Fall 2017

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

Designing a Policy Development Template

Fall 2017 issue of Trustee

Policy development is a hard enough task to begin with, so simplify your starting point. Design a standard policy format and process - a "policy development template." This will not only improve policy organization and make it easier to seek out policies, reference and update them - it will also make it easier for library staff and patrons to understand them. Additionally, it will ease the pathway for those who write the policies.

Example "Policy Development Template":
First, answer the following questions...
Step 1:Why do you need to create a policy?
Step 2: Do you already have a similar policy which just needs to be updated or modified?
Step 3: Do you have a specific person (such as a "Policy Chair") designated to draft a policy, to do policy research (such as looking through LTA's Policy Database), and to check state/federal laws?
Once the previous steps have been completed, it should be easier to move on to the actual writing of the policy. Written below, is a commonly used template to help organize thoughts, and to help compose a strong, coherent policy:

Commonly suggested tips:
  1. The same policy template should be used for each policy that is created.
  2. Language used should be concise, simple and consistent (e.g. If a collection development policy refers to "weeding," it shouldn't be called "de-selection" in a different policy).
  3. Each policy should look similar in appearance (including font, font size, heading sizes, etc.)
  4. Policies should be organized by a table of contents in a hierarchy and grouped with policies in the same general category.
  5. Use policy numbers to help show relationships (e.g. A personnel policy might be titled "3.1 Duties of a Library Director," while the next might be titled "3.2 Evaluation of a Library Director").
  6. All policies should be able to stand on their own and each policy should start on separate page to help aid understanding, enforcement, retrieval and updating.

    APPLICATION: (Who does the policy affect - patrons, personnel, only certain personnel, trustees?)
    STATEMENT OF PURPOSE (sometimes alternatively worded "NEED FOR POLICY"):(This often refers back to the library's mission Statement. Occasionally the library’s mission statement is included as a reference. This section not only serves as a reminder to patrons and staff as to why this policy is important, but reminds those who are drafting the policy to keep the library's mission in mind.)
    POLICY: (The text of the policy.)
    RESPONSIBILITY: (Who will be responsible for ensuring policy compliance? Who will be responsible for drafting necessary procedures to ensure that the policy is properly and successfully implemented? )
    APPROVED: DD/MM/YYYY by the "X" Library Board of Trustees
    REVISED: DD/MM/YYYY by the "X" Library Board of Trustees
    REVIEWED BY/ON: (Legal Counsel and/or by a designated person after a period of time)

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