Library Board Bylaws



The Board of Trustees of the Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library shall consist of a total of nine trustees, comprised of five members appointed by the City Commission of the City of St. Joseph and four members appointed by the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph Charter Township per the contractual agreement for library services between the City of St. Joseph and St. Joseph Charter Township, dated February 7, 2005.  The term of each appointed member shall be three years.  Members are eligible for re-appointment.  Vacancies in office shall be filled in the same manner as members are appointed, to serve for the balance of that unexpired term.


The officers of the Board of Trustees shall consist of a President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary, who shall be elected at the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees, and shall hold their offices until the next annual meeting and until their successors shall have been elected and qualified.  Any vacancy in office shall be filled by election by the Board of Trustees.  No person shall hold the same office on the Library Board for more than five consecutive years.  This applies to President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, but not to the position of Trustee.


The President shall be an ex-officio non-voting member of each committee.  The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Trustees, cause to be prepared all contracts ordered by the Board of Trustees, shall appoint all committees, and shall be responsible for representation of the Board of Trustees at appropriate public and private meetings concerning the Library.  Contracts shall be executed by the President and Secretary upon the approval by the Board of Trustees.


In the absence of the President at any meeting, the Vice-President shall preside.  In the event the office of President is vacant, the Vice-President shall assume the office of President until a new President is elected and qualified.



It shall be the duty of the Secretary to keep an exact and permanent record of the proceedings of the Board of Trustees and to perform such other duties as the Board of Trustees shall direct.


The Treasurer shall be responsible for causing an accounting to be kept of the Library funds and shall report on the status of those funds each meeting.


Standing Committees shall be appointed by vote of the full Board.  Each committee shall have a clearly stated purpose approved by vote of the full Board.  Special Committees may from time to time be appointed when ordered by the Board of Trustees or the President.  All committees shall have a clearly stated purpose.


All members of the Board of Trustees may vote on all matters brought before the Board of Trustees.


The Director may dispense an amount not to exceed Two Thousand Five Hundred and 00/100 ($2,500.00) dollars without Board of Trustee approval.  The Director may expend an amount of Two Thousand Five Hundred and One and 00/100 ($2,501.00) dollars but less than Five Thousand and 00/100 ($5,000.00) dollars with the concurrent approval of the President and Treasurer.  Expenditures of Five Thousand and One and 00/100 ($5,001.00) dollars and higher require a written quote and approval by a majority of voting Library Board Trustees.


Section 1.  The annual meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Library, and the election of officers, shall be at the first regular meeting after July 1st of each year.

Section 2. Regular meetings shall be scheduled at the 1st regular meeting after July 1st.  At all meetings five Trustees shall constitute a quorum of the Board of Trustees.

Section 3.  Special meetings may be called by the Secretary upon written request of the President or any two Trustees, upon written notice thereof given not less than twenty-four hours in advance, personally or by regular mail at his/her last known postal address, to each Trustee in which notice shall be stated the subject of the meeting.  No other business shall be transacted as such meeting, except as shall have been stated in said notice.

Section 4.  Meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be held at the Library building in St. Joseph, Michigan, or such other time and place as the Board of Trustees determines.

Section 5.  At any meeting a majority vote of those present shall decide all questions except as otherwise herein provided, and the ayes and nays shall be recorded on any question before the Board of Trustees at the request of any one trustee.

Section 6.  Agendas for regular meetings shall be set by the officers of the Board of Trustees, in consultation with the Library Director, no later than one week prior to the scheduled meeting.

Section 7.  Unless otherwise restricted by the bylaws, a member of the Board or of a committee designated by the Board may participate in a meeting by means of conference telephone or similar communications equipment only as allowed in the current State law regarding the Open Meetings Act.  Any changes made to State laws shall be automatically adopted by these bylaws so that current State law controls at all times.


For the Board to function effectively, all trustees must fulfill their responsibilities.  Board members are encouraged to read and follow the Michigan Public Library Trustee Manual, October 2004 edition, (see Appendix D, p. 71), adopted by the Michigan Library Association. 

The Board of Trustees has the authority to:

Adopt bylaws and rules for the Board’s governance.
Maintain control over the building and grounds of the Library.
Control the expenditure of all funds credited to the library fund.
Appoint, supervise, evaluate, discipline or remove a Director.
Approve an annual library budget.
Adopt policies, rules and regulations regarding use of the library.

The Board of Trustees delegates to the Director the authority and responsibility for administration of the Library.  The Library Director reports to the Board of Trustees, and is accountable to it for the proper fulfillment of assigned responsibilities. 

Regular attendance at board meetings is vital to the effective functioning of the Board.  Attendance at meetings enables trustees to stay current with the activities of the library and with the condition of the library’s finances. 

In the event a board member is absent from three regularly scheduled meetings within a fiscal year, a written notice will be sent to the Board member by the Secretary of the Board.   A copy of the letter will be sent to the member’s municipality.

As a courtesy, board members are asked to notify the Board president or the Library Director if they will not be able to attend a meeting.


Any of these By Laws may be amended by vote of a majority of the total number of members of the Board of Trustees at any regular or adjourned regular meeting; notice of proposed amendments shall be given to member of the Board of Trustees at least one month prior to consideration of such amendments.

Except as herein otherwise provided, the Board of Trustees shall regulate its proceedings according to Roberts’ Rules of Order.

By-laws amended and approved at the regular meeting of the Maud Preston Palenske Library Board of Trustees on January 26, 2021.