Bylaws

STEVENS COUNTY LIBRARY

ARTICLE I.  NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION

This organization shall be called “The Board of Trustees of the Stevens County Library,” existing by virtue of the provisions of K.S.A.12-1222, with powers and duties as provided in K.S.A. 12-1215 and K.S.A. 12-1225 of the laws of the State of Kansas.

ARTICLE II.  MISSION

The mission of the Stevens County Library is to provide resources and services necessary to meet the evolving educational, recreational, technological, and informational needs and interests of the community.

ARTICLE III.  MEMBERS OF THE LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Section I.  Members

In accordance with Kansas Law, the Library Board of Trustees of the Stevens County Library shall consist of five members appointed by the Stevens County Board of Commissioners (K.S.A.12-1222).  In addition to the appointed members, the Chairman of the County Commissioners shall be an ex-officio member of the board which means that by virtue of the office or position, the Commissioner is a member. Attorney General Opinion 79-94 states that the mayor may vote even though an ex-officio member. Ex-officio refers to one who is a member by virtue of title to a certain office and has the same rights, privileges, powers and duties as members duly appointed.  Board of Trustees members must be residents of Stevens County.  Board of Trustees members do not receive compensation for their service as such, but shall be allowed their actual and necessary expenses in attending meetings and in carrying out their duties as members.  Vacancies as occasioned by resignation or otherwise shall be filled by appointment for the unexpired term.  The Board of Trustees shall communicate to the County Commission details of a vacancy along with its recommendation for a successor.

Section II.  terms

Terms expire April 30 with new appointees taking office May 1 or the regular May meeting which is the Annual Meeting.  Original appointments are for staggered four-year terms as specified by Kansas Law.  After two consecutive terms, a person is not eligible for reappointment until one year has elapsed.

 

Section III.  officers

The officers of this Board of Trustees shall consist of a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer.  Additionally, a Representative may be appointed to serve on the Executive Board of the Southwest Kansas Library System, Dodge City, Kansas, whose duties shall be those usually pertaining to these offices.  If no Representative is appointed from the Board, the Library Director may serve as the System Representative.

ARTICLE IV.  BOARD OF TRUSTEES RESPONSIBILITY

The Board of Trustees has the responsibility of making and directing the policy of the Stevens County Library, in accordance at all times with the statutes of the State of Kansas.  Its responsibilities include promotion of library interests, securing of adequate funds to carry on the work satisfactorily, and the administration and control of library funds, property, and equipment.

ARTICLE V.  MEETINGS

Section I.  Regular Meetings.

The regular meeting shall be held monthly on the second Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m., unless otherwise ordered by the Board of Trustees Chairman.  Unless waived, written notice of each regular meeting shall be mailed to each member of the Board of Trustees not less than three (3) days prior to such meeting date.  If unable to attend, members should notify the Chairman or the Library Director.  Revised 09/11/2007

Section II.  Special Meetings.

Special meetings shall be called at any time by the Chairman or at the written request of a majority of the members.  Written notice stating time and place of any special meeting and the purpose for which called shall, unless waived, be given each member of the Board of Trustees at least two (2) days in advance of such meeting, and no business other than that stated in the notice shall be transcribed at such meeting.

Section III.  Annual Meeting.

The annual meeting shall be the regularly scheduled meeting in May.  At this time the new Board of Trustees Members shall be seated and the election of officers shall take place.

 

Section IV.  Meetings

Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern the proceedings of the Board of Trustees, with the exception of the order of business, which shall be as follows:

  1. Call to Order
  2. Introductions
  3. Agenda Approval
  4. Minutes
  5. Correspondence
  6. Financial Report, Check Summary, Receipts and Disbursements
  7. Reports
  8. Unfinished Business
  9. New Business
  10. Executive Session
  11. Adjournment

Section V.    KOMA

All Stevens County Library Board of Trustees meetings are subject to the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA), K.S.A. 75-4317 et seq.

ARTICLE VI.  ATTENDANCE

Section I.  Quorum

Three (3) members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

Section II.  Temporary Officers

In the absence of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the members present shall elect a temporary Chairman.

