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Board Member Orientation: Library Governance


It is very important to understand library governance to:

  • Prevent misunderstandings between the library director and the board

  • Prevent misunderstandings between the library and the city

  • Have a well-run library that serves the community

Your Library Ordinance

In Iowa, a public library is established by an ordinance adopted by the city council.  It is the “law” under which the library exists and it is part of the city code.  Most questions about library governance are answered in the library ordinance.  Information such as:


  • How board members are appointed

  • Powers and duties of the library board such as setting librarian and staff salaries and controlling library funds

  • Procedure for approving and paying bills

Please take the time to review:

How is a member selected to serve on the Keokuk Public Library’s Board of Trustees?

Appointed by the mayor with the approval of the City Council

What is the length of board members’ terms?

Six years, except to fill vacancies.

Who employs the librarian?

The Board of Trustees

Who approves the bills?

The Board of Trustees

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