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Administration and Governance

Policies that guide the board and staff in making the library a viable organization.

Belle Plaine Community Library

Local Library Ordinance

Chapter 11:

An ordinance confirming the establishment of a public library, to provide for the appointment and the powers and duties of a board of library trustees.

Section 11.1 Purpose: The purpose of this ordinance is to readopt the applicable sections of the former city Ordinance No. 500, Establishing a City Library and Board of Trustees, and to adopt as ordinances all applicable state statutes repealed by 64GA, Chapter 1088.

Section 11.2 Public Library: There is hereby confirmed the establishment of a free public library for the City of Belle Plaine to be known as the Hart Memorial Library and from and after July 1, 1990, to be known as " Belle Plaine Community Library". (Ord. 90-1, 1990).

Section 11.3 Library Trustees: The Board of Trustees of the Belle Plaine Community Library, hereinafter referred to as the Board, shall consist of nine members. All Board members are to be appointed by Mayor with the approval of the Council.

Section 11.4 Qualifications of Trustees: All members of the Board of Trustees shall be over the age of eighteen (18) years. Eight of the members of said Board shall be residents of the City of Belle Plaine, and one member shall be a resident of Benton County, Iowa, who resides outside of the corporate limits of the City of Belle Plaine.

Section 11.5 Orgainzation of the Board:

  1. Terms of office: All appointments to the Board shall be for six (6) years, except to fill vacancies. Each term shall commence on July first. Appointments shall be made every two (2) years of one-third the total number, as near as possible, to stagger the terms. The present incumbents are confirmed in their appointments and terms.
  2. Vacancies: The positions of any trustees shall be vacant if he moves permanently from the city or if he is absent from six (6) consecutive regular meetings of the Board, except in the case of sickness or temporary absence from the city. Vacancies in the Baord shall be filled by appointment of the Mayor, with approval of the Council, and the new truestee shall fill out the unexpired term for which the appointment is made.
  3. Compensation: Trustees shall receive no compensation for their services.

Section 11.6 Powers and Duties: The Board shall have and exercise the following powers and duties:
  1. To meet and elect fromm its members a president, a secretary, and such other officers as it deems necessary.
  2. To have charge, control, and supervision of the public library, its appurtenances, fixtures, and rooms containing the same.
  3. To direct and control the affairs of the library.
  4. To employ a librarian and authorize the librarian to employ such assistants and employees as may be necessary for the proper management of the library, and fix their compensation: provided however, that prior  to such employment, the compensation of the librarian, assistants, and employees shall have been fixed and approved by a majority of the members of the board voting in favor thereof.
  5. To remove by two-thirds vote of the Board the Librarian and provide procedures for the removal of assistants or employees for misdemeanor, incompentency or inattention to duty, subject, however, to the provisions of Chapter 70, Code of Iowa.
  6. To select, or authorize the librarian to select and make purchases of books, pamphlets, magazines, periodicals, papers, maps, journals, other library materials, furniture, fixtures, stationary and supplies for the library withn the budgetary limits set by the Board.
  7. To authorize the use of the library by nonresidents of the city and to fix charges therefore.
  8. To make and adopt, amend, modify or repeal rules and regulations, not inconsistent with ordinances, and the law, for the care, use, government and management of the library and the business of the Board, fixing and enforcing penalties for violations.
  9. To have exclusive control of the expenditure of all funds allocated for library purposes by the council, and of all moneys available by gift or otherwise for the erection of library buildings, and of all other moneys belonging to the library including fines and rentals collected, under the rules of the Board.
  10. To accept gives of real property, personal property, or mixed property, and devises and bequests, including trust funds; to take title to said property in the name of the library; to execute deeds and bills of sale for the coneyance of said property; and to expend the funds received by them from such gifts, for the improvement of the library.
  11. To keep a record of its proceedings.
  12. To enforce the performance of conditions on gifts, donations, devises and bequests accepted by the City by action against the City Council.
  13. To have authority ot make agreements with the local county historical associations, where such exist, and to set apart the necessary room to care for such articles as may come into the possession of the association. The trustees are further authorized to purchase necessary receptacles and materials for the preservation and protection of such articles as are in their judgement of a historical and educational nature and pay for the same out of funds allocated for library purposes.

Section 11.7 Power to Contract with Others for the Use of the Library:
  1. Contracting: The Board may contract with any other boards of trustees of free public libraries, any other city, school corporation, private, or semi-private organization, institution of higher learning, township, or county, or with the trustees of any county library district for the use of the library by their residents.
  2. Termination: Such a contract may be terminated at any time by mutual consent of the contracting parties. It also may be terminated by a majority vote of the electors represented by either of the contracting parties.Such a termination propositions shall be submitted to the electors by the governing body of a contracting party on a written petition of not less than five (5) percent in number of the electors who voted for governor in that territory of the party at the last general election. The proposition may be submitted at any election provided by law that is held in the territory of the party who is seeking to terminate the contract.

Section 11.8 Nonresident Use of the Library:
The Board may authorize the use of the library by nonresidents in any one or more of the following ways:
  1. By lending the books or other materials of the library to nonresidents on the same terms and coditions as to residents of the city, or upon payment of a special nonresident library fee.
  2. By establishing depositories of library books or other materials to be loaned to nonresidents.
  3. By establishing bookmobiles or a traveling library so that books or other library materials may be loaned to nonresidents.
  4. By establishing branch libraries for lending books or other library materials.

