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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Trustees: Sample Charter Language

Information, resources, and advice for library trustees in Massachusetts.

Sample Charter Language

Looking for sample charter language? Here are some municipalities and their charter language around libraries. Please see each charter for full text and context of the sections. 

  • Wayland

      (j) With the exception of the school department and library, and except as otherwise provided in the town code or chapter 347 of the acts of 2008, to streamline services, the town manager may create a new department, reorganize, eliminate or consolidate town departments or functions, in whole or in part, and assign functions of a department to another department, subject to the approval of the select board.

      SECTION 7. (a) Except as expressly provided in this act, the town manager shall appoint on the basis of merit and fitness alone, all department heads or similar positions, in consultation with the respective boards, commissions and committees that the department heads or similar positions support and in compliance with any applicable provision of a collective bargaining agreement, with the exception of the school department and library.

      (d) The town manager may, for cause, discipline or remove any department head or similar position, with the exception of the school department and library director, and shall, in consultation with the applicable department head or similar position, discipline or remove all subordinate employees of each town department, with the exception of the school department.

      (i) The town manager shall be responsible for the annual evaluation of job performance of all town department heads, including the town clerk and other positions appointed by the town manager but excluding the school department and library director, and shall incorporate any input or recommendations received from any elected or appointed board, commission or committee served by such department heads; provided, however, that evaluation of the library director shall include input from the town manager. The town manager shall be responsible for ensuring the completion of annual evaluations of the job performance of all subordinate town employees, excluding those of the school department.
    • Select Board/Town Manager Special Act Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
      This FAQ answers why the library is not under the Town Manager. 

      Why is the Library not also under the Town Manager? Is there an explicit law?
      The Library is governed by a state statute giving the Library Trustees regulatory authority over collections, programming and its building, among other responsibilities. These areas are not changed by passage of the Special Act. However, parts of the Library function require coordination with other Town staff and as such do fall under the proposed Town Manager. For instance, Facilities budgeting and work, IT for technology, Human Resources support for hiring and benefits, Finance support for payroll and expenses, and outside maintenance done by the DPW all require coordination. The Library union contract also assigns rights to the Town Administrator now and those would continue with the Town Manager.
  • Maynard
      a) Composition, Term of Office - There shall be a board of library trustees consisting of three (3) members elected for terms of three (3) years each, so arranged that the term of one member shall expire each year.
      b) Powers and Duties - The board of library trustees shall be responsible for the management and supervision of the free public library of the town, the property, and the staff. The board of library trustees shall have all the powers and duties which are given to library trustees by general laws and shall have additional powers and duties as are provided by this charter, by by-law or by town meeting vote, as well as any powers, duties, and responsibilities as may be imposed by the terms of any public trust.
  • Hopkinton
    • Section 4-6: Board of Library Trustees
      (a) Composition, Term of Office - There shall be a Board of Library Trustees consisting of five (5) members elected for a term of three (3) years each, so arranged that the term of office of as nearly an equal number of members as possible shall expire each year.
      (b) Powers and Duties – The Board of Library Trustees shall have the powers and duties that have been given to Boards of Library Trustees by the Massachusetts General Laws, by this Charter, by Town Bylaw or by Town Meeting vote.
      (c) Library Director – The Town Manager shall annually set goals for the Library Director with input from the Board of Library Trustees
  • Worcester 
    • 7. Board of Library Directors – Worcester Public Library
      (a) Establishment. To carry-out the terms of the deed of gift of Dr. John Green to the city of Worcester, dated December 27, 1859, and the last will and testament of Dr. John Green, and subject to the provisions of the General Laws chapter seventy-eight, section seven, there is hereby established under authority of Article Six of the Home Rule Charter a department of the city to be known as the “Free Public Library” (“public library”).
      (b) Division Head. The board of library directors (“board”) as so established shall head the department, which shall consist of the board, the head librarian and such other personnel as the city council, with the advice of the city manager, shall, from time to time, authorize in the budget.
      (c) Membership. The board shall consist of twelve members who shall be appointed by the city council for terms of six years. The city council shall choose in the month of December two directors to fill the vacancies occurring on the first day of January next ensuing, which directors shall hold their office for the term of six years from the first day of January. All vacancies in the board, occasioned by death, resignation, removal from the city or otherwise, shall be filed in like manner, as they arise, for the unexpired term thereof, and no person shall be eligible to fill a vacancy arising from the expiration of his term of office.
      (d) Duties & Responsibilities. It shall be the duty and responsibility of the board: (1) manage the Free Public Library; (2) have care and custody of the buildings and grounds of the library and any branches thereof; (3) have sole custody of the books; (4) promulgate any and all needful and suitable regulations concerning the Free Public Library and the use thereof; (5) manage all trust funds given or bequeathed for the benefit of the Free Public Library, including such trust funds formerly under the control of the board of commissioners of Trust Funds; and, (6) perform such other duties as may be prescribed by law.
      (e) Organization of the Board. The directors shall meet as soon as may be after the first day of January in each year and organize into a board by the choice of a president and a secretary from their own number. A majority of the board shall be required for the transaction of business.
      (f) Secretary. The secretary shall have the care and custody of all books, records, papers and documents belonging to the board and shall record all the doings of the board in a book to be furnished by the city, and he shall deliver the books, records, papers and documents to his or her successor in office.
      (g) Head Librarian & Officers. Except as otherwise provided by law, the board shall appoint the head librarian and all subordinate officers and may remove such officers at pleasure. The head librarian shall be the executive officer of the board and shall perform the duties and responsibilities described in this ordinance unless any such duty or responsibility shall be incompatible with any authority exercised under the provisions of the deed of gift or last will and testament of Dr. John Green.
  • Plymouth
    • The Town Manager shall:
      a. unless otherwise provided herein and in Section 2 of Chapter 6 of this Charter, and except as may be otherwise provided in Civil Service Law, appoint, suspend, or remove all department heads, a Board of Assessors, and all officers, subordinates, and employees of the town, including those under grant funding, except employees of the school department. The Town Manager shall appoint a town clerk, whose duties shall be as specified in general or special legislation. In the case of an employee who works with a multiple-member board or the Plymouth Public Library Corporation, the Town Manager shall act in accordance with this Section only after consultation with that multiple member board, or the Plymouth Public Library Corporation, as the case may be. 
  • Scituate
    • Section 3-6 - Board of Library Trustees: Composition, Term of Office; Powers and Duties
      (a) Composition, Term of Office - There shall be a board of library trustees consisting of six members nominated and elected by the voters. Two of these members shall be elected each year for terms of three years.
      (b) Powers and Duties -The board of library trustees shall have general charge of the care and management of town libraries, and of all property of the town relating thereto. 

More Municipalities

The list to the left is a small sampling of municipalities. You can find any of the 351 municipalities in Massachusetts in this alphabetical index. Click on the city/town you are looking for to be taken to their website. Most municipal websites will have links to their charters. 

Municipalities with Town Managers: 

Municipalities with Mayors: