the use of the news media. Budget discussions must be open to everyone: the general public, the press, Friends, and government officials. To make certain all segments of the community are represented, invitations must be made both publicly and privately.
  4. During the final stage, when the budget is presented to the proper allocating officials, board members must accompany the library director to present the budget. If the budget is to be approved, officials must see the board as a representative body of taxpayers.
  5. Adopt a line item operating budget.

No specific budgeting system can be recommended because the library's accounting system must comply with that used by the governing body. The budget should be detailed enough to assure the authorities that the money will be spent in compliance with the agreement. However, a too detailed budget will result in money being tied up in accounts for extended periods of time.


What is a strategic plan?

Strategic planning is similar to a road map in that it gives directions on how to arrive at a destination. Without a basic guide or plan it would be difficult, if not impossible, to make decisions concerning appropriations, the need for expansion, allocations for programs or staff development. A plan assists the board of trustees and the library director in making the best decisions for the community being served.

Planning is an integral part of any organization's growth and development. The board of trustees, the library director and the library staff are charged with serving as a caretaker and steward of the library system. It is their job to keep the mission and goals of the library in perspective and on track by constantly reviewing services and policies to ensure library service is accessible by all segments of the community.

To provide the community with efficient, progressive library service, the board of trustees must base the plan upon their knowledge of the community, community expectations, resources of the community and realistic projections of the future needs of the community. Therefore, the purpose of planning is to move the library forward effectively to meet the needs of the entire community. To help the board and library director develop a good plan, the following list helps explain a plan:

The basis on which a strategic plan should be constructed is the adoption of planning statements for library service. While the board of trustees and library director must take the initiative in writing and revising these statements, the library staff and community should have the opportunity to make suggestions and to discuss ideas before the board adopts the statements, which should include a mission statement, goals, objectives, and action statements as explained below.

‍Developing a strategic plan

1. Assess the library's present situation. Study the local environment--the community's political structure and how the library fits in, the geographic and demographic data for the community and the library, the economic factors affecting the community and the library, including revenue sources and budget. If projections for the community have been made, examine them. If not, develop such projections on the basis of present and anticipated community development.

2. Study the library in relation to the community using standards and guides, especially the tools published by the American Library Association, See Fact Sheets, Toolkits, and Publications. Publications may be available through interlibrary loan.
Determine the mission statement, goals and objectives for the library.

  • Mission Statement - a tightly-worded statement of the library's purpose for existing. Mission statements are usually expressed in a few sentences. They should be specific enough to serve as a guide for the rest of the plan without being too wordy. A mission statement is the most basic and permanent part of the plan. Mission statements are seldom changed, and from them flow the goals, objectives, and action statements.
  • Goal - a broad statement of what the library should be doing in the future. A goal must be consistent with the mission statement.
  • Objective - a statement of the specific result to be accomplished in support of achieving a goal. When possible, objective statements should be quantifiable--capable of being counted or measured with definite time frames. This allows for determination of the successful accomplishment of a goal.
  • Action Statement –a statement describing the means used to support the mission statement.

3. Examine alternative approaches to reaching the objectives. Select the most feasible approach in terms of likely resources. Divide the selected approach into steps and place the steps into time frames. Assign priorities; that is, decide which steps have to be accomplished, which should be accomplished, and which would add to the total effect but are not essential. This ranking will dictate the allocation of funds and other resources.

4. Determine a basis for evaluating progress toward reaching the goals and objectives.

5. Be certain the community accepts the plan. Once the public is convinced of the need for the planned library service, then the public will be supportive of it. Therefore, it is mandatory to involve the community in the planning.

6. Planning is on-going process. No plan is perfect. Unexpected events necessitate changes in any plan, and changing times present new problems and suggest new approaches to meeting library goals. Unless some crisis requires immediate updating of the plan, the plan should be reviewed annually.

Strategic Plan example

Public Library Space Needs

Tools for Trustees

Public Library Ordinance Samples
State Library of Iowa

Lakeside Public Library: Creating a Public Library Board

Material Selection and Intellectual Freedom
Trustees must not only formulate a written selection policy, but they must defend the formulated policy in the event of citizen complaints. It is extremely important that the library board support decisions of their librarian in implementing the policy which they, the trustees, have adopted.

