Trustee Job Description

Note: This position description is unofficial and has been adopted for informational purposes only. The process for library district trustee appointments is stated in RCW 27.12.190 Library Trustees—Appointment, election, removal, compensation; powers and duties are set forth in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), primarily RCW 27.12.210 Library Trustees—Organization—Bylaws—Powers and duties but also in other statutes describing powers and duties of local governing bodies.



The Board of Trustees is the policy-making body of Pend Oreille County Library District. District administration is delegated to the director, who serves at the pleasure of the Board.


Pend Oreille County Library District is a Junior Taxing District, established in 1980 by a vote of the residents in the unincorporated county. The towns of Newport, Cusick, Ione, Metaline and Metaline Falls annexed into the county by a vote of the city residents in 1985. It provides public library services to residents of unincorporated Pend Oreille County and annexed towns. Funding comes primarily from a property tax levy within the District that is set by state law. It is governed by a five-member Board of Trustees and administered by a library director appointed by the Board.


Pend Oreille County Commissioners (RCW 27.12.190)


Five years. The law limits service on a library board to no more than two consecutive terms. According to a 1991 Attorney General’s Opinion, a trustee who fills an unexpired term of another trustee is eligible for two additional terms. A former board member can be reappointed after a lapse of one year.


1. Employ a competent and qualified library director.
2. Adopt appropriate written policies to govern the operation and services of the Library District.
3. Secure adequate funding to carry out Library District programs and services.
4. Adopt an annual budget.
5. Become familiar with appropriate local and state laws; actively represent District interests to the State Legislature.
6. Reflect community needs and interests when considering library services and programs.
7. Communicate information about District programs, services, and needs to the community.
8. Attend all board meetings.
9. Attend workshops and training activities whenever possible.
10. Foster cooperation with other area libraries to maximize use of available resources.


  • Must live in Pend Oreille County. Prefer a Pend Oreille County Library District customer.
  • Readiness to devote time and effort to learning about the library in addition to the duties, responsibilities, and authority of trusteeship.
  • Recognition of the importance of the library as a center of information, culture, recreation, and lifelong learning in the community.
  • Sound judgment, a sense of fiscal responsibility, legal understanding, and political awareness.
  • Skill in board management, an open mind, intellectual curiosity, respect for the opinions of others, and the ability to work cooperatively with others.
  • Willingness to become knowledgeable about librarianship including application of standards, identifying trends and new developments.
  • Willingness to serve as an advocate for public libraries.
  • Rapport with the community, including a concerned awareness of diverse social and economical conditions, needs, and interests of all segments of the public.
  • Position of leadership and history of active participation in the community, government, business, education, finance, law, or related fields.
  • Initiative and ability to plan creatively, to establish policies for effective operation of the library, and to withstand pressures and prejudices when providing impartial services to the patrons.


  • Five-year commitment.
  • Attend regularly scheduled board meetings (4th Thursday of each month).
  • Attend any scheduled briefings on services and programs (irregularly scheduled, no more than 3 or 4 times per year).
  • Attend special meetings (2-3 per year, as needed).
  • Read background materials sent prior to each meeting.
  • Attend one board retreat per year (usually in April or May, at least one full day).
  • Attend the annual Library Legislative Day in Olympia (late January/early February, rotated among Trustees).
  • Attend relevant continuing education functions or workshops (usually no more than 1 per year).
  • Attend WILL conference for trustees (if possible, held in odd numbered years).
  • Occasional attendance at community and District meetings and activities.


A trustee of the public library is a public officer who occupies the role of fiduciary with regard to the citizens of the governmental unit served. A trustee who violates this trust or fiduciary duty may be enjoined from so acting as a trustee, suspended, removed, made to pay civil damages, criminally fined or convicted or sentenced to a term of imprisonment. State law protects a trustee from civil liability when acting in good faith. The District carries public officials liability insurance to indemnify trustees for any civil claim or a claim made because of a wrongful act.

Adopted by the Pend Oreille County Library District Board of Trustees 9/9/2002