Governance Principles

The Camrose Public Library Board shall be formed in accordance with the Alberta Libraries Act and shall be hereinafter referred to as the “Board”.

As outlined by the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, all persons in Canada have a legal right to intellectual freedom. The Camrose Public Library employees and employers are responsible for developing and maintaining that freedom. The role of the library is to provide the resources for intellectual freedom to thrive, allowing free expression and recognizing difference.

The Board is the governing, authoritative body whose main focus is the outward vision and long-term goals of the Camrose Public Library. The Board’s priority is to determine the Library’s Vision, Mission, Beliefs, Goals, and Objectives and to monitor its performance. The Governance Policy defines and guides appropriate relationships between the Library’s board and its director. The role of the Board is to collectively make decisions, encouraging diversity while maintaining compliance legally and with their policies. The Board is not concerned with managing the day-to-day operations of the Library. The Committees (Finance, Personnel, and Policy) are in place to assist the Board to function best; not to advise or assist staff in doing their job.

The Board leads through policy, using a framework which defines four categories of Board Policy:  Vision, Mission, Beliefs, Goals, and Objectives; Governance Process; Board – Director Relationship; and Director’s Parameters.

Regular monitoring, assessment, and education will be done to ensure governing is being conducted properly by both existing and new members of the Board. To ensure commitment of Board members, discipline for matters such as attendance, governance principles, respect of roles, and support for Board decisions will be given.

The Board has one employee, the Director, who is accountable to the Board as a whole. The Board guides the Director to ethically and prudently determine the means to achieve the expected Vision, Mission, Beliefs, Goals, and Objectives. Upon approval of Board policy, the Director is empowered to make all further decisions immediately and automatically. The Board monitors the Director solely on the basis of organizational performance and written policies.

Policy development suggestions from the Board trustees or the Director are taken under consideration by the Board. Any new policy or changes in policies should be done at a single board meeting, with one motion. For reference purposes, the Board’s policy manual and old policy copies (including those eliminated, changed, amended, or approved) should be maintained and filed with Alberta Public Library Services.   

Job Descriptions for Library Trustees

Role of Board and Trustees

The Board shall meet and deliberate at specific, regular times as determined by its members and in accordance with the Alberta Libraries Act. At minimum, the Board will meet four times per year, with a quorum of the Board consisting of those members present and voting.

The job of the Board is to achieve the library’s Vision, Mission, Beliefs, Goals, and Objectives and to be an advocate for the Camrose Public Library. The Board also forms the foundation for policy development which defines the governance process, the Director’s parameters, the Board-Director relationship and the long range benefits. It is the Board’s role to create procedures providing for the orientation and ongoing development of trustees as they fulfill their fiduciary duties.

The Board must comply with legislation to develop an approved three to five year plan of service, a budget, an annual report, and audited financial statements. Existing policies should be reviewed or revised on a three year cycle, and new policies should be formulated when necessary. The Board defines payments and reimbursement of expenses for meetings, approved conferences, and workshops (see Finance Policy) and recognizes the contributions of long serving staff, volunteers, and trustees. Each year the Board elects a chairperson during the organizational meeting.

Role of Board Chair

The role of the Chair is primarily to ensure the integrity of the Board’s process and secondarily, to represent the Board to outside parties.

The Chair upholds the Board’s own policies and rules as well as those legitimately imposed from those outside the organization. The Chair also chairs Board meetings with all the commonly accepted powers including ruling and recognizing, but has no authority to make decisions beyond policies created by the Board. The Chair must be consistent with the Board’s positions, policies (Governance Process and Board-Director Relationship policies), and resolutions when making decisions on behalf of the Board or when representing the Board to outside parties. It is the responsibility of the Chair to communicate with any member of the staff, Board or public when there are complaints or grievances regarding the Director. The Board, not the Chair, has authority to supervise/direct the Director. The Chair must also restrict meeting agendas and discussion and keep deliberations timely, fair, orderly, and thorough. The Chair acts as a voting ex-officio member of all committees. In the Chair’s absence, the Vice-Chair will be responsible for fulfilling the Chair’s duties.