Continuing Education

Education of board members must not cease after orientation. A requirement of library accreditation through the SD State Library is that board members must complete a certain number of CE hours every three years.  Board members should be aware of new trends and new methods in the library field. To stay informed, members should become active in the South Dakota Library Association (SDLA), and they should read selected professional publications. In addition, the SD State Library publishes a newsletter blog Cornerstonewhich has an occasional Board Talk column from the state librarian. Other ways of keeping current are through participation in statewide and regional workshops and conferences. Visiting other libraries is yet another way to keep current, especially if the library to be visited has a successful project which can be examined. In addition to their own continuing education, the board is responsible for the continuing education of all library staff members. The board should provide adequate money in the budget for staff members to travel to workshops and other training programs.


Every trustee should be familiar with current and pending legislation relating to libraries at local, state and national levels. Trustees should express their opinions, both as individuals and as library board members, to their elected representatives in regard to any pending legislation which could benefit or adversely affect libraries.

Library Organizations

American Library Association (ALA)
The ALA represents librarians, trustees and interested citizens in the United States and Canada. The American Library Trustee Association is a division of ALA specifically organized for the purpose of discussing and handling problems which library trustees may encounter.

Mountain Plains Library Assocation (MPLA)
MPLA is made up of the following member states: South Dakota, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. MPLA's most important activities are the sharing of ideas and expertise throughout the area and the provision of opportunities for continuing education. 

South Dakota Library Association (SDLA)
SDLA is an at home opportunity for the trustee to share ideas and knowledge with other South Dakota trustees and librarians. The association sponsors an annual conference and publishes Bookmarks, a monthly newsletter. Trustees may join the Public Library Section.

South Dakota State Library

The State Library is in existence to provide library service to all South Dakotans, largely through assistance to local public libraries. The State Library is open 8 am – 5 pm (CST) Monday – Friday. 1-800-423-6665 or 773-3131. Visit

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Library Trustee Overview

Trustee Qualifications and Responsibilities
A good board of trustees :
•supports the execution of library policies to offer impartial service to all library users
•advocates for improved library service 
•has a current library card 
•represents the diversity of the community with respect to interests, age, and socioeconomic levels
•has a regular infusion of new members 
•networks with community leaders and organizations
•knows library trends and standards
•complies with the legal authority, state statutes, and local ordinances and board regulations under which the library operates


Trustee Selection and Appointment
See SD Codified Law 14-2-35, which specifies the make-up of a library board.

The chairperson of the board must notify the appointing body of vacancies as soon as they occur, and appointments should be made immediately. The new person will fill the remaining term of the vacancy.

Truly outstanding members can be reappointed to the board, but no one should serve indefinitely. The board chairmanship should be rotated among members. Each member should be appointed for a specific 3-year term and know when (month and year) their term expires. Terms should be specified in the appointment document. 

Board – Library Director Relationship
The librarian or library director is employed to handle the day-to-day administration of the library. Both the board and the governing body should support the director in performing her/his administrative responsibilities. The board should ensure the director's continued education and development by encouraging participation in professional associations and by requiring attendance at workshops and conferences. The board itself should also take responsibility for its own continuing education. The table below contrasts the personnel oversight responsibilities of the library director and the board. 

Responsibilities of Trustees and Librarian


The most important duty of the board of trustees is to hire a qualified, competent librarian. When hiring a new librarian, the board should:
1. Decide on the salary range based on the budget and the qualifications of the position. Where possible, the librarian
 should be a graduate of a library school accredited by the American Library Association.
2. Obtain assistance in seeking qualified applicants from the state library, accredited library schools and professional organizations through advertising in their publications.
3. Follow the hiring procedures of the governing body.
4. Having hired a librarian, let her/him handle the everyday management of the library. A written job description and
 written goals and objectives should be agreed upon at time of hiring (or subsequently). A performance review based
 on the library director’s job description and goals and objectives at the midpoint and upon completion of the
 probationary period is recommended.
5. Provide funds and professional leave for the librarian, staff, and board members to attend State Library sponsored workshops and whatever other continuing education opportunities that may be necessary to keep abreast of current trends in librarianship and to maintain their certification and library accreditation.

SD State Library Voluntary Certification/Accreditation Program
Hiring a New Director Resource Packet

Administer the personnel policies of the library.
The librarian should:
1. Select and supervise all library personnel.
2. Administer all aspects of the library’s personnel policy.
3. Serve as the channel of communications between the staff and the board of trustees.
4. Urge staff members to apply for, maintain and/or upgrade their South Dakota State Library voluntary certification.