 

Section III.  Absences

Board members should attend all board meetings. Any board member who is absent from three consecutive board meetings or misses more than six meetings in a calendar year shall forfeit his/her appointment and a new board member will be appointed according to the procedure outlined in “Terms and Appointments for Board Members.”  Board members who will be absent from a meeting should notify the Chair or Library Director prior to the meeting.

ARTICLE VII.  AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS

These by-laws may be repealed, amended, or revised at any regular meeting of the Board of Trustees by a quorum, providing, however, that such proposed repeal, amendment or revision shall first be submitted in writing at a regular meeting of the Stevens County Library Board of Trustees and sent to those members not present.  Such proposal shall not be acted upon prior to a subsequent regular meeting of the Stevens County Library Board of Trustees and notice of intended repeal, amendment or revision shall be included in the notice of such meeting.

ARTICLE VIII.        LIBRARY DIRECTOR

Section I.  Selection

The Board of Trustees shall select a Library Director who shall be the administrative officer under the direction and review of the Board of Trustees.  The Library Director shall be responsible for the employment and direction of the staff in accordance with the personnel policy in the library’s policy manual as adopted by the Board of Trustees for the efficiency of the library’s service to the public, for the operation of the library under the financial conditions set forth in the annual budget, and for such responsibilities as are delegated to the library director by the Board of Trustees.  The Library Director shall attend all regular and special Board of Trustees Meetings.

1.                  Section II.  Purchasing

The Library Director is authorized routine articles and supplies.  Each capital purchase costing more than five hundred dollars shall have Board of Trustees approval.

Rev. 07/14/2008

 

OPEN MEETINGS

All public library Board of Trustees meetings are subject to the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA), K.S.A. 75-4317 et seq.  That statute defines a meeting subject to the act as a prearranged gathering by a majority of a quorum for the purpose of discussing business or the affairs of the body

Chance meetings are not subject to KOMA.  However, informal discussions after or during recesses of a public meeting, telephone calls, email correspondence, “work sessions” or meetings even though not officially “called” or announced by the Board of Trustees may be in violation of the open meetings act.

A quorum means one more than half the number of members.  For example, a quorum of a seven-member Library Board of Trustees is four and a majority of a quorum is three; a quorum of a five-member Board of Trustees is three and a majority is two.  Joint meetings between representatives of different bodies are subject to the open meetings act if a majority of a quorum of any one body is present.  Attorney General Opinion 95-112 amplifies the issue of a quorum:  “The membership of each body should be considered when determining if a majority of a quorum is present at a given discussion on the business of that body.”

Binding action is not necessary to discuss business.  Meeting includes all gatherings at all stages of the decision-making process.  Retreats and meetings held in private clubs are usually prohibited, especially if the site makes it impossible to attend without cost to the public.  Members attending a conference where items of general interest are discussed are not in violation of the open meetings act.

PUBLICATION AND NOTIFICATION

Attorney General Opinion 95-112 states: “Notice of meetings of bodies subject to KOMA should be provided to the requestors of such notice.”  Meetings must be published in advance.  Persons or groups who want special notification must request that notice be made.  That request expires at the end of each fiscal year and must be reviewed, but the Board of Trustees must first notify the party or parties of its expiration before terminating notices.  An oral request is valid.  Residency of the requestor is not a factor.  Notice can be written or oral, but publications in the newspaper is not sufficient to fulfill notification requirements.  Attorney General Opinion 96-14 adds:  “K.S.A. 75-4318 requires that actual notice of regular and special meetings subject to the Kansas Open Meetings Act…be individually provided to those persons requesting such notice.  If there is not intent to subvert the KOMA, a meeting subject to that act may be adjourned, recessed or continued to another date, time or place.  The notice requirements and intent of the KOMA are violated by giving notice that a meeting will begin on one day and then subsequently continuing that meeting to another day without making a good faith attempt to provide notice of the new date, time and place to those requesting notice.

