RAILS Board Member Job Description

RAILS Board member qualifications

Reaching Across Illinois Library System Board members must be legal residents of the geographic region served by RAILS. Board members should hold a current card from their local public library and should be active library users.

RAILS Board member responsibilities

One of the Board's primary responsibilities is selecting the RAILS Executive Director. By statute, the Executive Director hires RAILS staff, subject to Board approval.

Each director's unique perspective and expertise serves to enrich Board deliberations. To help the Board reach balanced, equitable decisions, Board members are responsible for representing the overall interests and needs of RAILS as a whole rather than individual libraries, specific communities, regions, or a particular institution.

The RAILS Board meets at least nine times a year in locations throughout the RAILS service area. Per Illinois Open Meetings Act requirements, RAILS Board members may participate in meetings via videoconference. RAILS Board assignments include:

  1. Monitoring the system's finances and the overall financial health of the system, and approving all budgets and expenditures
  2. Reviewing RAILS policies and revising them as needed
  3. Advocating for libraries, upholding intellectual freedom and promoting legislation of benefit to libraries
  4. Maintaining open lines of communication with the RAILS membership

RAILS Board member job duties

RAILS Board members fulfill their responsibilities by:

  1. Regularly attending Board meetings and related meetings
  2. Actively participating in Board and committee work, and in the Board's annual evaluation and planning efforts
  3. Volunteering for and willingly accepting assignments, and then completing them thoroughly and on‐time
  4. Preparing for Board meetings by reviewing and commenting on minutes and reports, and staying informed about Board matters
  5. Getting to know other Board members and building collegial working relationships that contribute to consensus
  6. Maintaining familiarity with Illinois library system laws, the Freedom of Information Act, the Open Meetings Act (OMA), the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act, the State Official and Employees' Ethics Act, and with Robert's Rules of Order
  7. Completing OMA training and certification from the Office of the Illinois Attorney General once within 90 days of being seated on the Board and filing a copy of the certificate of completion with RAILS.