Public Relations
Trustees serve as the public's representatives to the library and as the library's representative to the public it serves. This list defines the public relations role of trustees and the librarian:


  1. Library user.
  2. Promote library services and needs to trustees' business associates and to the public.
  3.  Studies and actively supports legislation to improve library services on local, state and national levels.
  4.  Support the librarian’s efforts to maintain an effective public relations program.  
  5. Establishes a good working relationship and maintain year-round cordial contact with the city or county commissioners, community leaders, and other government officials.
  6. Participates, when asked, in formal public relations activities. 


  1. Maintains a high level of library service, and a friendly, inviting atmosphere within the library. 
  2. Develops a sustained public relations campaign through the use of personal appearances, media coverage, display materials and special promotions. 
  3. Studies and actively supports legislation to improve library services on local, state and national levels.
  4. Establishes a good working relationship and maintain year-round cordial contact with the city or county commissioners, community leaders, and other government officials.



Trustee Ethics Tools
New trustees want to be good board members, but they are not always familiar with the ethical concerns of a non-profit board. The library should have an Ethics Statement for Library Trustees and this should be shared with new board members.

Sample statements are available at the following URLs:

ETHICS STATEMENT FOR PUBLIC LIBRARY TRUSTEES - from the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, a division of the American Library Association


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Library Board Meetings

Regular library board meetings must be held. South Dakota Codified Law, SDCL 14-2-40(5), requires "Each board of public library trustees shall ... meet at least once during each quarter of the year." The library director should attend each meeting and serve as secretary to the board. Active libraries generally find it beneficial to meet monthly.

The chairperson and the library director should prepare the agenda and send it to the board members prior to each meeting, following the South Dakota Open Meetings Law, SDCL 1-25. (More information about Open Meetings Law.)
Although discussions can be informal, the meetings should be conducted according to simple parliamentary procedure. The typical parliamentary order of business is listed below:

  • Reading, amendment (if necessary) and approval of minutes of previous meeting
  • Correspondence and communications
  • Report of the librarian
  • Financial report
  • Reports from committees
  • Unfinished business
  • New business
  • Adjournment

The chairperson should conduct a controlled meeting with directed, pertinent discussion. Every board member must be given the opportunity to speak. See Robert's Rules of Order Parliamentary Procedure . In addition, check out Parliamentary Procedure advice from Dr. John A. Cagle.

To make every meeting meaningful, complete routine business quickly to allow time for open discussion on long-range planning, policy review, methods of extending service to unreached portions of the community, and other big picture topics.

A good organized orientation will include information packets with detailed information on responsibilities and ethics:

  1. Schedule of board meetings
  2. A technology development and replacement plan
  3. Library board bylaws
  4. Minutes of the previous year’s meetings
  5. Staff list with position descriptions
  6. Recent annual reports
  7. Current budget and financial reports
  8. Library board policy manual and schedule for policy review
  9. Access to the current strategic plan, if one has been developed
  10. An ADA Compliance Plan, if one has been developed
  11. Board duties
  12. The difference between the responsibilities of the library director and board members
  13. The library, past and present - it's legal basis, finances, physical facilities, policies, collection, services
  14. The community - history, demographics, economics, education, politics
  15. State and national library information - laws, legislation, services of SD State Library, statewide plans for library development, state and national standards

The packets will help the trustees gain confidence as they begin their new duties and get the new trustees involved in board business early in their first term.

The librarian should also provide a map showing any branches, stations and bookmobile stops; names, addresses and telephone numbers of other members of the board, etc. The librarian should conduct a library tour for board members and introduce staff members and volunteers.

The board of trustees must have an organized routine to conduct its affairs effectively, as outlined in its legally required bylaws in SDCL 14-2-40(2) :

  1. Place and time of regular meetings
  2. Order of business
  3. Officers, committees, and their duties
  4. Date of annual meeting to consider the budget (if one is held)
  5. Procedure for calling special meetings
  6. Definition of a quorum
  7. Parliamentary rules to be followed
  8. The role of the library director
  9. Procedure for amending the bylaws
  10. Limitations on board members

Sample Bylaws of a Public Library
Brookings SD Public Library bylaws
Freeman SD Public Library bylaws

Generic Sample Bylaws of a Public Library 
(Please note: this section is a template that can be revised to fit your library needs)
Board of Trustees
Article I - Name and Authorization
This organization shall be called "The Board of Trustees of the Library," existing by virtue of the provision of Chapter 14-2 of the South Dakota Codified Laws, and exercising the powers and authority and assuming the responsibilities delegated to it under the said statute.