 

CONDUCT OF OPEN MEETINGS

There is no requirement for an agenda at an open meeting, but if one is made it must be made available to the public.  The public has a right to be present at a public meeting, but there is no right to be placed on the agenda or to speak unless the person or persons are on the agenda.  Binding action by secret ballot is not allowed.  Subject to reasonable rules, cameras and recording devices must not be allowed at open meetings.  The open meeting must be accessible to the public, but a telephone conference call is allowed if the requirements are met.

EXECUTIVE SESSIONS

An open meeting must be held before the Board of Trustees can recess into executive session.  There must be a formal motion to go into executive session, stating the justification for the closure, the subject of discussion, and the time and place the open meeting will resume.  The motion must be seconded and carried and recorded in the minutes.  Only the announced subject of discussion may be discussed in executive session.

Failure to meet the requirements of KOMA may result in voiding of any actions taken; an injunction brought by any person, the attorney general or county or district attorney; and recall or ouster from office.

 

LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS

  1. The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
  2. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves.  Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  3. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues.  Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  4. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  5. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  6. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of his origin, age, background or views.
  7. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Last modified 09/10/98

 

FREEDOM TO READ

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy.  It is under attack.  Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove books from sale, to censor our textbooks, to label “Controversial” books, to distribute lists of “Objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries.  These actions apparently arise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals.  We, as citizens devoted to the use of books and as librarians and publishers responsible for dissemination of them, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

We are deeply concerned about these attempts at suppression.  Most such attempts rest on a denial of the fundamental promise of democracy; that the ordinary citizen, by exercising his critical judgment, will accept the good and reject the bad.  The censors, public and private, assume that they should determine what is good and what is bad for their fellow citizens.

We do trust Americans to recognize propaganda and to reject obscenity.  We do not believe they need the help of censors to assist them in this task.  We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them.  We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

We are aware, of course, that books are not alone in being subjected to efforts at suppression.  We are aware that these efforts are related to a larger pattern of pressure being brought against education, the press, films, radio and television.  The problem is not only one of actual censorship.  The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of uneasy change and prevailing fear.  Especially when so many of our apprehensions are directed against an ideology, the expression of a dissident idea becomes a thing feared in itself, and we tend to move against it as against a hostile deed, with suppression.

And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such time of social tension.  Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain.  Freedom keeps open the path of mobile and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice.  Every silencing of a hearsay or every enforcement of an orthodoxy diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with stress.

Now as always in our history, books are among our greatest instruments of freedom.  They are almost the only means for making generally available ideas of manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience.  They are the natural medium for the new ideas and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth.  They are essential to the extended discussion which serious thought requires and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collection.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture.  We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend.  We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the reader to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution.  Those with faith in free men will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

IT IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST FOR PUBLISHERS AND LIBRARIANS TO MAKE AVAILABLE THE WIDEST DIVERSITY OF VIEWS AND EXPRESSIONS, INCLUDING THOSE WHICH ARE UNORTHODOX OR UNPOPULAR WITH THE MAJORITY.

Creative thought, by definition is new, and what is new is different.  The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until his idea is refined and tested.  Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept which challenges the established orthodoxy.  The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them.  To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process.  Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these.  We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

PUBLISHERS AND LIBRARIANS DO NOT NEED TO ENDORSE EVERY IDEA OR PRESENTATION CONTAINED IN THE BOOKS THEY MAKE AVAILABLE.  IT WOULD CONFLICT WITH THE PUBLIC INTEREST FOR THEM TO ESTABLISH THEIR OWN POLITICAL, MORAL OR AESTHETIC VIEW AS THE SOLE STANDARD FOR DETERMINING WHAT BOOKS SHOULD BE PUBLISHED OR CIRCULATED.

Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of mind and the increase of learning.  They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought.  The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church.  It is wrong that what one man can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

IT IS CONTRARY TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST FOR PUBLISHERS OR LIBRARIANS TO DETERMINE THE ACCEPTABILITY OF A BOOK SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE PERSONAL HISTORY OR POLITICAL AFFILIATIONS OF THE AUTHOR.

