Public library trustees are vital to the administration and success of public libraries, yet little research has been done on their competencies, selection processes, or development, and no research has examined trustee practices within the last decade. Little is known about the current political climate of trusteeship, or how trustees understand their roles. Currently, new legislation is shifting the selection process for appointing trustees to rest on partisan elected politicians who may have little library knowledge or grounding in the values of librarianship, such as intellectual freedom. With the passage of Kentucky’s Senate Bill 167, county judge executives may select library trustees. Subsequently, public library trusteeship may become increasingly politicized or controversial, with implications for book challenges and funding.
This interview-based study asks how administrators, politicians, and trustees understand of trustee roles, processes of selecting and training them, and factors that lead to “trust” in trustee work. This study will identify challenges and changing roles relative to trustees, and is a pilot study for a nationwide research initiative seeking to ultimately work with library administrators and trustees to design products that support best practices in selecting, training, and collaborating with diverse and inclusive library boards. This study will start by examining current library practice in a political atmosphere of increasing censorship and distrust in public organizations.
This poster will report the early findings from the study, using photographs to illustrate key points, and a variant of Morrison’s poster template to forefront the key takeaways, along with an interactive presentation narrative.