Library Board of Trustees Bylaws

East Lansing Public Library Board of Trustees
Bylaws and Manual
FINAL March 1, 2023


I.1   The legal authority of the Library Board of Trustees is established by the Charter of the City of East Lansing.

I.2   The Library Board of Trustees is a policymaking board authorized to:

  • Adopt bylaws and rules for the board's governance.
  • Control the building and grounds of the library.
  • Control the expenditures of all funds credited to the library fund.
  • Appoint a library director.
  • Adopt an annual budget.
  • Remove the library director.
  • Adopt rules and regulations regarding the use of the library.
  • Exclude from the use of the library anyone who willfully violates the Board's rules and regulations.
  • Delegate authority to the director.


II.1   The officers shall be as follows:
Vice President

II.2   The nomination of the officers shall occur at the June meeting. The election of the officers shall take place at the regular July meeting of the board of trustees.

II.3   The Term of office is one year, or until their successors are elected.

II.4   Duties of the President
The president of the library board shall:

  • Preside at all meetings of the board of trustees, following the proper order of business as hereinafter provided.
  • Appoint all special committees.
  • Call special meetings as may herein be provided.
  • As a member of the board, the president is entitled to a vote on any question.
  • Perform other duties generally associated with the duties of a presiding officer or by any action of the board of trustees.
  • Coordinate the annual evaluation of the Director of the library.

II.5   Duties of the Vice President
The vice president of the library board shall:

  • Perform the duties of the President in the absence of that officer and such other duties as the president or board may direct.

II.6   Duties of the Secretary
The secretary of the board shall:

  • Be responsible for any correspondence between the trustees and other organizations or members of the community.
  • In the absence of the Executive Assistant to the Director, the secretary is responsible for taking the minutes of the meeting.
  • Perform the duties of the president and the vice president in the absence of those officers and such other duties as the board may direct.

II.7   Duties of the Executive Assistant to the Director
The Executive Assistant to the Director shall perform the following duties for the board of trustees but is neither an officer nor a voting member of the board:

  • To record the minutes of the proceedings of all regular and special meetings of the library board.
  • To keep or cause to be kept a record of the proceedings of all regular and special meetings of the library board.
  • To cause to be printed the proposed and approved minutes of all regular and special meetings of the board of trustees in accordance with the time frame as required by law.
  • To cause such minutes to be open and available for public inspection as required by law.
  • To post public notice of all regular and special meetings of the board of trustees; to send out proper notice of all regular and special meetings to members of the board.
  • To conduct the official correspondence for the board of trustees unless otherwise ordered.
  • To prepare and send out board meeting packets at least three business days in advance of the meeting.
  • To prepare and make available copies of all materials needed for the conducting of business at the monthly meetings of the Board of Trustees.

II.8   Appointment of Library Board of Trustee members
Library Board of Trustee members are appointed by the City Council of East Lansing per the East Lansing City charter. Board members are appointed for five-year terms and may serve two full terms. Applications for the library board of trustees may be submitted at any time.

A subcommittee of the library board made up of the president, another board member and the city council liaison will review applications and interview applicants when there is a vacancy on the board. The subcommittee's recommendation will be shared with the full board. The board will pass a resolution recommending an applicant's name be put in front of the City Council for the Council to approve for appointment.

  • Board members are appointed by the City Council in June and begin their term on July 1
  • Applicants must fit the criteria established by the Library Board of Trustees to be recommended for appointment to the library board.

In all cases where a vacancy  occurs, the board will pass a resolution recommending an applicant's name to be put in front of the City Council, for the Council to approve for appointment, for the balance of the term in which the vacancy occurs. City Council shall fill the vacancy  within thirty (30) days.


III.1   The Library Board of Trustees constitute the official body responsible for the operation of the library to include:

  • Planning for the library by developing long- and short-range plans.
  • Policymaking by formally adopting by resolution appropriate written policies for library operations; considering policies needed to advance library's plan; annually reviewing and revising policies.
  • Budget oversight and officially approving the budget request.
  • Advocating to insure adequate funding for library operations with local, state and federal officials.
  • Hiring the library director.
  • Approving final building plans and construction contracts.
  • Accepting large in-kind donations or donations with specific restrictive conditions.
  • Public relations links between the library and the community.

III.2   Certain duties of the members of the library Board of Trustees are delineated in the Charter of the City of East Lansing, Chapter 17, Sections 17.1-17.5, as restated below:

17.1   Library Board: there is hereby created the East Lansing Library Board consisting of five (5) electors of the City to be appointed by the Council to serve for terms of five (5) years. In the first instance, the members of said board shall be comprised of the Board of Directors of the East Lansing City Library, who hold such office at the time of the adoption of this Charter. Such persons shall hold office until the thirtieth day of June of the year in which their respective terms expire. At the first meeting of the Council in June the Council shall appoint one person as a member of such Board for the full term of five (5) years. members of the Board shall serve without compensation. In all cases where a vacancy occurs, the Council shall fill the vacancy within thirty (30) days for the balance of the term in which the vacancy occurs. The Council may remove any member of the Board for misconduct or neglect of duty.

