How to Become a Trustee

Howland Public Library trustee elections take place in the spring and are publicized in the local media, here on our website, and in our electronic newsletter.

People who are United States citizens, eighteen years old or older, and have been residents of the State of New York and the Beacon City School District for 30 days preceding the election are eligible to run for vacancies on the nine-member Howland Board of Trustees.  All full terms are for five years.

Candidates may pick up petitions at the library; these petitions must be notarized and returned to the library election clerk by the date and time specified in the legal notice.

Trustee Roles:
  • Create and develop the mission of the library
  • Select a qualified library director
  • Plan and evaluate the library’s service program based on community needs
  • Secure adequate funding for the library’s service program
  • Exercise fiduciary responsibility for the use of public and private funds
  • Adopt policy
  • Maintain a facility that meets the library’s community needs
  • Promote the library in the community
  • Conduct the library’s business in an open and ethical manner
Collective Authority:
  • Under New York State law, a library board has broad authority to manage the affairs of the library but it is a collective authority.
  • Individual trustees may not speak or act on behalf of the library unless granted that authority by a vote of the board at an open public meeting.
  • The board should speak with one voice once a decision is made.
  • A trustee who disagrees with a board decision may legally speak out publicly but they must make it clear that they do not represent the library.