Goffstown Public Library Board of Trustees Mission Statement
The Library Board of Trustees is the governing board of the Goffstown Public Library and primary advocates for its mission and values. The Library Board of Trustees represents the community to the Library and the Library to the community.
Meeting Schedules and Expectations
The full Library Board of Trustees meets twice each month, on the first and third Wednesdays with a start time of 6:30 p.m. The meetings are open to all members of the public, and are therefore "Posted" by the Director through the town hall. Since we work on behalf of the members of the community, it is critical that we follow the law to the letter in terms of what we are doing and why. Please be sure to read the section on Right to Know Law.
In order for a full board meeting to be legal, a quorum of the board must be present. If for any reason you must miss a meeting, or be delayed in arriving for a scheduled board meeting, please contact the Chair and the library Director as far in advance as possible in the event a meeting must be rescheduled to accommodate a quorum. (A quorum is considered 50% + 1 of the members)
Every attempt is made to keep the meetings efficient and the agenda reasonable for one evening's worth of work. In order to do this, Committees are assigned by the Chair. Committees typically meet once a month in advance of the full board meeting to work on specific tasks and bring recommendations forward to the full board. Committee meetings are also open to all members of the public and must be posted in advance. Again, your attendance is critical to the efficiency of the overall board.
Minutes are kept at all meetings - full board and Committee. Committee members must generate their own minutes and submit those to the Director and the Chair to be distributed to the full board and become part of the public record. At full board meetings, a paid recorder takes minutes and has them available to the members and the public within 5 business days for review. These minutes are read, corrected, and accepted as a matter of business at the next board meeting.
Board Packets are prepared by the Library Director and the Chair in advance of each full board meeting. Background material on items of discussion and action are included, as well as financial and usage statistics, the previous month's minutes, and any minutes from Committees. It is important to read board packets prior to the monthly meeting. If you're new to the board, it may take a while to understand the data and conversations, but eventually the lines will fall into place.
As members of the Board of Trustees, we are each separate individuals with distinct opinions and perspectives. We are empowered to act on behalf of the Library only by action of a vote of the board; as individuals we have no authority or power. Your vote is your voice as a board member. Votes of the majority carry the decision of the board. Alternate members of the Library Board of Trustees are welcome to voice opinions and concerns, but they will only cast a vote in the absence of an elected member of the board.
If you have items of interest to the board or concerns regarding the library, it is your responsibility to make mention to the Chair to request a slot on a meeting agenda. It is at the Chair's discretion to comply or defer.
If a concern arises which is either of a specific personnel issue or of a sensitive legal negotiation, the board has the authority to enter into a non-public session. There are extremely rigorous rules for entering into non-public session. See RSA 91-A:3 for the rules and process for non-public meetings.
Goffstown Public Library and Town of Goffstown
The people of Goffstown elect members to sit on various boards. The Goffstown Public Library Board of Trustees (LBOT) is a separate legal entity from other town departments. The Library Board of Trustees is a governing board responsible for all library decisions on behalf of the people of Goffstown. We are a distinct and equal entity to the Board of Select Board. As a matter of practice, we work in concert with the Board of Select Board, the Goffstown Town Administrator, and other Goffstown Department Heads.
The Library Board of Trustees is responsible for the oversight of the Goffstown Public Library and its holdings; the Library Board of Trustees is responsible to oversee the hiring of the Director of the Library, and through that Director all the other employees of the Library.
The Library Board of Trustees is responsible to submit a budget proposal to the town through the Board of Select Board and the Budget Committee to a vote to the townspeople. The Library Board of Trustees are then responsible to expend those town monies approved in the March election (our Approved Budget).
The Library Board of Trustees is fully responsible for:
- policies relating to the decision-making of the board and, through the Director relating to the operation of the library,
- budget and trust fund oversight,
- hiring or dismissal of Library Director,
- evaluation of Library Director, and through the Director, approval of staff evaluations,
- and advocacy for the library.
Most of the duties of the Library Board of Trustees are prescribed by the state law of New Hampshire in RSA 202-A. Please see the RSAs for the full text and legal requirements.
