Responsibilities of the board regarding library employees

Q: The Library Act states that the board may hire and dismiss employees, enter into collective agreements with employees and set the terms of their employment, including fixing their remuneration and duties.  It is my understanding that we are responsible only for the library director, and the director is responsible for all other employees, including remuneration and duties.  Can you please explain?

A:  The Library Act provides that the Library Board is the corporate entity that is responsible for hiring and firing all employees, including the Director.  The key word here is “responsible”.  This simply means the Board is the employer.  That’s not to suggest that the Board performs all the human resources tasks for a library – it only means that they are responsible for those tasks.  It would be neither appropriate nor feasible for a Board to take on the day to day operations of the library.  In practice, they hire the Director and delegate their authority to the Director for all the positions below that.  The Board takes on the task of hiring the Director because there is no higher authority within the library to whom they can delegate this task. This is the basis upon which virtually all organizations operate; delegated authority. How this type of information/understanding is shared with the Board/Trustees might be through Board policies, procedures or guidelines. (Thank you to the Libraries and Literacy Branch for interpretation of the Library Act)

Forwarding the BCLTA Bulletin

Q:  When I forward the Bulletin to my board, some of them do not receive it in the original format.  Why is that happening?

A:  When your board chair, library director or BCLTA liaison forwards the Bulletin, some trustees may not receive it in its original formatting if their email is set up to convert HTML documents to plain text.  If this is happening to you, remember that the latest issue of the Bulletin is always available on our website under the "What's New" section. Click on "BCLTA Bulletin" or simply bookmark the page to forward current or back issues directly at www.bclta.ca/bclta-bulletin.

Email voting

Q:  Is email voting permissable for library boards?

A:  Email voting is perfectly acceptable as long as it is stipulated in the bylaws or has been adopted as board policy. Each library board can develop their own email voting policy as they see fit.  However, the action should be approved by the board in advance:  for example, at the next meeting, or, depending upon the bylaws (in the case of library associations), it might require a member vote e.g. at the next AGM.