Becoming a Member of the Library Board
The Public Library Act defines the governance of public libraries in Ontario. According to the Act, a person is qualified to be appointed as a member of a board who is:
- a member of the appointing council
- at least eighteen years old
- a Canadian citizen
- a resident of the municipality for which the board is established
- is not employed by the board or by the municipality.
The appointing council shall not appoint more of its own members to a board than the number that is one less than a majority of the Board.
The City of Thunder Bay's website contains information about Board appointments, as well as an application form.
For additional information about public library governance, check out the Ontario Library Boards' Association's Cut to the Chase document.
Thunder Bay Public Library Board Job Description
Public Library Boards are governing boards, legal corporations with the authority to make policy and to govern the Library’s affairs under the Public Libraries Act, RSO 1990, c. P.44.
A board’s duty is to provide comprehensive, effective and efficient public library service that reflects the community’s needs and builds community capacity.
The stakeholders of today’s libraries expect strong leadership. Consequently, modern governance must reach beyond ongoing budget oversight and a regular strategic planning exercise to embrace new ideas, and forge strong relationships that will support the library in its Vision, Purpose and Values.
Responsibilities of the Library Board
The responsibilities of the Thunder Bay Public Library Board are to:
Set the vision, mission, values and, strategic direction for the Library through strategic planning techniques, determining a strategy map to reach those goals
- Make policies within the framework of legislation and regulations
- Oversee the library’s finances in accordance with public accounting principles and requirements and municipal budget policy and procedures
- Monitor overall effectiveness of the Library in meeting community needs in an efficient and responsive manner and evaluate progress on the strategic plan
- Hire and evaluate a qualified Chief Executive Officer to implement the strategic plan and to manage the daily operations of the Library.
The Library Board has the authority to act on behalf of the library. Individual board members have no authority to act on their own. The board speaks with “one voice.”
Responsibilities of a Board Member
As a member of a Library Board, a member must act honestly and in good faith and in the best interests of the Library. This mean the interests of the library take precedence over personal interests or those of any group with which the member is associated and or may favour.
Board members must uphold and conduct him/herself in accordance with the Thunder Bay Public Library Workplace Harassment Prevention Policy. This policy states that Thunder Bay Public Library believes that it is the right of all employees, Board members, volunteers and any person having a relationship with the Library to be treated with dignity and respect. The Library is committed to providing a working environment which promotes mutual respect, provides equal opportunities and is free from harassment.
Along with the governance, legal and fiscal roles, Library Board members are expected to support and participate in community engagement by:
Sustaining the Library as an essential community service
Advocate the lLbrary’s role in the community
Maintain an open dialogue with the community
Build strong relationships with municipal council
Be aware of the municipal planning context
Develop strategic partnerships with community groups and leaders.
In order to fulfill the above responsibilities, Thunder Bay Public Library requires a well-rounded Library Board with competent, experienced members. The Board should also reflect the diversity of the City and the surrounding communities that it serves. The member’s job is not an easy one: it requires the ability to work towards a vision and to think in broad, future oriented terms while maintaining a commitment to move vision to reality. This requires understanding and discussing the philosophical aspects of library service while implementing the necessary governance measures to achieve desired services.
Each member must uphold the overall vision, purpose, mission and values of the Library while acting strategically in the best interests of the public good.
Competencies & Qualifications
The core competencies and qualifications for a Thunder Bay Public Library Director are:
Belief that the public Library provides a unique and essential service to all citizens
Ability to seek and listen to input from all stakeholders
Ability to approach people and problems with an open mind
Ability to actively participate in discussion and deliberation and to attain positive outcomes; and
Time and energy
Recommended Knowledge and Skills
Direct experience with local groups related to the library
Other board experience
Knowledge and skills related to corporate and/or small businesses e.g. information, organization, management, finance
Knowledge and skills in one or more of the following: finance, accounting, public relations, architecture, engineering, education and literacy
The Library Board holds 7 regular monthly meetings a year. The time commitment includes preparation time to read and consider reports and other information on Library systems and public trends. Board meetings are generally two to three hours in length and held in a an accessible boardroom/location.
Board members are also required to participate on a variety of committees of the board. These are established to deal with specific matters such as the evaluation of the CEO, recruitment and/or evaluation etc.
Also, Board members are encouraged to represent the Library on external bodies and committees FOPL (Federation of Public LIbraries) etc, if possible.
Time commitments may vary.
Library Board members are not compensated for time required to participate in the above activities.
Further Questions & Queries?
We encourage you to contact the Board Chair by calling 807-684-6803 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org