Legal and Fiduciary Roles and Responsibilities of a Goffstown Public Library Trustee
The role of the Library Trustee in Goffstown is heavily weighted in watching the town budget cycle and the private donations made to sustain the library. This may appear overwhelming and confusing, but there's help along the path, and it becomes easier. A few main points:
Funding Sources: Town, Fines, Gifts, Interest, Grants
From our RSA 202-A:4 Maintenance. - "Any city or town having a public library shall annually raise and appropriate a sum of money sufficient to provide and maintain adequate public library service therein or to supplement funds otherwise provided."
In other words, the town is responsible to set aside some money through taxes to run the library. That's our relationship with the Selectmen, the town Budget Committee, and ultimately the tax rate and town vote. This is the bulk of the Goffstown Public Library funds each year. The budget is voted on in March and we are notified of the specific amount of money we will have to work with for the current year; we begin planning for the next year's budget in June. Each month, we watch how the money is applied to our needs. The budget is something we look at all twelve months of the year.
The annual operating budget (funds received from the town) is kept in a lapsing account. In other words, any money leftover at the end of that fiscal year does not remain in the library's account, it returns to the general fund of the Town of Goffstown.
The library charges small fees for non-resident cards, use of the printers or copiers, and of course for the replacement of lost or stolen books. That money is also part of the overall accounting of the running of the library.
Big Items - like a Building Expansion - or major expenses necessary to the library building or major operations, go into a separate budget process, CIP (Capital Improvement Plan). Just like a home budget must look ahead to anticipate a new roof or an addition to the house, so must the town. The CIP budget is a 1,2,5,10 year planning tool which tries to balance out the tax burden by strategically planning big expense needs.
We also have gifts given to the library from grants, townspeople, or businesses. Gifts are all considered non-lapsing. That is, when those monies are given to the Library, they are not given back to the town at the end of the year; they remain with the library for future purposes.
From our RSA 202-A:4-c Trustees' Authority to Accept and Expend Gifts. - "…any town at an annual meeting may adopt an article authorizing… the public library trustees to apply for, accept and expend…unanticipated money from the state, federal or other governmental unit or a private source which becomes available during the fiscal year."
In other words, we need town permission to accept gifts [or "unanticipated money"]. We have already asked that permission, but the law continues that if the money is more than $5,000. (five thousand dollars) we have to ask again. There are regulations for a Special Hearing in that case. All this is covered in the RSA, and the Director should be aware of the details of how to do this. There is a follow-up section on receiving property (land, a building, an antique car or something of value). This has essentially the same rule.
Gifts may be given as "Restricted" or "Unrestricted" to the library. A Restricted gift is given with specific, stated intentions by the donor…for example, "I am donating $100 to the library for the purpose of purchasing materials about the History of Goffstown". An Unrestricted gift is one that does not have those specific intentions….for example, "I am donating $100 to the library for the library to use as it chooses".
The library has from time to time received large sums of money which have been put into CDs (Certificates of Deposit), or stocks, or savings accounts…all of which generate some interest income. As a board, we project what we think that interest will be in the coming year, and factor that number in to our budget. The income we receive in interest from the funds is likewise restricted or unrestricted, depending on the donor's intentions at the time of the donation. A current list of the GPL Funds and Holdings is in the Budget section of this packet.
The Library Director may ask permission of the Library Board of Trustees to apply for a grant from outside organizations. Grants are typically given for specific, stated goals…they are typically a challenge to improve an organization or to enhance awareness of a certain theme or idea. Grants require a separate accounting and may not be considered as a routine part of the library budget.
Lastly, from this section of the RSA 202-A:5 Status. - "Every public library shall remain forever free to the use of every resident of the town wherein it is located. "
- RSA 202 (Public Library Statutes)
- RSA 91 (Right to Know)
- Is it a Meeting? (PDF) via Right to Know Law | New Hampshire Municipal Association
All employees and LBT members need to keep any communication about the Town Meeting informational only. This means no "please support" or "make sure you vote" emails from the workplace or in your official capacity or putting signs on town property or vehicles. Additionally, Department Heads need to be keenly aware of the posts on official Town Facebook Accounts. Department Heads or designees posting to Facebook need to ensure posts comply with the electioneering laws. Additionally, sharing another Facebook post encouraging support of a specific article could be considered electioneering.
