The Anne Arundel County Public Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously last month to establish a student board member position to increase opportunities for students to learn about board governance and gain real-world experience on a governing body.
The student will have the same responsibilities as the current 17 members on the board. The board of trustees is the library’s governing body comprised of volunteers representing all areas of the county: Edgewater, Severn, Annapolis, Odenton, Hanover, Pasadena, Severna Park, Linthicum, Arnold and Glen Burnie.
Their responsibilities include voting on budgets, personnel hires, setting policy and hiring executive board members — similar to the role of the student board member position on the Anne Arundel County Public School’s Board of Education.
“I am thrilled to know we’ll soon have a student trustee,” AACPL CEO Skip Auld said. “I appreciate our board taking this step to ensure we are engaged with such a key element of our constituency.”
Trustees bring a range of experiences and backgrounds They to oversee the county’s 16 library locations.
Students who attend a public, private or home school are eligible to apply, as long as the student is a rising junior or senior.
Applicants are expected to provide a resume, cover letter and well-written responses to three essay questions:
- Why are you interested in serving as a Library Board of Trustees student member?
- What do you think the role of the public library is in today’s society and specifically for teens?
- What do you think the library needs to do differently to better serve students in our county?
The student will serve on the board for one year starting in August 2023 and will end in June 2024.
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“We are looking forward this year and in future years to having many students bringing their perspectives to the board,” Auld said. “We all will benefit from learning about and from one another.”
The application deadline is April 3. To view instructions on how to submit an application visit aacpl.net/studentmember.
“The student member position provides a unique opportunity for a young person to learn about board governance, but the library and the board of trustees will also gain valuable insight into a student’s perspective on library resources, programs and materials, enabling the system to better serve its teen customers,” AACPL Board of Trustee Chairman Christopher Nelson said.
The board of trustees used to operate with 25 members on the board with at least half of those members based out of Annapolis.
As the library system expanded, former County Executive Steve Schuh worked with board of trustees Chair Donald Roland to shrink the size, but provide the necessary representation for the individual communities’ needs and dynamics.
The board voted in December 2015 to go down to 17 members. Eight members are nominated by the county executive with confirmation by the County Council for the Anne Arundel Public Library’s consideration.
“We are excited to have a student member on our team to serve as a voice for our teen population,” Christine Feldmann, AACPL’s director of communications said. “Teens use our branches tremendously as a safe place, a place to complete their academic work. We have seen them develop a strong relationship with our staff so this is just one more step in better serving our customers, especially our teen customers.”