Register now for ALTAFF's Trustee Academy

For Immediate Release
Mon, 03/28/2011


Jillian Kalonick

PHILADELPHIA – The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) is pleased to offer The Trustee Academy, a series of online courses to help library Trustees become exceptionally proficient in their roles on behalf of their libraries.

“I’m very excited that our organization can offer this tremendous learning opportunity to Trustees across the country,” said ALTAFF Executive Director Sally Gardner Reed. “The curriculum is comprehensive, and the presenters are outstanding. I know that directors are often strapped for time, and this helps them orient and educate their Trustees. In addition, sometimes an outside ‘expert’ can better convince Trustees about the limits of their roles when it comes to governance versus management. ”

Taught by professionals in the field, the courses are available for individual registration or as a full curriculum with discounted pricing per course. In addition, a Board of Trustees can sign up for further discounts. All courses are recorded webcasts, in order to allow Trustees flexibility in completing the courses, which can be viewed on an individual basis or in a group setting.

“I love that I can complete the Trustee Academy courses on my time,” said Kirsten Prickett, Trustee, Jensen Memorial Library, Minden, Neb. “I'm not able to attend traditional classes, so this format is very helpful and convenient. ” 

In addition to the recorded webcasts, Trustees are provided with discussion questions and access to a list of questions and answers to further enhance their learning outcome. Certificates of completion are provided for each course.

Those completing the Trustee Academy series have commented on the value, convenience and quality of the series.

“I enjoyed every minute of instruction… I cannot believe that I finished the entire series today,” said Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch, president, Board of Trustees, Birmingham (Ala.) Public Library. “Thank you for having the vision to prepare webcasts for Trustees.”

“It’s fantastic that ALTAFF is offering the Trustee Academy – it’s a great bargain,” said Shawna Thorup, executive director of Fayetteville (Ark.) Public Library.

The Trustee Academy webcast “Trustee Basics, Part I” covers the role of the Trustee in the community, who speaks for the Trustees, governing vs. advisory boards, holding effective board meetings (getting consensus, open meeting laws, parliamentary procedure, etc.) and board self-assessment. This course is led by Lynn Stainbrook, director of the Brown County Library in Green Bay, Wis.

“Trustee Basics, Part II” covers understanding and setting policy, understanding and supporting intellectual freedom and patron privacy, meeting state standards, Trustee liability and fiduciary responsibilities, considering D&O insurance and Trustee ethics. This course is also led by Stainbrook.

“Working Effectively with the Library Director” covers understanding and respecting the different roles, evaluating a library director’s performance and hiring a new library director. This course is led by Peggy Danhof, ALTAFF past president and president of the Board of Trustees of the Fountaindale Public Library in Bolingbrook, Ill., and Vicky Trupiano, director of the Fountaindale Public Library. 

“The Library’s Budget” covers learning and understanding how your library is funded, understanding how spending decisions are made and who is authorized to make them, understanding the library’s financial reports, making powerful budget presentations and developing auxiliary funding sources. This course is led by Christine Lind Hage, Public Library Association (PLA) past president and director of the Rochester Hills Public Library in the greater Detroit area.

“Advocating for Your Library” covers sowing the ground with excellent public awareness and great service, how to design an advocacy campaign, collaborating with stakeholders such as Friends and patrons and implementing the campaign. This course is led by Carol Brey-Casiano, information resource officer for the U.S. Department of State, ALA past president, and former director of the El Paso (Texas) Public Library System.

Among the feedback ALTAFF has received:

  • “This series is great! We will be using it to bring new members up to speed. In addition, I am chair of our state’s Trustee division for the state library association and will be recommending this to our members.”
  • “Reminded me of some important points — I am previewing this for new Trustees and think it will be invaluable!” (Trustee Basics, Part II)
  • “It was a great tool especially for newer Trustees... (It) gave a point of conversation that will make my job easier. Many times board members do not trust what a director says, here it was in black and white from an outside source!” (Advocating for Your Library)

Cost per course:

  • $30 per person for ALTAFF members (individual and group).
  • $40 per person for non-members.
  • $100 per board for ALTAFF members (individual and group).
  • $125 per board for non-members. 

Cost for the series of five courses:

  • $115 per person for ALTAFF members (individual and group).
  • $150 per person for non-members.
  • $225 per board for ALTAFF (individual and group).
  • $300 per board for non-members.

More information, including registration, is available on the ALTAFF website at


ALTAFF is a division of the American Library Association that supports citizens who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries. ALTAFF brings together library Trustees, advocates, Friends, and Foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. For more information, visit, or contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or