Article II - Meetings
The library board shall meet on the _ day of the month or months at _ time at the library. An annual meeting shall be held at the time of the regular monthly meeting for the month of ___
Special meetings may be called by the president or upon the written request of three members for the transaction of business stated in the call for the meeting.

Article III – Officers
Board officers shall be as follows: president, vice president and secretary. The librarian shall serve as secretary of the board. All other officers shall be elected from among the trustees by ballot at the annual meeting of the board. Each officer shall serve a term of one year in such office, and may be re-elected in subsequent years.
The president of the board shall preside at all meetings, certify all actions approved by the board, authorize calls for any special meetings, and generally perform the duties of a presiding officer. In the absence of the president, the vice-president shall perform all duties authorized for the president.
The board secretary shall keep a true and accurate account of all proceedings of the board meetings; issue notices of all proceedings of the board meetings; issue notices of all regular meetings and, on the authorization of the president, of all special meetings; and have custody of the minutes and the other records of the board.
If the library board shall have direct charge of any funds, a treasurer shall be elected in the same manner as the president or vice-president. The treasurer shall have charge of such library funds, shall sign checks on the accounts on the board's authorization and report at each meeting on the state of the funds.

Article IV – Committees
Special committees for the study and investigation of special problems may be appointed by the president to serve until they have completed the work for which they were appointed.

Article V – Quorum
A quorum for the transaction of business shall be a simple majority of the board members.

Article VI – Librarian
The librarian is the board's executive officer and shall have sole charge of administering the library under the board's direction and review. The librarian shall be responsible for employing and directing the staff, for selecting library materials, for the care of the buildings and equipment, for the efficiency of the library's service to the public, and for operating the library under the financial conditions set forth in the annual budget. The librarian shall keep exact accounts of all moneys received or expended, and shall report on such receipts and expenditures at each regular meeting of the board. The librarian shall perform the duties of secretary of the library board, and shall attend all board meetings except when her or his employment or salary is to be discussed.

Article VII – Order of Business
The order of business at the regular meetings shall be as follows:

  • Roll call
  • Approval of previous meetings’ minutes
  • Correspondence and communications
  • Report of the librarian
  • Financial report and approval of expenditures
  • Reports of committees
  • Unfinished business
  • New business
  • Adjournment

Article VIII – Amendments
These bylaws may be amended by a simple majority of the members present at any regular board meeting that has a quorum, provided that the amendment was stated in the call for the meeting which was mailed to the members at least one week before the meeting.

Article IX – Limitations on Board Members
The term of office of trustees shall be three years. The board shall recommend to the appointing official that a trustee serve no more than two full consecutive terms, that a former board member may be reappointed after a lapse of one year and that if a trustee is appointed to serve an unexpired term of office exceeding 18 months it shall be considered a full term.
When any trustee fails to attend three consecutive meetings of the board the president shall notify the appointing authority, request the disqualification of the trustee, and suggest two to four persons qualified to fill the position.

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Library Policies and Procedures

The board of trustees is responsible for adopting written policies that govern and guide all phases of library operation. Policies are general, flexible statements governing library operations, rules and use. They are not carved in stone. Policies must be tailored to meet changing local conditions and should be derived from the library's mission statement. The following list categorizes the responsibilities of the trustees and librarian:


  1. Establish goals and objectives of the library in a written long-range plan that should be revised annually.
  2. Determine and adopt written policies to govern the programs, operations, and use of the library.
  3. Consider any citizen or staff complaints or suggestions in regard to adopted policies.


  1.  Participates in the development of the long-range plan.
  2.  Recommends needed policies to the board of trustees.
  3.  Administers the library in accordance with adopted policies.
  4.  Interprets policies to staff and public. 