659:44-a Electioneering by Public Employees. -
- No public employee, as defined in RSA 273-A:1, IX, shall electioneer while in the performance of his or her official duties.
- No public employee shall use government property or equipment, including, but not limited to, telephones, facsimile machines, vehicles, and computers, for electioneering.
- For the purposes of this section, "electioneer" means to act in any way specifically designed to influence the vote of a voter on any question or office.
- Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Source. 2003, 172:2, eff. June 18, 2003. 2016, 176:1, eff. January 1, 2017.
Duties of Board vs Director
The board should be concerned with the overall picture of general operating and administrative policies of the library, while the Director supervises the internal management and daily operation of the library. The Director exercises professional judgment under the direction and review of the board to implement the goals, objectives, and policies set by the board. It is imperative that the board and the Director discuss issues fully in a cooperative manner and, together, determine a course of action.
Under no circumstances should the Board of Trustees or any member of the board undermine the authority of the Director.
Who’s Responsible—The Board or Library Director?
Procedure for Goffstown Public Library Director Evaluation
- The HR Committee sends the Library Director Evaluation form out to the LBOT and the Self-Evaluation form to the Library Director with a deadline for when responses are due back.
- Trustees and Library Director complete the forms.
- The Chair of the Human Resources Committee will access the replies to compile and prepare the presentation for the HR Committee. The committee Chair will also make sure that trustees' initials are included with the comments.
- The HR Committee meets to discuss the results of the Evaluations. At this meeting the score is calculated, goals for the Library Director are drafted using the Trustees comments and the Library Director's self-evaluation goals. The Evaluation Document is printed (2 copies) and first steps are documented.
- The LBOT meets to discuss the results and draft goals.
- The Chair and Vice Chair set a date to meet with the Library Director to go over the results.
- The Library Director will receive a copy of the LBOT Evaluation results and the comments before the meeting with board officers. The copy of the comments will be kept by the Library Director.
- At the meeting with the Library Director and the board officers, the results will be reviewed and the Library Director can ask questions. Draft goals will be reviewed with input from the Library Director and finalized during the review meeting to ensure that goals are realistic and feasible. The board officers will complete the Evaluation document and ensure that both copies are signed and dated.
- A signed copy of the review document will be given to the Library Director for their personnel file and a signed copy will be stored in the Trustees secured filing cabinet.
- LBOT Chair/Vice Chair will sign the employee change of status form for Director's Step increase if applicable.
Timeline for Goffstown Public Library Director Evaluation
- HR Committee sends link for Director evaluation to LBOT with deadline for completion
- HR Committee send self-evaluation form to Director with deadline for completion
- HR Committee reviews both evaluation / self-evaluation and summarizes for Board
- Board sets broad goals for HR Committee to refine
- HR Committee sets draft goals and notifies Board chair so they can set a time to meet with the Director
- HR chair prepares Director Evaluation Document prior to the chair's meeting with the Director
- Director's goals are finalized after meeting with chair; Board officers ensure copies are signed and dated
- Visit the New Hampshire Library Trustees Association (NHLTA) website (Educational Resources, Trustee Manual)
- NH Library Trustee 101 Package PDF
Committee Descriptions (Excerpted From Bylaws)
All Board members shall be assigned to at least one of the standing committees. The attendance expectations for committee meetings are the same as for monthly Board meetings.
Administrative and Finance Committee
The purpose of this committee is to monitor the fiscal activity and safeguard the legal and financial holdings of the Library and to interpret budgetary proposals and other recommendations to ensure they promote the goals of the Library. This committee also oversees regular review of operating and organizational policies.
Human Resources Committee
The purpose of this committee is to review and recommend policies pertaining to Library personnel; oversee coordination of the Director's review; review recommendations for new hires and discipline; and to provide assistance to personnel issues as needs arise.
Building and Facilities Committee
The purpose of this committee is to oversee the GPL physical assets, to review plans and proposals related to the maintenance and security of Library facilities and properties, furnishings, computers and technology infrastructure.