A book should be judged as a book.  No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators.  NO society of free men can flourish which draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

THE PRESENT LAWS DEALING WITH OBSCENITY SHOULD BE VIGOROUSLY ENFORCED.  BEYOND THAT, THERE IS NO PLACE IN OUR SOCIETY FOR EXTRA-LEGAL EFFORTS TO COERCE THE TASTE OF OTHERS, TO CONFINE ADULTS TO THE READING MATTER DEEMED SUITABLE FOR ADOLESCENTS, OR TO INHIBIT THE EFFORTS OR WRITERS TO ACHIEVE CREATIVE EXPRESSION.

To some, much of modern literature is shocking.  But is not much of life itself shocking?  We cut off literature at the source if we prevent serious artists from dealing with the stuff of life.  Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experience in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves.  These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared.  In these matters taste differs, and taste cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised which will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.  We deplore the catering to the immature, the retarded or the maladjusted taste.  But those concerned with freedom have the responsibility of seeing to it that each individual book or publication, whatever its contents, price or method of distribution, is dealt with in accordance with due process of law.

IT IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST TO FORCE A READER TO ACCEPT WITH ANY BOOK THE PREJUDGMENT OF A LABEL CHARACTERIZING THE BOOK OR AUTHOR AS SUBVERSIVE OR DANGEROUS.

It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group.  In a free society each individual is free to determine for himself what he wishes to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members.  But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of policies or morality upon other members of a democratic society.  Freedom is not freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive.

IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PUBLISHERS AND LIBRARIANS TO GIVE FULL MEANING TO THE FREEDOM TO READ BY PROVIDING BOOKS THAT ENRICH THE QUALITY OF THOUGHT AND EXPRESSION.  BY THE EXERCISE OF THIS AFFIRMATIVE RESPONSIBILITY BOOKMEN CAN DEMONSTRATE THAT THE ANSWER TO A BAD BOOK IS A GOOD ONE, THAT THE ANSWER TO A BAD IDEA IS A GOOD ONE.

The freedom to read is of little consequence when expended on the trivial; it is frustrated when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for his purpose.  What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said.  Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth.  The defense of their freedom and integrity, and the enlargement of their service to society require of all bookmen the utmost of their faculties and deserve of all citizens the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations.  We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of books.  We do so because we believe they are good, possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free.  We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons.  We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant.  We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society.  Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

 

INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM STATEMENT

The heritage of free men is ours.

In the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, the founders of our nation proclaimed certain fundamental freedoms to be essential to our form of government.  Primarily among these is the freedom of expression, specifically the right to publish diverse opinions and the right to unrestricted access to those opinions.  As citizens committed to the full and free use of all communications media and as professional persons responsible for making the content of those media accessible to all without prejudice, we wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of freedom of expression.

Through continuing judicial interpretations of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, full freedom of expression has been guaranteed.  Every American who aspires to the success of our experiment in democracy—who has faith in the political and social integrity of free men—must stand firm on those Constitutional guarantees of essential rights.  Such Americans can be expected to fulfill the responsibilities implicit in those rights.

  1. We will make available to everyone who needs or desires them the widest possible diversity of views and modes of expression, including those which are strange, unorthodox, or unpopular.

Creative thought is, by its nature, new.  New ideas are always different and, to some people, distressing and even threatening.  The creator of every new idea is likely to be regarded as unconventional—occasionally heretical—until his idea is first examined, then refined, then tested in its political, social, or moral applications.  The characteristic ability of our governmental system to adapt to necessary change is vastly strengthened by the option of the people to choose freely from among conflicting opinions.  To stifle nonconformist ideas at their inception would be to end the democratic process.  Only through continuous weighing and selection from among views can free individuals obtain the strength needed for intelligent, constructive decisions and actions.  In short, we need to understand not only what we believe, but why we believe as we do.

