Public library board policies and bylaws

Policy and bylaw requirements, templates and examples for public library boards.

Use our Policies and Bylaws: A Guide for Alberta Public Library Boards to help develop effective policies and bylaws for your board.

Download the Word version of Policies and Bylaws: A Guide for Alberta Public Library Boards for the complete set of policy and bylaw templates. Individual templates for each policy and bylaw are also available in each corresponding section below.

The library board is a corporation responsible for the comprehensive and efficient delivery of library service to the community. One way the board does this is by establishing policies and bylaws that outline best practices for the day-to-day operations of the board and its service point(s), such as public libraries or bookmobiles.


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

It is best practice for your board to regularly review and update policies every 2 to 3 years.

If your board revises one of the 10 policies required by the Libraries Regulation, send revisions to Public Library Services Branch at [email protected].

Developing policies

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.

Your board may create other policies to suit your local needs (for example, public computer use and other personnel policies).

Safety and use bylaws

According to the Libraries Act, public library boards may pass bylaws for the safety and use of library facilities. These bylaws carry the same legal weight as bylaws passed by your municipality, and help protect your library and the people and items within it.

In section 36 of the Libraries Act, safety and use bylaws govern conditions for:

  • admitting the public into the building
  • borrowing or using library materials
  • suspending or revoking borrowing privileges
  • charging fees for library cards and other library services

A library board may pass bylaws, but is not required to do so. The bylaws passed are legally enforceable.

Safety and use bylaws passed by the library board are not the same as the municipal bylaw that formed the library board.

Safety and use bylaws are also different from policies. Policies describe rules and best practices for the library, but are not legally enforced. Safety and use bylaws must be passed by board motion and then accepted by municipal council(s) to be fully passed and legally enforceable. Policies can be changed by board motion alone.

Developing bylaws

Library board bylaws may be passed by a single motion of the board. However, boards often choose to read and pass the bylaws 3 times to ensure the information in them is complete and accurate.

Once your board has passed its bylaws, a copy must be sent to municipal council. Council may accept or disallow your board’s bylaws.

An intermunicipal board that passes bylaws must forward a copy of its safety and use bylaws to all the councils of all the municipalities that are party to the intermunicipal agreement. All councils must accept the bylaws for them to be legal and enforceable.

If your bylaws are disallowed, ask your council(s) why the bylaws were disallowed, so you can make appropriate changes.

After the bylaws are changed, they must be passed by your board once again before they are sent back to municipal council(s).


Connect with the Public Library Services Branch:

Phone: 780-427-4871
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

17th Floor, Commerce Place
10155 102 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4L4