Section 11.9 Library Account: All money appropriated by the City from the General Fund for operation and maintenance of the library shall be set aside in an account for the library. Expenditures shall be paid for only on order of the Board, signed by its president and secretary.

Section 11.10 Annual Report: The board shall make a report to the City Council immediately after the close of the municiapl fiscal year. This report shall contain statements of the condition of the library, the number of books added thereto, the number circulated, the amount of fines collected, and the amount of money expended in the maintenance of the library during the year, together with such further information required by the Council.

Board of Trustees Bylaws

Article I: Library Board
    Section 1.
In accordance with Chapter 11 of the City Code of Belle Plaine, Iowa, the Library Board of the Belle Plaine Community Library shall consist of nine members, including one rural resident, three to be appointed every two years by the mayor with the approval of the City Council.

    Section 2. The general powers and duties of the Belle Plaine Community Library Board are outlined in Chapter 378 of the Code of Iowa.

    Section 3. The Board shall exercise its power and duties by

  • a.) employing a competent and qualified librarian
  • b.) determining and adopting written policies to govern the operation of library programs including personnel policies, and policies governing the selection of library materials, supplies, and equipment.
  • c.) reporting to and cooperating with other public officials, boards, and the community as a whole to support a public relations program for the Library.
  • d.) assisting in the preparation of and seeking adequate support for the annual budget.
  • e.) developing long-range goals for the library and working toward their achievement.
Article II: Officers
    Section 1.
The officers of the Board shall consist of a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Officers shall be elected at the annual meeting and shall hold office until their successors have been elected and installed. Their term of office shall be two years with unlimited terms.

Article III: Meetings
    Section 1.
At least 10 regular meetings shall be held yearly in the Library, the date and hour to be determined by the Board in accordance with the Open Meetings Law.

    Section 2. The annual meeting shall be held each year in August.

    Section 3. Special meetings may be held any time at the call of the president or a majority of the Board, provided that notice thereof is given to all trustees and the public at least 24 hours in advance of the special meeting.

    Section 4. A quorum at any meeting shall consist of 5 or more members.

    Section 5. Order of Business for regular meetings shall include, but not be limited to, the following items:
  • roll call
  • reading and approval of minutes of previous meeting
  • communications and public comment
  • director's report
  • financial report and approval of expenditures
  • committee reports
  • old business
  • new business
  • adjournment
Section 6. An agenda for the board meetings shall be prepared by the Librarian in cooperation with the Board President.

    Section 7. All meetings of the Board are open to members of the public. Non-board members who wish to address the Board should request a place on the agenda not later than 24 hours before the time established for the meeting. The request should be directed to the Librarian, President or Secretary.

    Section 8. Robert's Rules of Order shall govern in the parliamentary procedure of the Board.

Article IV: Committees
    Section 1.
The Board may appoint such special committees as may be needed from time to time.

Article V: Librarian
     Section 1.
The Librarian shall be the executive director of the policies adopted by the Board. Among his/her responsibilities shall be
  • a.) to select the library materials: books, magazines, pamphlets, records, microforms, etc.
  • b.) to maintain and operate the physical plant
  • c.) to recruit, train, and assign members of the Library staff.
  • d.) to inform the board continually and completely regarding the finances, public services, physical plant, personnel, collection, and other developments, changes, and problems of the Library.
Section 2. The librarian shall be in attendance at all meetings of the Board except those at which his/her tenure or salary is to be discussed or decided.

Article VI: Amendments to Bylaws
    Section 1.
Amendments to these bylaws may be adopted at any regular meeting of the board, provided that notice of proposed amendments be given to all members of the Board in advance of the meeting.

Adopted by the board of Trustees:
July 7, 1982
Last reviewed,
August 30, 2005
September 2008

    Mission Statement
The Belle Plaine Community Library Serves its constituency as an information and resource center for patrons of all ages with varied needs and interests.

Adopted by the board of Trustees"
November 1996
Last reviewed August 2005.
September 2008

Board of Trustees Duties and Responsibilities

Member, Board of Trustees

General Description of Duties and Responsibilities:
In volunteer capacity, a Library Board of Trustee works as a team member to help set direction for the municipal service provided by the library. A Trustee governs the expenditures of the library and is responsible for library assets.

Essential Duties:
  • Governs the expenditures of the library
  • Is responsible for library assets
  • Advocates for the library in the community and advocate for the community as a member of the library board.
  • Reports to and cooperates with other public officials, boards
  • Plans for the future of the library
  • Assists in the preparation of and seeking adequate support for the annual budget
  • Monitors and evaluates the overall effectiveness of the library.
  • Sets policies
  • HIres and evaluates the director
Performance Expectatins:

  • Expends time and effort to learn and do the job
  • Faithfully attends library board meetings
  • Attends board development workshops
  • Attends appropriate regional, state conferences
  • Reads pertinent literature about library services and fovernance of the library
  • Defends intellectual freedom
For More Information, see also:
  • Belle Plaine City Code: Chapter 11
  • Board of Trustees Bylaws
  • Iowa Library Trustee's Handbook, 1998
ALA Document:
Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

3.Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

5. A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Suggested content for Administration and Governance policies:

  • Local Library Ordinance
  • Board Bylaws
  • Conflict of Interest/ incompatible offices
  • Trustee recruitment and orientation
  • Trustee education
  • ALA documents
  • Mission statement
  • Any planning documents
This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.