Trustee Tuesday: Happy New Year!

New Year, Renewed Commitment
Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read
“Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.” (
The above quote is my favorite ever produced by the American Library Association. While not directly a part of the Library Bill of Rights, it has always served as a sort of ethical compass in my professional life. Something like those “Freedom isn’t free” bumper stickers. Freedom isn’t free, but its dangerous path of defense is openness to our shared humanity. Libraries are beautifully human institutions, dangerously free in that they encourage you to access opinions and perspectives that are not your own; to share space with people who are not like you in potentially fundamental and unsettling ways.
In this new year, resolve to remember that true freedom is also intellectual. Facilitate those interactions between community members that strengthen our social fabric and remind us all how good it feels to be civil to one another.
Oaths of Office Clarification
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of New York, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of …………, according to the best of my ability;” (
I have heard different ideas about Oaths and spread the word about them differently over my time at STLS. I went straight to the top (sort of) and contacted DLD to ask how often you, as a trustee, must take the Oath of Office. The Oath is taken at the start of every term – NOT the start of every year. Please forgive me those I’ve given bad information to, and YES! I totally got it right, to those who received the right information. If you are an association library, you don’t need to file the Oaths with your districts, but do keep them on file.
Resources to help you do your job
“Library trustees are responsible to the library and to the public it serves.” – Bernard Margolis
I’m fond of paraphrasing Jerry Nichols, co-author of the Handbook for Library Trustees, because he is quotable and also because he is often right. He tells people the reason an employee will fail in their job is because they didn’t know what their job was. To help you in your quest to better understand your job, my helper daughter carefully put Trustee Action Calendars in all the delivery bags today and you should be receiving them later in this week at your libraries. Additionally, I invite you to explore the following resources, attend any of the upcoming events, and just call me up if you want me to give a trustee orientation at your library.
What Every Trustee Should Know
What Every Trustee Should Know
The Critical Partnership: Public Library Trustees and Directors
The Critical Partnership: Public Library Trustees and Directors

Upcoming STLS Events

(registration still open on all of these events!)
For all upcoming events, please visit the STLS program calendar.
As ever, please contact me with questions, concerns, and ideas.
To a new year, filled with renewed comittment to serving our highest humanity and all in our community,
Margo Gustina
Trustee Consultant