Role of the Vice-Chair

In the Chair’s absence, the Vice-Chair will be responsible for fulfilling the Chair’s duties. The Vice-Chair is also responsible for:

  • Annual trustee orientation
  • Annual board evaluation
  • Typically acts as ex-officio of the Finance Committee
  • Undertakes any other duties assigned by the Chair

Role of the Recorder

The role of the Recorder is to record the minutes of all board meetings.

Finance Committee

The role of the Finance Committee is to supervise the financial affairs of the Library and keep the Board informed on the financial matters. The Finance Committee reviews the financial statements of the organization and compares it to the budget, making any necessary recommendations to the Board. Reviewing capital expenditure and establishing financial controls are both the responsibility of the Finance Committee.

Personnel Committee

The role of the Personnel Committee is to work with the Board on making recommendations for recruitment, compensation, performance evaluation, or any other human resources matters relating to the Director.

Policy Committee

The role of the Policy Committee is to create, develop, discuss, and review policy that guides the functioning of the Library. 

Code of Conduct

The Board and its members shall operate in an ethical and professional manner, representing the Board in a positive light and taking no private action that will compromise the Board and its decisions.

Board trustees shall work in an ethical manner, avoiding personal or financial benefits at the expense of other library users. The trustees should attempt to work harmoniously with the Board, respecting the structure and views of the institution and Board members to work in the best interests of the institution. Confidentiality of library records is crucial and trustees must limit their trusteeship role to policy governance and advocacy.

Trustees are also expected to take responsibility for their personal development through continuing education opportunities and participation in provincial and national library organizations. Trustees should support intellectual freedom in the selection of library material. When a trustee is delegated by the Board to attend a specific function, those expenses reimbursed by any other group may not be claimed from the Camrose Public Library.

Annual Agenda

To accomplish its job outputs consistent with Board policies, the Board will follow an annual agenda.  The agenda will focus Board attention on governance priorities using a systematic approach.

Annually, the Board will engage in the following activities which include the following:

  • approval of budget,
  • Board orientation and education,
  • Director’s evaluation,
  • election of officers and Executive Committee,
  • ensure the submission of the annual grant application,
  • organizational meeting,
  • policy evaluation, review, & revision,
  • review and approve of audited statements, PRL’s Annual Report, and the Annual Reports for PRL’s Library Service Points; review the Plan of Service, Board-Director Relationship, book allotment, Director’s Parameters, Finance Schedules, governance process, investments, Vision, Mission, Beliefs, Goals, and Objectives.

Board-Director Relationship

All authority delegated from the Board to staff is delegated through the Director so all authority and accountability of staff, as far as the Board is concerned, is considered to be the authority and accountability of the Director.  The Board will establish governance policies and will delegate the implementation and subsidiary procedure development to the Director.

The Board will:

  • Direct the Director to achieve defined results, through Vision, Mission, Beliefs, Goals, and Objectives polices as established.
  • Limit the latitude of the Director in practices, methods, conduct and other means to achieve the Vision, Mission, Beliefs, Goals, and Objectives only through establishment of policies.
  • Authorize the Director to establish all further procedures, recommend new policy to the Board, make all decisions, and take all actions as long as they represent a reasonable interpretation of the Board policies.
  • Monitor the Director’s performance and it will be considered synonymous with organizational performance as a whole.  Consequently, the Director’s job contributions can be stated as performance in only two areas:
    • accomplishment of the Board policies on Vision, Mission, Beliefs, Goals, and Objectives,
    • compliance with the Board policies.
  • Monitor organizational compliance with a given Board policy in one or more of three ways:
    • Internal report:  Disclosure of compliance information to the Board from the Director.
    • External report:  Discovery of compliance information by a disinterested, external auditor, specialist, or consultant who is selected by and reports directly to the Board. Reports must assess executive performance only against policies of the Board, not those of the external party unless the Board has previously indicated that party’s opinion to be the standard.
    • Direct Inspection:  Discovery of compliance by a Board trustee, a committee, or the Board through inspection of documents, activities or circumstances as directed by the Board which allows a “prudent person” test of policy compliance.

Director’s Parameters

The Director shall establish all further procedures within the Board’s policies on Mission, Vision, Beliefs, Goals and Objectives to guide the day to day operation of the library.

Approval Date: May 2013

Amended: June 21, 2016 / June 18, 2019

Revision/Review Date: June 2022

Approval Signature: _____Elizabeth Luck___________________________________________

                                    Camrose Public Library Board Chair