The policy manual must contain the following minimum information:

1. A statement of the goals and objectives of the library;
2. A detailed library materials selection policy* which includes selection priorities, the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read statement and a procedure for handling citizen complaints.
3. Regulations for library use must include the following◦Hours of service
◦Loan periods and fines (if any)
◦Replacement of library materials
◦Policy in regard to abuse of library privileges
◦Acceptance or rejection of gifts
◦Use of library meeting rooms
◦Exhibits by individuals or organizations

4. Staff regulations must include the following: NOTE: most libraries are governed & funded by their city or county, and staff regulations would be the same as for that entity.◦leave, vacation, sick leave, holidays
◦travel time and expenses to library meetings, conferences, etc.
◦other fringe benefits
◦staff responsibilities, job descriptions and salary schedules

Library employee benefits, salaries and job descriptions should be compatible with the benefits, salaries and job descriptions of other employees of the local governmental unit.
The policy manual should be revised in entirety at least once every five years and reviewed annually.

Service Policies

Collection Development
•Scope of Collections
•Criteria for Selection
•Responsibility for Selection
•Gifts and Donations
•Evaluation, Weeding and Maintenance
•Access to Collections
•Intellectual Freedom
•Challenged Materials

Facilities Use
•Hours of Operation
•Building Security
•Meeting Room Use
•Exhibits and Displays
•Bulletin Boards and Materials Distribution
•Patron Behavior
•Unattended Children
•Copiers and Other Equipment Use
•Emergencies and Disasters
Community Relations
•Public Information and Publicity
•Friends of the Library
•Partnerships and Cooperative Agreements
•Suggestions and Complaints
 Materials Use and Circulation
•Borrower Eligibility
•Confidentiality of Patron Records
•Loan Periods and Renewals
•Requests for Items Unavailable
•Holds on Items Owned
•Requests for Purchase
•Fines and Interlibrary loans
•Reserved Materials
•Overdue Fines
•Charges for Damaged and Lost Materials
•Reference and Special Collections
Computer Access and Use
•Internet Safety Policy
•Printing Charges
 Services Offered

Internal Policies

Board of Trustees Policies
•Constitutions and Bylaws
•Roles and Job Descriptions
•Risk Management
•Job Classifications and Descriptions
•Salary Schedule and Benefits
•Employee Recruitment, Selection, Appointment
•Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action
•Working Conditions
•Chain of Command
•Evaluation, Discipline and Termination
•Association Memberships, Workshops and Travel
•Budget and Funding
•Financial Reports
•Contracts and Bidding
•Capital Assets
•Surplus Property

Source: Tools for Trustees: The Georgia Public Library Trustee Manual by Lyn Hopper 

SD Library Policies Online
Alexander Mitchell (Aberdeen)
Brookings Public
Freeman Public
Hot Springs Public
Huron Public
Madison Public
Sturgis Public

Policy creation, samples
The South Dakota State Library has several books about policy creation. These are available through interlibrary loan. Search the library catalog at
Policy development information from ALA 
Policies and procedures, WebJunction
Sample policies from Kentucky 

Disaster preparedness policies
Librarian's Disaster Planning and Community Resiliency Guidebook - from the NJ State Library
Librarian's Disaster Planning and Community Resiliency Workbook - from the NJ State Library
Collections care & disaster response planning
California Preservation Program  (including disaster preparedness and response)
Kansas Cultural Heritage Emergency Resources Network

Tech planning policies
Tech planning policy
Tech plan how-to How to Conduct a Quick Tech Plan
Tech priorities Identifying Technology Priorities
Tech plan Example 

Public Library Ordinance Samples
State Library of Iowa
Lakeside Public Library: Creating a Public Library Board

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Friends and Foundations Groups

What is a Friends group?
Group of people who support the work of the library:

  • with financial contributions and small fundraising efforts
  • with volunteer service
  • act as bridge between the library and the community
  • advocate for the library
  • support current ongoing activities and one-time events
  • seek membership

Starting Out:

  • Form a steering committee with a few existing volunteers or some of your most committed and enthusiastic patrons
  • Determine the purpose & mission
  • Obtain tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) status


  • Official or Informal?
  • Fees?
  • Length of membership commitment?


  • Board – separate from Library Trustees and Foundation
  • Committees


  • Small projects
  • One-time programs
  • Supplemental
  • Consult librarian’s wish list
  • Consult with other boards before spending money


  • Regularly scheduled
  • Liaison to meet with other boards

Librarian’s Role:

  • Communication – needs, wishes, issues
  • Keep all boards somewhat separate, particularly the membership of boards


A Foundation is an institution supported by an endowment.
A Library Foundation is separate from the library board, Friends group, or funding authority.