17.2   Organization of the Board: The members of the Library Board shall, at their first meeting in July of each year, organize and elect one (1) of their members president. A majority of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The Board shall appoint a Librarian, a secretary, and all necessary personnel required to operate and conduct the affairs entrusted to it. All accounts of the board shall be subject to audit, the same as the accounts of other departments and boards of the City.

17.3   Powers and Duties of Board: the Library Board shall hold at least one regular meeting in each calendar month, and shall be charged and entrusted with the management, supervision, and control of all City library facilities which are or shall be owned or operated by the City and shall have power to make and adopt all such by-laws, rules and regulations as they may deem necessary and expedient for the transaction of their business, not inconsistent with the general ordinances of the City or the provisions of this Charter. Such Board shall have the control and management of all trusts and bequests to or for the benefit of the City's library facilities, unless otherwise provided in the instruments creating such trusts or making such bequests and shall administer such trusts and bequests as provided in this Charter for the administration of trusts.

17.4   Library Budgets: On or before the first Monday in April of each year, the board shall submit to the Council careful estimates in detail of the amount of money which, according to the judgement of the Board, will be needed for the library facilities of the City during the ensuing year, which estimates may be increased, modified, or adopted by the Council as in its judgement may seem justifiable.

17.5   Library Receipts to Chief Financial Officer: The Board shall, on or before the tenth day of each month, forward all moneys received by it to the Chief Financial Officer, who shall issue a receipt for the money. The receipt shall be maintained in the records of the Library Board, and a copy shall be provided to the City Council at its next meeting.

Duties of the members of the Library Board of Trustees also include:

  • Participating in discussions and decision-making.
  • Promoting the library in the community.
  • Respecting and supporting the role of the library director by establishing policy but delegating to the director the management of library operations.

III.3   Attendance of trustees:

  • Trustees are expected to attend all board meetings.
  • If a board member is unable to attend a meeting, that member shall notify the president of the library board and/or the Director who will determine if there is a quorum for conducting business; this absence will be noted in the official minutes as excused.
  • Nonattendance at four regularly scheduled meetings during any rolling 12-month period without being excused is hereby determined to constitute neglect of duty, shall be deemed nonfeasance in office, and, unless a removal hearing is required by law, shall automatically create a vacancy without further action.


IV.1   All meetings of this public body for the purpose of deliberating toward or rendering a decision on policy are open to the public in accordance with the Michigan Open Meetings Act (Act. 267 of the Public Acts of 1976, MCL 15.261-15.275).

IV.2   At the regular meeting in December, the Board will set the standing meeting date and time for the following calendar year.

IV.3   Quorum: A quorum of three members of the five-member Board of Trustees must be present to conduct business.

IV.4   Electronic Meetings: Electronic meetings, or electronic participation in meetings, may be held subject to applicable laws.

IV.5   Changes: Any member of the board may request a change in the date and time subject to advance notice as required in the Michigan Open Meetings Act.

IV.6   Special Meetings: The Library Board of Trustees may request a special meeting to be held at any time subject to advance notice as required in the Michigan Open Meetings Act.

IV.7   Closed Sessions: The only purposes that justify closed session meetings are:
a. disciplinary proceedings against, or personnel evaluation of an employee when said person requests a closed hearing
b. consideration of the purchase or lease of real property until an option to purchase or lease the particular property is obtained.
c. consultation with counsel regarding settlement strategy in connection with specific pending litigation but only when an open meeting would have detrimental financial effect on the litigation or settlement position of the library board.
d. consideration of the specific contents of applications for employment or appointment to public office if the applicant requests that the information remain confidential.
e. consideration of any material exempt from discussion or disclosure by state or federal statutes.
f. for strategy and negotiation sessions connected with the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement if either negotiating party requests a closed hearing.

A two-thirds roll call vote is required to call a closed session for purposes as set forth in subsections (a) and (f). A majority roll call vote is permissible to call a closed session for the purposes set forth in the remaining subsections.

IV.8   Notice:

A. Notice of the meetings shall include the following:
Official name of the library
Telephone number
Time of the meeting
Date of the meeting
Place of the meeting

B. Notice shall be posted in a prominent location in the library (i.e., front foyer bulletin board) as well as on the bulletin board at City Hall.

