Libraries Connected Trustee Pack

Trustee role

Independent Trustees

We are looking for a number of independent trustees to join our board. We are looking for a range of skills and experience, especially:

  • Finance skills: we need at least one trustee with strong finance skills and experience to be both a trustee and a member of the Finance Committee. This could be someone with a good understanding of finance from any sector, but understanding of charity finance and/or experience of finance management in a charity of arts organisation would be ideal.
  • Communications skills: we are looking for at least one trustee with knowledge and experience of managing campaigns and communicating sensitive issues. Political influencing skills would also be desirable. You may have gained this experience working in a charity or corporate environment or through campaigning for change in your local community.
  • Charity management skills: ideally we would like to include someone on the board who has experience managing and/or leading a small or medium-sized charity (this could overlap with other skills).
  • Creative thinkers who can challenge and suggest new ideas, to help us drive innovation.
  • Experience of working with national partner organisations in the library and cultural sector would be great, but not essential for all trustees.

As part of your trustee role, you should aim to visit at least 2 library services per year, together with a Libraries Connected member of staff and to attend up to two networking or launch events per year.

Member Trustees

We are looking for a number of member trustees, who may have some of the above skills and experience. We are also looking for a mix of:

  • Sizes of library service (both network and population)
  • Types of library service constitution (e.g. mutual/charitable status, contracted services, Local Authority run and managed)
  • Services working within different budget parameters and financial situations.

Time commitment

  • This role will take approximately 12 days per year
  • You will need to attend approximately 3 days of trustee training per year, this could be face-to-face or online.
  • You will need to attend 4 to 5 meetings of the Board per year, with 4 meetings on average lasting half a day and 1 meeting likely to stretch over 2 days.
  • In addition you may be asked to be a member of a board Committee which generally meet 3 times each year.
  • Trustees generally meet at Islington Library, in London but since COVID-19 we have met online. In future we are planning at least 2 face-to-face meetings a year which may be in London or other locations around the country.
  • Whilst this is a volunteer role, reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed.
  • The term of appointment will be three years initially with a review of performance for renewal for a further three years and again after this period for a maximum of nine years.

Benefits of being a trustee

  • You will have the chance to make a real and positive difference to public library staff and communities across the country through your skills and experience
  • You will gain an insight into how the public library sector is innovating and delivering impact by visiting library services and attending events launching new programmes and initiatives
  • You will gain new skills and experience that could help you develop professionally and in your personal life
  • You will hone and develop your critical thinking and strategic skills
  • Previous trustees say that experience as a Libraries Connected trustee has given them confidence to go on to take other governance positions

'I have really felt that by being a trustee I have made a valuable contribution to the sector. I am able to share my skills, but have also learnt a great deal and gained strategic experience. I think sitting on the board helped me to develop and grow, but also gave me an opportunity to help and support others in the library world' (Carol Stump, Trustee)

Trustee responsibilities

Board members of the Society of Chief Librarians will be both directors of a company and trustees of a charity. They will therefore, have duties and responsibilities under company law and charity law.

As a trustee you will need to:

  • Uphold and adhere to standards of charity governance as set out by the Charity Commission
  • Ensure Libraries Connected complies with our articles of association and carries out our charitable objectives for the public benefit
  • Share responsibility for ensuring that Libraries Connected complies with all legal and regulatory requirements
  • Contribute to the strategic direction of the charity
  • Monitor the performance of the executive against the organisation’s strategic and operational plans
  • Contribute to the identification and monitoring of risk
  • Safeguard the good name and values of Libraries Connected
  • Ensure the effective and efficient administration of Libraries Connected
  • Ensure the financial stability of Libraries Connected
  • Ensure equality and diversity is prioritised in all aspects of the organisation’s business and operation

Formal guidance on the responsibilities of trustees is issued by the Charity Commission:

Trustee behaviours

In addition to the legal responsibilities of a trustee, we expect all Libraries Connected trustees to:

  • Attend all four board meetings a year, with a minimum attendance of three.
  • Read all board papers in advance and arrive at Board meetings prepared.
  • Participate in meaningful discussions at Board (and committees) with your expertise, skills, knowledge and experience.
  • Scrutinise Board papers and challenge the Board, Executive and Board’s advisers constructively, ask questions, be inquisitive and welcome challenge back.
  • Active input into discussions, apply good judgement and contribute to the decision-making process.
  • Be prepared to support the charity outside of board meetings.
  • Build constructive, positive relationships with other Trustees and staff with a willingness to listen and understand.
  • Seek and increase knowledge, understanding and be willing to learn and improve.
  • Have courage to make difficult decisions when required.
  • Be an ambassador and an advocate at all levels for the future of public libraries and for Libraries Connected.
  • Maximise your networks and identify opportunities that will benefit Libraries Connected and public libraries

How to apply

To apply to be a trustee, please send a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and covering letter setting out how you feel you meet the person specification above to

  • All applications will be assessed against the criteria in this brief by the Board Nominations Committee
  • Please get your application in by 8 January. Shortlisted applicants will be asked to attend an interview in London on 27th January or in Manchester on 3rd February. You will be asked to indicate your preferred location when contacted for interview.
  • Reasonable travel expenses will be paid for those invited to attend interviews
  • If you have any questions or queries, please email by 3 January 2023 to arrange to speak to a current trustee before making an application.