Ad Hoc Committee
The Chair shall appoint an ad hoc committee of one or more members for each specific purpose as the business of the Board may require. Each committee shall make a progress report to the Board at each of its regular meetings. A vote of acceptance of a final report of a committee shall be considered a vote to discharge the committee.
No committee will have other than advisory powers unless, by suitable action of the Board, it is granted specific power to act.
Each year, after the Candidate Filing period, library staff sends a questionnaire to all candidates and creates a Candidate Information Booklet featuring the details submitted. Those running for election in town are also invited to a Candidate's Night event, usually hosted by the Goffstown Lion's Club.
LBOT Leadership (Chair and Vice Chair) as Public Spokespeople
The LBOT chair and/or the vice-chair serve as the official voice of the Board of Trustees in any public forum, in person or online.
Members of the Board may speak as/for themselves in public forums but should be clear that they are speaking as themselves and not as a representative of the Board.
Hours of Operation (51/week 10 mos; 46/week 2 mos)
- Monday, Thursday, Friday (24)
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Tuesday and Wednesday (22)
9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday (5)
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Primary Programs at GPL
Ongoing throughout the year: typically one to two program events per week, per department.
Children and Youth Services
- Preschool Story Hours
- Afterschool Story Hour
- Summer Reading Programs
Young Adult Services
- After School Activities
- Evening Activities
- Senior Programs Day
- Afternoon Programs
- Home Delivery
In addition to the above, GPL staff may request permission to apply for special grant funding to supplement programming - e.g., Summer Children's Reading Program special events and resources; September Project - cross-generational special programming targeting freedom and rights in the U.S.; NH Humanities Council events for different age groups.
For the latest information, visit the Library Website Calendar.
GMILCS, Inc. is a nonprofit consortium of public and academic libraries in New Hampshire, sharing an integrated system, sharing resources and sharing experience. By sharing, we offer more to the communities we serve.
- $350,000 library system that gives us an automated circulation system, card catalog and all the web 2.0 features our community demands.
- Two full time employees employed by the consortium; a System Administrator and a Technology Librarian.
- A large discount on research database subscriptions, most we wouldn't be able to afford otherwise.
- The ability for our community members to visit the other libraries in our consortium to check out materials.
Library Board of Trustees meet the first and third Wednesday evening of every month.
Please check the online calendar for dates and times of committee meetings.
Prior to the main business meeting of the month (Week 3), you'll receive material to review in advance of the meeting. Materials will come from several sources:
- Meeting Agenda
- Monthly manifest (list of library's financial transactions by week)
- YTD library expense report (includes original appropriation, funds available, % used)
- Director's report (updates on building, staff, GMILCS, youth and adult services, statistics)
- Material to read / review (content varies each month, focuses on issues and trends)
- Income and expenses, bank statements, fund balances
Within 5 days after the meeting, you'll receive a copy of the public minutes (non-public minutes are not sent via email, are available within 72 hours). These should be reviewed prior to the next meeting so that they can be voted on.
Our minute taker cannot be present during non-public sessions; minute taking duties for non-public sessions are shared by Board members.
Between / In Addition to Meetings
In addition to reviewing minutes / packets before meetings, Board members may have preparation between Board or subcommittee meetings - materials to review or tasks to complete. Board members are also asked to be present for library programming or town events. Especially with an addition to the building being sought, it is important for members of the Board to be visible advocates for the library.
To help fund-raise for the proposed addition, a nonprofit organization, The Goffstown Public Library Foundation, was organized in 2020.
Vice-chair Kathy Coughlin is the Foundation Chair/Director.
For more information visit the Foundation website.
Supporting the Addition Project
There are things that you can do as a trustee to help promote and support the building project:
- Know the abbreviated timeline of events: 2009 purchased land, 2018 survey, 2019 Building feasibility study, 2020 Foundation was formed (501c3), 2021 Pre-construction warrant article - conceptual drawings.
- Publicly support the decision of the board majority and votes.
- Don't just say "I don't know" if asked a question you don't have the answer to. Say "I will try to find the answer and get back to you."
- Recognize that the current concept drawing was developed after years of input from past Boards and reflects the design expertise of the architect.
- Be open to public input.