C. Timing of the notice shall be as follows:
Regularly Scheduled Meeting
Ten days after the first meeting in December, the library board will post the schedule for the regular meetings for the calendar year.
Regular Meetings Change of Schedule
Within three (3) days after a meeting at which the schedule for regular meetings is changed, notice must be given of the new regular meeting dates, times and places.
Rescheduled Regular Meetings
At least 18 hours prior to a rescheduled meeting, notice must be given of that particular rescheduled meeting.
Special Meetings
At least 18 hours prior to a special meeting, notice must be given. (This does not apply to special meetings of subcommittees.)

IV.9   Order of Business:
The order of business for all regular meetings shall be as follows:
Call to order
Approval of the agenda
Approval of the minutes
City Council Liaison
Friends of the Library
Committee Reports
Old Business
New Business
Financial Report
Report of the Director
Report from the President of the Board

IV.10   Parliamentary Rules: Robert's Rules of Order (most recent edition) shall govern the Board of Trustees procedures.

IV.11   Public Address:  See Addenda A: Audience Participation Policy


V.1   Minutes for all meetings shall include the following:

  • date, time, place and members present and absent;
  • any decisions made at an open meeting;
  • purpose or purposes for which a closed session was held;
  • all roll call votes

V.2   Corrections:
A. Corrections to the minutes shall be made not later than the next meeting.

B. After the meeting to which the minutes refer, the corrected minutes must be available at the first meeting after the correction and must show both the original entry and the correction.

V.3   Location:
Minutes shall be a public record and open to inspection at the Library and posted electronically.

V.4   Inspection:
A. Proposed minutes shall be available not more than eight (8) business days after the meeting.

B. Approved minutes shall be available not more than five (5) business days after they are approved by the Library Board of Trustees.


Special committees may be appointed by the president when necessary. Such committees are to serve until the work for which they were appointed is completed.


VII.1   A first reading of the proposed change to the by-laws shall take place at a regular meeting of the Library Board of Trustees. The by-laws can then be formally amended by a majority vote at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the library board with a quorum present.

VII.2   By-laws will be reviewed by the board of trustees biennially (every 2 years).


VIII.1   Appointment:
The Library Board of Trustees is responsible for appointing, contracting with and employing the library director.

VIII.2   Term of Contract:
The board shall designate the term of the contract for a period not to exceed five (5) years.

VIII.3   Board Meetings:
The director shall attend all regular and special meetings of the Library Board of Trustees, unless excused by the president, and shall have the privilege of attending all meetings of committees as an ex-officio member; the director shall have the right to speak upon matters under discussion by the board or committee but shall not have a right to vote.

VIII.4   Duties:
The library director shall be considered the executive officer of the Board of Trustees and shall have sole charge of the administration of the library under the direction and review of the board. the director shall be held responsible for:

  • Development of library services, programs, policies and procedures.
  • Implementation of services, programs, policies and procedures.
  • Facilities and grounds.
  • Materials collection development.
  • Financial management.
  • Preparation of the budget.
  • Personnel management to include hiring, supervision, evaluation, administer discipline and termination of all library staff.
  • Efficiency of library service to the public.
  • Public relations.
  • Reporting to the library board and keeping the members informed of matters related to the library or trustees.
  • Administering policies established by the board as governing body.
  • Assisting the board in its decisions on policies, budget and other matters.
  • Making authorized expenditures for the general operation of the library in a reasonable and customary manner (see Purchasing Policy for exceptions).
  • Orientation for new library trustees.
  • Performing day-to-day functions.

VIII.5   Evaluation:
The evaluation of the director is performed during a board meeting on an annual basis conducted pursuant to the Michigan Open Meetings Act, but the director has the option of requesting a closed session.

VIII.6   Discipline/Dismissal:
A. In the event of a serious problem with the library director's performance, the board of trustees shall address the situation immediately, outlining in writing their expectations and the time frame for improvement.

B. The Library Board of Trustees is authorized under the establishment of the City of East Lansing Library pursuant to PA 164 (1877) to dismiss the director; dismissal of the director must be by a majority vote of the entire membership, i.e., all voting members (5) of the library board.

Revised and adopted November 20, 2002
Revised: May 18, 2011
June 15, 2011
August 15, 2011
May 19, 2022
March 1, 2023




The agenda for each regular meeting of the Library Board of Trustees contains an item allowing members of the audience to communicate directly with the Board concerning library matters. The Board follows Robert's Rules of Order. A speaker may address the Board at the point set aside on the agenda for public comment with a five (5) minute time limit per speaker, with an additional five minutes granted with board approval.


The board may call a special meeting to address issues not able to be covered at a regular meeting consistent with timing and posting requirements as established by the Michigan Open Meetings Act.

June 27, 1989
Revised and Adopted:
October 15, 2003
May 19, 2022
March 1, 2023

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