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Trustee Update

"Library News You Can Use"

The Trustee Update newsletter provides information to help library trustees perform their important job well. It is published three times each year-- Spring, Summer & Fall-- and is sent to library trustees’ email addresses.

For more information about Wisconsin library law, trustee responsibilities, and library administration, or if you have questions about library advocacy, marketing, or printing Trustee Essentials, please contact Tracie Miller, SCLS Public Library Administration Consultant, at (608) 246-5612.

You can access an archived .pdf copy, or see the Table of Contents for each issue, in the Trustee Update Archive.

For more information, contact: 

Trustee Update Vol. 13, No. 1–April 2020

This issue is also available in PDF format: Vol. 13, No. 1

SCLS continues subscription to ‘Short Takes for Trustees’

SCLS has continued its subscription to Short Takes for Trustees, a series of  10 short videos (8-10 minutes each) that explore the important role Trustees play in the governance of  their libraries. Utilizing an interview format, United for Libraries Executive Director Sally Gardner Reed covers topics such as what it means to be a trustee, as well as how to set policy, how to evaluate the library director and board self-evaluation, and the ethical and parliamentary standards for boards. Topics for videos are: What it Means to be a Trustee, Board Meetings, Board Ethics, Library Advocacy, Library Policies, Strategic Planning, Working with Friends, Evaluating the Library Director, Board Self  Evaluation, and Succession Planning and New Board Orientation. To access this resource, visit The username and password was previously sent to all SCLS library directors, who can share that information with Trustees. If  your library doesn’t have this information, contact Jean Anderson.The SCLS subscription includes these additional webinars:

  • Troubled Library Boards: Prevention & Survival -- What essential practices can prevent or minimize board problems? When a board does become dysfunctional, how can those involved survive and create change?
  • With Friends Like These -- Based on her recently published book The Good, the Great, and the Unfriendly: A Librarian’s Guide to Working Effectively with Friends, Sally Gardner Reed discusses ways to work with Friends who go rogue, how to bring them back in line, and what to do when nothing works.
  • Merging Your Library’s Friends Group and Foundation-- Presenters Peter Pearson and Sue Hall discuss the difference in the roles of  Friends and foundations and identify areas where there can be conflict -- and present strategies for minimizing conflict. They also address the question, “When is it time for the two organizations to merge?”

Short Takes is available to all library Trustees and staff  in the South Central Library System.

SCLS libraries record more than $1 million in service to adjacent county residents

As confirmed by 2019 annual report data, South Central Library System (SCLS) member libraries provided circulation services to residents in adjacent counties valued at $1,023,890, a signifi-cant portion of  which will be requested as reimbursement from adjacent counties. Chapter 43.12(2) of  Wisconsin State Statute grants authority for libraries to bill adjacent counties (within and out-side SCLS) for serving residents in those counties.   The requests for reimbursement can only be made for those residents in adja-cent counties who live in cities, villages, or towns that don’t have a library and are thus charged a county library tax.   For 2019, SCLS will submit reim-bursement requests for $776,644 at the request of  member libraries. Some libraries choose not to request reimbursement for smaller amounts, county reimburse-ment for municipalities in more than one county is handled through in-county reimbursement, and Adams and Portage Counties (both consolidated county library systems) cannot be billed by li-braries in adjacent counties, and they do not request reimbursement for providing services to residents in adjacent counties. These reimbursements are for services libraries have already provided, and they are stipulated in statute to ensure that residents statewide have access to the public library that is most convenient for them to use. These reimbursement requests are due to county clerks (or their designees) by July 1, 2020, and payment from counties must be made by March 1, 2021.

SCLS resources support library trustees

The job of  the library trustee is everchanging, often responding to new and unexpected local issues that can challenge even the most experienced individuals. But the South Central Library System (SCLS) has resources available to help make the job of  library trustee easier. To begin, check out the SCLS website ( for a host of  resources developed just for trustees. Specifically, you can find easy access to:

  • Trustee Essentials and other resources from the Division for Libraries and Technology,
  • Trustee Training Week,
  • Short Takes for Trustees, which is 10 short videos from United for Libraries address the job of  a Trustee,
  • Trustee Training Overview,
  • Self-evaluation tools for trustees,
  • Links to Chapter 43, Wisconsin Library Law, and
  • SCLS fact sheets.

Be sure to bookmark this page and make it your first stop to find answers related to your position as a library trustee.

Hold the date forTrustee Training Week

Planning for Trustee Training Week 2020 is underway, with programs scheduled to take place Aug. 24-28. The one-hour webinars will be held each day that week from noon to 1 p.m., and recorded for later viewing.   More information about program topics and presenters will be available soon, but in the meantime you can view past programs at