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 (DOCX, 6.9 MB) 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].
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).
Confidentiality of user records
Keep user records confidential, except when required by law. You must also follow the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
- Sample Confidentiality of User Records Policy (DOCX, 19 KB)
Orientation and continuing education of board and staff
Board members and staff should be oriented when they begin their positions, and attend regular training to keep skills current and keep up-to-date on library trends.
This policy must include direction on reimbursement for attendance at library meetings, conferences, workshops and courses, and for memberships in library associations.
- Sample Board Orientation and Continuing Education Policy (DOCX, 22 KB)
- Sample Staff Orientation and Continuing Education Policy (DOCX, 22 KB)
Library boards have full management and control of their libraries. They have a legal responsibility to manage their finances. Your policy must include directions on reimbursement of expenses and a list of signing officers.
- Sample Finance Policy (DOCX, 26 KB)
Your personnel policies must include:
- job descriptions for employees and volunteers
- directions on performance appraisals for employees and volunteers
- qualifications for staff positions
- working hours
- conditions of employment
- a grievance procedure
If you hire staff, your board is an employer and has all the associated legal responsibilities. You must follow employment laws and regulations including the Employment Standards Code and Regulation, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the federal Human Rights Act.
- Sample Personnel Policy (DOCX, 38 KB)
- Sample job descriptions for library manager and library volunteer (DOCX, 41 KB)
This policy must include directions on the selection, acquisition, purchase and disposition of library resources of all kinds (books, magazines, DVDs, and so on). This policy must also include a section on gifts and donations.
- Sample collection development policy (DOCX, 22 KB)
Sharing resources with other libraries greatly increases the amount of materials your library users can access. This policy must include a statement on participation in the provincial Public Library Network and the conditions that apply to library resources and information acquired from other libraries.
- Sample Resource Sharing Policy (DOCX, 18 KB)
Provision of resources for those unable to use conventional print
People in this library user group may also be described as print-disabled library users. This policy must include provision for cooperation with other community agencies (schools, hospitals, and so on).
Loan of resources
This policy must include directions on how library materials will be loaned to the public for use outside the library (for example, check-in and check-out policies).
- Sample lending policy (DOCX, 21 KB)
Hours of service
If your board has more than one library branch, you must list the open hours for each branch.
- Sample Hours of Service Policy (DOCX, 18 KB)
If your board has a meeting space not normally used for library purposes, there must be a policy on who can use that space. This policy usually includes rental procedures for the meeting space.
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.
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).
- Sample library board bylaw template (DOCX, 21 KB)
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