  1. We need not endorse every idea contained in the materials we produce and make available.

We serve the educational process by disseminating the knowledge and wisdom required for the growth of the mind and the expansion of learning.  For us to employ our own political, moral, or esthetic views as standards for determining what materials are published or circulated conflicts with the public interest.  We cannot foster true education by imposing on others the structure and content of our own opinions.  We must preserve and enhance the people’s right to a broader range of ideas than those held by any librarian or publisher or church or government.  We hold that it is wrong to limit any person to those ideas and that information another believes to be true, good, and proper.

  1. We regard as irrelevant to the acceptance and distribution of any creative work the personal history or political affiliations of the author or others responsible for it or its publication.

A work of art must be judged solely on its own merits.  Creativity cannot flourish if its appraisal and acceptance by the community is influenced by the political views or private lives of the artists or the creators.  A society that allows blacklists to be compiled and used to silence writers and artists cannot exist in a free society.

  1. With every available legal means, we will challenge laws or governmental action restricting or prohibiting the publication of certain materials or limiting free access to such materials.

Our society has no place for legislative efforts to coerce the taste of its members, to restrict adults to reading matter deemed suitable only for children, or to inhibit the efforts of creative persons in their attempts to achieve artistic perfection.  When we prevent serious artists from dealing with truth as they see it, we stifle creative endeavor at its source.  Those who direct and control the intellectual development of our children—parents, teachers, religious leaders, scientists, philosophers, statesmen—must assume the responsibility for preparing young people to cope with life as it is and to face the diversity of experience to which they will be exposed as they mature.  This is an affirmative responsibility that cannot be discharged easily, certainly not with the added burden of curtailing one’s access to art, literature, and opinion.  Tastes differ.  Taste, like morality, cannot be controlled by government, for governmental action, devised to suit the demands of one group, thereby limits the freedom of all others.

  1. We oppose labeling any work of literature or art, or any persons responsible for its creation, as subversive, dangerous, or otherwise undesirable.

Labeling attempts to predispose users of the various media of communication, and to ultimately close off a path to knowledge.  Labeling rests on the assumption that persons exist who have special wisdom, and who, therefore, can be permitted to determine what will have good and bad effects on other people.  But freedom of expression rests on the premise of ideas vying in the open marketplace for acceptance, change, or rejection by individuals.  Free men choose this path.

  1. We, as guardians of intellectual freedom, oppose and will resist every encroachment upon that freedom by individuals or groups, private or official.

It is inevitable in the give-and-take of the democratic process that the political, moral, and esthetic preferences of a person or group will conflict occasionally with those of others.  A fundamental premise of our free society is that each citizen is privileged to decide those opinions to which he will adhere or which he will recommend to the members of a privately organized group or association.  But no private group may usurp the law and impose its own political or moral concepts upon the general public.  Freedom cannot be accorded only to selected groups for it is then transmuted into privilege and unwarranted license.

  1. Both as citizens and professionals, we will strive by all legitimate means open to us to be relieved of the threat of personal, economic, and legal reprisals resulting from our support and defense of the principles of intellectual freedom.

Those who refuse to compromise their ideals in support of intellectual freedom have often suffered dismissals from employment, forced resignations, boycotts of products and establishments, and other invidious forms of punishment.  We perceive the admirable, often lonely, refusal to succumb to threats of punitive action as the highest form of true professionalism:  dedication to the cause of intellectual freedom and the preservation of vital human and civil liberties.

In our various capacities, we will actively resist incursions against the full exercise of our professional responsibility for creating and maintaining an intellectual environment that fosters unrestrained creative endeavor and true freedom of choice and access for all members of the community.

We state these propositions with conviction, not as easy generalizations.  We advance a noble claim for the value of ideas, freely expressed, as embodied in books and other kinds of communications.  We do this in our belief that a free intellectual climate fosters creative endeavors of enormous variety, beauty, and usefulness, and thus worthy of support and preservation.  We recognize that application of these propositions may encourage the dissemination of ideas and forms of expression that will be frightening or abhorrent to some.  We believe that what people read, view, and hear is a critically important issue.  We recognize, too, that ideas can be dangerous.  It may be, however, that they are effectually dangerous only when opposing ideas are suppressed.  Freedom, in its many facets, is a precarious course.  We espouse it heartily.