Board President Briefing | February 2023

Trustee Education Requirement

Library Trustees are now required to track and report their continuing education. Each Trustee is required to participate in two hours of training annually according to Section 260-D of State Education Law.

Each Library must also adopt a policy that dictates how the Trustee Education Requirement will be implemented. Here is a draft version of the policy you can customize for your library: Sample Trustee Education Policy.docx.

The Division of Library Development has a helpful Trustee Education Requirements Frequently Asked Questions page that may help.

2023 Trustee Workshop Schedule

Workshop Date Time Link
State Aid for Library Construction Info Session January 31, 2023 4:00 PM Recording
Roles and Responsibilities for New Trustees February 6, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Open Meetings Law with Kirsten O’Neill, Committee on Open Government February 21, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Legal Compliance for Libraries March 9, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustee Handbook Book Club: The Board-Director Relationship April 18, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Financial Planning & Budgeting June 20, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Budgeting Q&A with Ron and Kelly July 17, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Strategic Planning August 15, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Access & Justice October 17, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Financing & Managing Construction Projects December 19, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Click here for a full list of Trustee Education Workshops on our LibCal Calendar .

Recorded Trustee Workshops

Viewing recorded workshops counts towards the two-hour requirement as well:

Question of the Week: Trustee Training Requirement

Question One: Do independent Treasurers of Public Libraries need to comply with New York Education Law, Section 260-D, by receiving two hours of training annually?

Good question! From the way Section 260-D is written, "...each member, elected or appointed, of a board of trustees of a public, free association or Indian library shall be required to complete a minimum of two hours of trustee education annually..." it appears only trustees are required. While Treasurers of Public Library Boards are considered officers of the corporation and must take an Oath of Office, they are still independent of the Board itself. They are appointed by the board but are not formally elected and cannot vote on motions. Because of this independence, I would say that the requirements from Section 260-D do not extend to independent Treasurers.

Association Library Treasurers are typically different. They are members of the board and would need to complete the two hours of continuing education annually.

Question Two: If a new trustee is elected and begins their term on July 1, will they need to have the 2-hours of training within their first six months on the Board?

This question is a bit difficult to answer right now. The way the question is written on the Annual Report asks for the training completed during the "last calendar year." This would mean, yes, the Trustee who was appointed in July would need to complete two hours of Trustee Training before December 31. However, not "Ron Opinion," if they could not complete the CE requirements in the first six months of their term, I would assume that the library could add a note on their annual report to justify that they have not been a trustee for a full year and will have the two hours complete before the start of the second year of their term.

Question Three: Can the costs for complying with the trustee education requirements be charged to the library?

Yes. Modest and reasonable costs incurred by a trustee in complying with the trustee education requirements may be charged to the library if there is board approved policy. All such costs must be approved by the board of trustees. The State Library recommends that the library’s trustee education policy and procedures provide information on this topic. The Trustee Handbook recommends that 1% of the library’s budget should be dedicated to continuing education.

Luckily, all the Trustee training offered by the OWWL Library System and the Trustee Handbook Book Club is free and online.

Question Four: Does the NY Anti-Harassment Training count towards the two hours of education for Trustees?

No. While we have received several legal opinions that Trustees are required to take the anti-harassment training required by New York because they are the employer of the Library Director, the anti-harassment training is not a training that would be compliant with the law.

The subjects that do count would be, "financial oversight, accountability, fiduciary responsibilities and the general powers and duties of a library trustee."

Question Five: What Trustee Workshops is the OWWL Library System offering this year?

So far, on our 2023 calendar, we have 13 hours of Trustee Training scheduled. I'm also available to attend Board Meetings or regional meet-ups if there is a specific topic you would like your board to discuss.
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