Trustee Academy

The Trustee Academy is a series of online courses to help Trustees become exceptionally proficient in their roles on behalf of their libraries. All of the online courses are taught by a professional in the field. Courses include:

  • Trustee Competencies covers the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attributes of a successful public library Trustee. The course is led by Kevin Tomlinson, area field consultant with the Idaho Commission for Libraries.
  • Working Effectively with the Library Director covers the role of the Board, the role of the library director, and how to communicate effectively with each other. Learn about strategic planning, board meetings, an emergency communication plan, and how to create a sustainable and effective working relationship. This course is led by Deirdre Brennan, Executive Director, of Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS).
  • The Library's Budget for Trustees covers understanding where funding comes from, working with the director to develop the budget, ensuring the budget is in alignment with goals, making the case for the budget to funders, making effective budget presentations, and monitoring the budget at monthly meetings. This course is led by Marcellus Turner, City Librarian, The Seattle Public Library.
  • Everyday Advocacy – Why the Library Matters! covers getting to know your funders and letting them know what the library is doing and importantly – why it matters. Learn how to be a powerful voice at budget time to ensure your library receives the funding it needs. This course is led by Libby Post, Strategist-in-Chief and President of Communication Services.
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion: What Library Trustees Need to Know - Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) impacts all communities and all aspects of librarianship. Library Boards of Trustees have an important role in supporting EDI and related initiatives. This workshop will help trustees and library directors understand how to incorporate EDI into policy development, strategic planning, funding initiatives, board development, and more. Anne will present a variety of interactive scenarios in which EDI issues are a factor, with time for Q&A and discussion. In this event, Anne Phibbs, PhD, Founder and President of Strategic Diversity Initiatives, will give a basic introduction to EDI and discuss what library trustees and boards need to know about EDI.
  • Vendor Negotiation That Supports Patron Privacy and Intellectual Freedom - Libraries are well versed in protecting intellectual freedom as it pertains to books but many do not have similar policies for online resources and services. Digital library collections are often provided by third-party vendors, who may have different goals than libraries. This disconnect has led to intellectual freedom issues, specifically regarding privacy, in recent years. How much responsibility do vendors have for patron privacy? How can libraries best negotiate with online vendors without infringing upon patron privacy and other intellectual freedom issues? This panel has representatives from both libraries and vendors to discuss this topic.


Registration price includes one-year access for the library director and all members of the library's Board of Trustees.


Statewide access to Trustee Academy is available FREE in the following states. If you live in one of these states, please register here.

  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Virginia


If you have questions, please contact United for Libraries at (312) 280-2161 or by email at