Benefits of a Foundation
●Ensures money stays with library for library purposes
●Allows donations to grow by earning interest

Purposes of a Foundation
●Endow large library projects
●Enhance library’s mission
●Ensure library’s future

Foundation relationships with other groups: Library Foundation and Library Boards
Foundation & Library boards may align with same goals & projects, or may work on separate issues.

Library Board provides the day-to-day operational guidance
●Policies & planning
●Public funds
●Follows state statutes

Library Foundation Seeks

  • large donations
  • long-term investments
  • long-term projects
Library Foundation Structures
Library Foundation and Library board are the same Library Foundation board and Library board are separate Library Foundation and Library board are the same + there are 2-4 individuals who serve on Foundation only
●Much more work for library director ●Foundation Board has liaison member from Library Board ●Those individuals’ terms may be different from board members’ terms
●Potential for mixing roles ●Foundation Board has own director ●Those individuals’ sole focus is Foundation work
●Dual missions ●Each board has distinct mission and purpose


Thorsen, Jeanne. “Establishing a Library Foundation, Friends and Foundations Fact Sheets Applying for 501(c)(3) status Forms and Instructions for IRS Form 1023

United for Libraries (Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations)
South Dakota Community Foundation


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School/Public Combination Libraries

School and public library collaboration has long been in some form a best practice for all communities. Although the missions, functions, and operations of both libraries differ in some areas, they overlap in others. Thus, beyond the collaborative activities of two separate entities, a combination of services into one facility is a possibility with careful planning and commitment. Combination libraries often insure stronger, better financed and staffed services for patrons of all ages going forward.

Combination or joint-use libraries are a model every community under the population of 1,000 should at least consider if they have a nearby school. However, this model is also successful in large communities. Currently South Dakota has almost thirty combination libraries across the state. (Appendix A) Contact the State Library for more information about the libraries in your area.

The following framework is designed as a guide for communities interested in learning more about the necessary steps in forming a school/public combination library. Please keep in mind, the State Library is here to assist any community considering this option. We have many applicable resources and experienced staff.

  • To begin the discussion about a school/public combination library in any community we recommend forming a joint committee as soon as possible. It is essential to include representatives from all stakeholder groups: school board, library board, school administration, school librarian, public librarian, city council or county commission, local business owners, law enforcement, community organizations, and parents.
  • Hold public meetings to gather input from all stakeholders before detailed plans are created. Discussion may make it clear that the stakeholders are not interested in moving in the direction of a combination library at all or not at the current time. Consider asking a neutral third party to facilitate discussions and present information.
  • Develop a timeline and allow several years for a smooth transition.
  • With the assistance of the school board and the city council, or county commissioners, discuss and decide upon the governance structure. The public library must have an appointed board (See State Statute 14-2) separate from the school board if they are to remain an official public library with a federal FCSC/IMLS number.
  • Discuss the physical space such as maintenance, remodeling, or whether a new building is required. Security is an issue for schools and public libraries, even in rural, somewhat isolated areas. Include local law enforcement early in the discussions and well before you build or remodel.
  • Plan for a separate public entrance to the library and public restrooms contained within the library other than those designated for student use. Patrons who visit the library during the school day need to have direct access without going through the school office or signing in each visit. However, access should be to only the library facilities, including community meeting rooms, and not the entire school building.
  • Plan for handicapped accessibility inside and outside of the building. Check local statutes regarding public parking. Make sure your school has adequate public parking for accessing the public library during the school hours, as well as adequate exterior lighting.
  • Discuss library staffing and hours of operation as well as ongoing budget responsibilities. In most cases one librarian alone cannot meet the needs of the school and public at the same time.
  • Plan for technology use, support services, and ongoing repair and replacement of equipment.
  • Discuss policies and procedures under which the school and public libraries currently operate. Updated documents will need to be developed.

Joint-Use Agreement

  • Involve your city and school attorneys in writing a detailed contract for at least five years or more with provisions for dissolution.
  • Revisit the agreement regularly and adjust as needed. Submit a copy of the original agreement and any updates to the State Library.

Public Library Laws

  • Public libraries are required to have on file with the State Library: a list of current board members with name, position, term expiration, address, phone number and email address; City/County ordinance which gives library board authority to operate a public library; a yearly budget including salary of the librarian (He or she must be paid at least minimum wage for the hours of public access and proof that the city supports financially "in whole or in part" the public library's on-going operations); the public library's current by-laws under which they conduct business.
  • Officially recognized public libraries have an FSCS federal number which is the federal government's recognition of its LSA (legal service area) for the city or county. When combined with a school library the public library must continue to meet the state statutes for what constitutes a legal public library. It must also continue to align with federal minimal guidelines/standards* for a federally recognized public library.

*Federal criteria of the FSCS public library definition
A public library is an entity that is established under state enabling laws or regulations to serve a community, district, or region, and that provides at least the following:

  1. An organized collection of printed or other library materials, or a combination thereof;
  2. Paid staff;
  3. An established schedule in which services of the staff are available to the public;
  4. The facilities necessary to support such a collection, staff, and schedule; and
  5. Is supported in whole or in part with public funds.

For further information:

Public Library Standards

  • The SD Public Library Standards outline the best practices for library accreditation and librarian certification.

Public Library Annual Survey

  • Officially recognized public libraries are required to electronically complete the public library survey each year during the designated timeline in February through March. Public libraries must have a Federal ID number to complete the survey.
  • Each June the SD compiled statistics are submitted to the federal government through their federal WebPlus system. Compliance is tied to receiving federal dollars which support our statewide electronic resources and other reference/informational services to SD citizens.
  • The public library survey is an entirely different survey than the school library survey with different questions and data elements. Combination libraries complete both surveys. Both are required by state statute.
  • Contact State Library Data Coordinator for additional information.

School Library Laws
School libraries operate under the local governance of the school district. No state statue currently exists outlining further requirements. However, when forming a joint-use library, keep in mind state statute for the formation of a joint usage library does exist. The State Library does not recommend setting up a separate joint school/public board as outlined in State Statute 14-2-37 or 14-2-38. (See references at Laws Affecting Libraries Tab) This is a needlessly cumbersome and outdated statute; a 13-member joint board is not recommended for best communications and efficiencies. Most successful joint-use libraries operate nicely with the school library under the management of the school board and school administration while the public side continues with a public library board of trustees appointed according to State Statute 14-2-35. An ex-officio liaison board member working between the two boards is the most effective organizational structure.

The qualifications of school library certified and classified staff are outlined in SD Administrative Rules

School Library Guidelines and Content Standards

  • The SD School Library Guidelines, including the 21st Century School Library Self-Assessment, outline the best practices of school libraries in terms of the requirements of program, place, and professional. Both documents may be downloaded at
  • The Common Core State Standards aligned with the South Dakota School Library Content Standards and the American Association of School Librarians Standards for the 21st Century Learner, guide the teaching and learning in SD school libraries. SD Content Standards can be found on the SD Department of Education website

School Library Survey

  • School libraries complete an annual survey electronically during the designated timeline in April through May. It is an entirely different survey than the public library survey with different questions and data elements. Combination libraries complete both surveys. Both are required by state statute.

School/Community Reading Room Combination
Public libraries that do not meet the status of an officially recognized public library with a federal ID number are designated as reading rooms for the purposes of the State Library. A public library board is appointed by the local governing body, but the public library board does not adhere to State Statute or complete the annual Public Library Survey. The public library presence is in the school at the invitation and pleasure of the school administration. The combination library is funded primarily by the school district, with contributions from the city or county government.

School Library/Community Access
If no public library exists within the community or the officially recognized public library is not interested in combining service, the school is free to have policies and procedures in place which open their school library to their community as a community "reading room." There is no appointed library board. The school sets all policies concerning access (or not) to their school library. The library is funded primarily by the school district but may take contributions from other entities or organizations.

Tribal College/Community Library Combination
Tribal College libraries may also offer services to their communities and function as a "public" library to their community. They can apply for a FSCS federal number, but participation in the annual public library survey, though welcomed, is not required. Governance and funding is either determined by the tribal college or the tribal government.

Contracted Public Library Services
State Statute 14-2-37 and 14-2-38 are outdated and forming a joint 13-member board is not recommended.

