Connecting skilled individuals to board and committee opportunities in Allegheny County Libraries.
For more than a century, libraries have been gathering places for curious people. In recent years, the role of libraries in our communities has changed significantly. No longer places of “shushes”, today’s library goers borrow tools or cooking equipment, enjoy live readings or music, use a computer or take a tutoring session, meditate, join a book club or participate in a variety of classes.
It is essential that library leadership – the Board of Trustees and volunteer committees – reflect the richness and diversity of our communities. That is why we’ve created The ACLA Talent Bank, where local libraries can identify, connect with, and engage interested and talented community members who want to contribute to their local library.
We hope that once you’ve reviewed the information below, you’ll be interested in submitting your own expression of interest.
ACLA Talent Bank Webinar: March 10, at 6:30-7:15pm.
Join Marilyn Jenkins, Executive Director of ACLA, and Michael Kumer, CEO of Boards Made-to-Order, for a brief informational session that will introduce you to some of the basic expectations of board and committee members. Bring your own questions, too. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. The session will be recorded. We will update this page with directions for access after March 10
By submitting an expression of interest your information will be sent to your local library location for consideration. Your library (which you select in the form below) will then reach out to discuss opportunities for board or committee service.
As you might imagine, several factors are taken into consideration when appointing people to any board or committee. It is important to know that completing an expression of interest does not guarantee placement.
The Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA) is a federated library system of 46 public libraries delivering service in more than 70 locations throughout Allegheny County. Member libraries include the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP), which has 19 locations, and 45 other libraries and their branches located outside the City of Pittsburgh. Each library is independent and has its own governance structure; as a consortium they share a countywide catalog; jointly offer downloadable books, audios, and videos as well as online databases; and provide a diverse calendar of programming events. Internet access and free Wi-Fi services are available at all county libraries. ACLA’s coordination expands the resources of local libraries beyond what they could accomplish individually. Read more about ACLA’s impact.
While libraries across Allegheny County have varied governance structures, the majority of libraries operate as 501(c)(3) organizations. Their board structure is defined in the organization’s bylaws and articles of incorporation. The other typical structure is libraries that operate as a department of municipal government. In those cases, the boards may be advisory or governing, depending on local statute.
The size of a library board is typically proscribed by State Code and Regulations that allow for 5-7 members for libraries serving a single municipality, or 7-9 members for libraries serving multiple municipalities. In these cases, the funding municipality(ies) appoint(s) the board members through a collaborative process with the libraries themselves. A handful of libraries were “grandfathered” in under different board structures, having been established prior to 1960. They may have a process that allows for the board itself to appoint its members.
Library boards also have a range of subcommittees. Most notably, there are finance and audit committees, governance committees, and perhaps, fundraising committees. Local libraires may have other committees as well. Often, serving on a library committee is a wonderful way to get to know the library (and for the library to get to know you). Committee service can lead to board service as positions become available. Board and committee service is on a voluntary basis with no financial compensation. Each library sets its own meeting schedule and expectations. However, board and committee members can attest to how rewarding this service is. Libraries depend on dedicated and passionate individuals to represent their communities’ best interests.
To gain a better understanding of what may be required, here are the top five requirements of library board members:
- Prepare for, attend, and conscientiously participate in board meetings. If someone won’t even attend and participate in meetings, why should that person be on the board at all?
- Serve as an ambassador for the library and leverage personal connections, networks, and resources to secure the financial resources and partnerships necessary for the library to advance its mission. Board members should talk about the library as they move about the community and talk with colleagues and friends. Spread the word about the library’s great programs and services! Think about who you know and with what groups you are involved – what are the connections that could help the library? This might be materials, program ideas, new expertise, or even funding.
- Make a personal financial contribution that is meaningful to you. Very few nonprofits stipulate an exact amount or even a minimum. Every person’s financial situation is different. The point is to make an annual gift. Foundations and other funders expect 100% giving from boards. If board members don’t give, why should anyone else?
- Follow the organization’s bylaws, policies, and board resolutions.You may not always agree with what others decide, but you need to support whatever decisions the board as a body has made.
- Sign an annual conflict-of-interest disclosure statement and update it during the year if necessary. Disclose potential conflicts before meetings and actual conflicts during meetings. This is a legal requirement.
Expression of Interest Form
Please note that any information provided will be used solely for The ACLA Talent Bank and will not be shared or distributed in any other way.