mhls logo
MHLS Trustee Newsletter
Spring 2012
In This Issue
A Message from MHLS Board President, Peter Hoffmann
Financial Accountability
Essentials Workshop
Save the Dates!

Trustee Essentials Workshops:

- June 6 @Hillsdale

- June 8 @MHLS
- June 16 @Saugerties
- June 28 @Patterson

Fundraising Idea Exchange:
June 14 @MHLS

Applying for the NYS Construction Grant 
June 20 @MHLS

Back to Basics PR Workshops:

-June 29: PR Essentials: 10 Mistakes to Avoid

-July 13: Newsletters, eNewsletters & Annual Reports to the Community

-July 20: Marketing the Collection - Books & Beyond

Register through the
for all events listed!
Coming this Fall
Workshops Coming this Fall to MHLS:

StoryTelling as an Advocacy Skill
with professional storyteller Lorraine Hartin-Gelardi

Human Resources & Personnel Legal Issues with Bob Schofield & Ellen Bach (the "Library Lawyers")

MHLS Annual Meeting, Friday, October 19th at the FDR Presidential Library & Museum, Hyde Park, NY
For Your Director
MHLS has received initial notification that we will receive a grant to fund our next capacity building project for member libraries,  Building Your Base: From the Inside Out.

This project will focus on member library directors to help them enhance or build the necessary skill set to motivate and mobilize library stakeholders, beginning inside the organization, when seeking sustainable funding for your library.

MHLS will be contracting with renowned national library consultant Sandra Nelson to run this program for directors this fall!

We hope you will encourage and support your directors ability to participate in this opportunity for your library.
Tax Cap Info
Make sure your board is in compliance with the recently passed Property Tax Cap Law. Basic information is available from the New York Library Association.

Contact MHLS Coordinator for Library Growth & Sustainability,
Trustee Handbook  Available Online
Often referred to as the "Trustee Bible," the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State by Jerry Nichols is available online free of charge.

If you would like your very own print copy, order yours today for $5 from MHLS.

Quick Links



Spring is here and with it libraries around the Hudson Valley are shifting into high gear!

This issue of Across the Board connects you with the information and resources you need to help support your library and ensure your library is doing the best it can for its community.



Thank you for your advo
cacyMid-Hudson Library System Logo
on behalf of library services earlier this year, and year round, with our representatives in the NYS Senate and Assembly.

Thanks to your efforts, the State Legislature and the Governor agreed to a partial restoration (3%) of library aid this year.

With this restoration, the MHLS Board is considering a reduction in this year's Members Assessment, as well as reviewing other options. Stay tuned for more information! We should have a decision in July about the reduction to your bill in 2012.

As always, the MHLS Board and staff are committed to providing the very best and most cost-effective services in support of your library.
-Peter Hoffmann, Board President
MHLS Board of Trustees


FEATURE: Internal Financial Controls
Putting the "Trust" in "Trustee"
Oversight of the dollars entrusted to your library is one of the highest responsibilities of a public library trustee.

Putting the right policies and procedures in place is a priority for all boards, and those controls related to library finances are some of the most critical.

However, a recent survey of MHLS member libraries revealed that over 50% of our libraries do not have the necessary internal financial controls.

So what should be in place in your library? MHLS cross referenced library policies with the NYS Office of the Attorney General's "Internal Controls and Financial Accountability" publication to provide you with the following checklist.

Each item below should be addressed in a written, board approved policy.

  • Preparing an annual income and expense budget and periodic reports at least quarterly, preferably monthly - comparing actual receipts and expenditures to the budget with timely variance explanations.   
  • Writing and signing checks or vouchers and receiving, recording, securing and depositing cash and other receipts. Such procedures should ensure that no single individual is responsible for receiving, recording and depositing funds or writing and signing checks. Checks and balances are essential to make embezzlement more difficult.   
  • Ensuring that grants and contributions received are properly recorded, accountings required as a condition of any grant are completed and restrictions on the use of such funds, such as contributions given for a restricted purpose (e.g. building fund) and prohibitions on the use of the principal of an endowment, are obeyed.   
  • Requisitioning, authorizing, verifying, recording and monitoring all expenditures, including payment of invoices, petty cash and other expenditures. Such procedures should ensure that no single individual is permitted to request, authorize, verify and record expenditures. For example, the same person should not be responsible for cash disbursements and bank reconciliations. These functions should be assigned to different individuals.  
  •  Providing for regular oversight by an audit committee or, if there is no audit committee, by the executive committee or by the full board.   
  • Reporting to the audit committee or board by employees and volunteers of allegations of fraud or financial improprieties.  
  • Ensuring that timely and appropriate financial reports are distributed to all trustees and reviewed by them, as well as the president, director, treasurer and chief financial officer (if you're lucky enough to have one of those!)  
  • Complying with governmental and other reporting requirements.  
  • Complying with obligations to employees and the public, including their right to a copy of the organization's annual financial report.  
  • Association Libraries Only: Developing a prudent investment strategy and providing proper oversight of the investment assets.  


Workshop: Trustee Essentials

Essential Trustee Duties & Responsibilities

Presented by Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, MHLS Coordinator for Library Growth & Sustainability and Merribeth Advocate, Outreach & Education Coordinator

Especially for new board members, but open to all. Library board members looking for essential, baseline information to increase their effectiveness in serving on a library board will benefit from attending this session.

Attendees will learn effective ways to carry out the nine essential library trustee duties and responsibilities (everything the library board does either falls within one of these duties or is done in support of them.)

Multiple locations to choose from when attending! This year we are hosting sessions in libraries around the System that have recently renovated and expanded their facilities so come take a peek!

Wednesday, June 6 | Register Here
4:30 - 6:30pm at the Roeliff Jansen Community Library

Friday, June 8 | Register Here
10:00am - 12:00pm at the MHLS Auditorium

Saturday, June 16 | Register Here
10:00am - 12:00pm at the Saugerties Public Library

Thursday, June 28 | Register Here
4:30 - 6:30pm at the Patterson Library


Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. We know how busy your life is and appreciate that you are taking the time to learn more about your role as a public library trustee.


MHLS is here to help you and your library. Please don't hesitate to call us!  


Check out theMHLS Problem Solving Service Directory or the
On Demand Consultation List
to connect with the MHLS staff person best able to help you. 


To stay up-to-date on the latest news, subscribe to the weekly MHLS Bulletin.  


Don't see what you need?Just ask! 



Rebekkah Smith Aldrich
Coordinator for Library Growth & Sustainability
Mid-Hudson Library System