  • Alcester Public Library
  • Bennett County Library
  • Brandon Branch Library, Siouxland Libraries
  • Centerville Community Library
  • Elk Point Community Library
  • Elkton Community/School Library
  • Faith Public/School Library
  • Hanson Community Library
  • Hartford-West Central Branch, Siouxland Libraries
  • Humboldt Branch Library, Siouxland Libraries
  • Ihanktonwan Community College Library
  • Irene Public Library
  • Lennox Community Library
  • Menno Community-School Library
  • Moody County Resource Center
  • Oglala Lakota College Woksape Tipi Library
  • Plankinton Community Library
  • North Branch Library, Rapid City Public Library
  • Scotland Community Library
  • Selby Community/School Library
  • Sinte Gleska University Library
  • Sisseton Wahpeton College Library
  • Sully Area Library
  • Tea Community Library
  • Tripp Public Library
  • Wakonda Public Library
  • Woonsocket Community Library

Sample Template* Joint-Use Agreement for a School/Public Combination Library

Disclaimer: Any joint use agreement developed for a school/public combined library should be reviewed by legal counsel of the parties involved. The following template provides a brief outline with which to begin, expand, and edit to meet specific local needs.

Legal Basis

This Agreement made and entered into on _ by the City of _, (hereinafter "the City"), the School District of _, (hereinafter "the District"), and the _ Public Library Board, a public library board established under SDCL14-2 (hereinafter "the Library Board");

WHEREAS, the City and the School District are legally authorized to enter into intergovernmental agreements for services or for the exercise of joint or common powers, pursuant to SDCL14-2;

WHEREAS, the Library Board may contract with library organizations to provide or receive library services, pursuant to SDCL14-2;

WHEREAS, the Library Board has exclusive control of the expenditure of all moneys collected, donated, or appropriated for the library as well as exclusive charge, control and custody of all lands, buildings, money or other property acquired or leased by the municipality for library purposes, pursuant to SDCL14-2;

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual promises contained in this Agreement and other good and valuable considerations, the parties agree as follows:


Governance and Policies

Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the powers and duties of the District Board or the Library Board or to delegate such powers and duties as granted to them by South Dakota law.

All policies of the combined library shall be approved by both the District Board and the Library Board. Policies may be modified at any time with mutual approval of both boards.

The Library Board shall continue as a legal public library board of trustees appointed according to SDCL 14-2-35. An ex-officio liaison board member working between the District Board and the Library Board shall be appointed by the District Board.


The parties will be responsible for providing staffing for the operation and maintenance of the combined library as follows:

The Library Board shall provide a public librarian certified by the South Dakota State Library and such other staff as necessary to perform the public library mission of the combined library.

The District shall provide a school librarian certified by the South Dakota Department of Education and such other staff as necessary to perform the school library mission of the combined library.

The Library Board shall provide overall supervision and evaluation of the public librarian.

The school principal shall provide supervision and evaluation of the school librarian.


The City and Library Board agree to pay the District [amount to be determined by parties] each year for space in the school, maintenance of the facility, utilities, and custodial services.

In the event additional space is needed or the existing space needs to be renovated, the parties shall mutually agree on how costs are to be allocated or recovered.

The District shall be responsible for the purchase of all materials selected by the school librarian and all processing costs related to these materials.

The Library Board shall be responsible for the purchase of all materials selected by the public librarian and all processing costs related to these materials.

The District and Library Board may jointly purchase some library materials, equipment, digital licenses, and other resources if mutually agreed to by the parties.

The parties shall mutually agree on how costs for existing and new technology are to be allocated or recovered.

The District shall be responsible for salaries and fringe benefits of all school personnel.

The City and the Library Board shall be responsible for salaries and fringe benefits of all public library personnel.

Ownership of Assets

Ownership of all library materials, equipment, and furnishings provided or purchased by the Library Board shall be retained by the Library Board and shall be identified as such.

Ownership of all library materials, equipment, and furnishings provided or purchased by the School District shall be retained by the School District and shall be identified as such.

All library materials, equipment, and furnishings shall be available for use by the public, the students, and school personnel. Public use of certain equipment owned by the School District may be restricted when it is in use by students and school personnel.

In the event of termination of this agreement, all library materials, equipment, and furnishings shall be divided in accordance with the ownership of the items.

Term, Termination, and Review of the Agreement

The term of this Agreement shall be for five years [or other] unless terminated by either party.

The Agreement may be terminated by either party for cause, or for any or no reason upon giving notice of eighteen months [or other]. The Agreement may be extended upon mutual agreement of the parties.

The parties agree to evaluate the effectiveness of the arrangement three years after the start of this agreement.

The Agreement may be modified at any time with mutual agreement of the parties.

Signatures to the Agreement

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have executed this Agreement by signing their names on this day and date first written above.
By: School District Board President
By: Public Library Board President
By: Mayor, City

*This sample template is based on an original created by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction,

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