Library board planning and training resources

Find best practices, planning resources, training and workshops.

Best practices

The Best Practices for Public Libraries in Alberta provides service levels that each board can consider as they assess and plan their library service, while taking into account the community's expectations, challenges, and growth.

These best practices:

  • encourage equitability in delivery of library services for residents of Alberta
  • provide a point of reference for self-evaluation
  • provide a framework for future development
  • encourage excellence in library service
  • are not standards required by the province
  • Areas of best practice

    The areas of best practice include:

    • personnel
    • hours of opening
    • collection management
    • information services
    • resource sharing including interlibrary loan
    • accessibility
    • Indigenous service
    • technology
    • facilities
    • school-housed public libraries
  • Feedback

    Feedback regarding Best Practices for Alberta Public Libraries is welcome. Contact us to send feedback.

Fact sheets

Public Library Services Branch provides fact sheets on a variety of governance topics. These are short and specific documents designed to assist boards and councils in understanding their roles and responsibilities.

Training and workshops

  • Virtual library board orientations

    Public Library Services Branch offers online board orientations. During a board orientation, library services staff will present information about the structure of library service and board responsibilities in a 2 hour meeting.

    Topics covered include:

    • the structure of library service in Alberta, including a brief history of library service in Alberta and the roles of the province, the library system, the municipality and the board in library service delivery
    • the role of the board as whole, including essential information from the Libraries Act and Libraries Regulation, and information about the board’s plan of service, policies, bylaws, and budget
    • the roles and responsibilities of individual board members

    Contact us to request a board orientation.

  • Library Board Basics workshops

    Library Board Basics workshops presented by the Public Library Services Branch are great for new or experienced board members. All important issues are covered, including the Libraries Act and Libraries Regulation.

  • Alberta Library Trustees' Association

    The Alberta Library Trustees' Association (ALTA) is the collective voice for library board members across Alberta and promotes effective library service and leadership through training, resources, communication and advocacy.

  • Board development

    Board development focuses on improving the governance of non-profit organizations through curriculum-based training for groups on topics like: 

    • board roles and responsibilities
    • policy development
    • effective use of committees

    Board development offers multi-board training in the form of open workshops, which are sponsored by any organization on behalf of the larger community anywhere in Alberta.

    The workshops are for individual board volunteers and non-profit staff from any non-profit organization as well as anyone generally interested in governance.

    Board development also provides a number of helpful resources and workbooks.

Plan of service

The Libraries Regulation requires boards to have a current plan of service, including a mission statement, goals and objectives, based on a community needs assessment.

A plan of service is more than a legal requirement, it:

  • is a great tool for managing a library
  • helps a board to govern at a strategic level
  • aligns the library with the community and helps increase use
  • builds community support and helps fundraising and advocacy
  • helps a library measure its success and identify improvements

Policies and bylaws

The library board is a corporation responsible for the comprehensive and efficient delivery of library service to the community. 

Good policy benefits the library board in several ways by:

  • actively managing risk
  • ensuring consistent delivery of services
  • treating employees and library users fairly
  • preventing legal problems
  • providing direction to employees on day-to-day operations and when to go to the board for further direction

Your policies must comply with all applicable legislation, including the Libraries Act and Libraries Regulation.

Section 7 of the Libraries Regulation identifies 10 policies that your library board must have in place. Each policy is described below with a downloadable template. 

  • If your library board does not operate a service point, you only need the first 3 policies.
  • If your board revises one of the 10 policies required by the Libraries Regulation, send revisions to Public Library Services Branch at [email protected].
  • It is best practice for your board to regularly review and update policies every 2 to 3 years.
  • Your board may create other policies to suit your local needs (for example, public computer use and other personnel policies).