Richmond County Public Library

Virginia Law Concerning Library Boards of Trustees

Describes the legal responsibilities of Library Boards of Trustees

Title 42.1, Chapter 1 of the Code of Virginia ( defines the legal requirements and obligations for public entities operating public libraries. As a requirement for receiving State aid the entities (counties, cities, etc.) operating public libraries must set their libraries up with governing boards of trustees. The members are appointed by the local governments for four year terms. Members of the boards are not compensated for their services and may serve only two consecutive terms. The terms of the members are staggered to assure continuity of library operations.

The Boards’ basic responsibilities include assuring that libraries are operated in a manner that best suites the needs of their communities. Boards are charged with hiring and evaluating the performance of Librarians, evaluating the operations of libraries, monitoring the expenditures of funds, and setting policies for the operation of libraries.

The Library of Virginia (, located in Richmond, provides considerable support to the local libraries. Persons needing more detailed information about the duties of Public Library Trustees may reference the Virginia Public Library Trustee Handbook, a copy of which is available at

It should be noted that responsibilities of the Board of Trustees is also controlled by the Memorandum of Agreement between the Rappahannock Community College and the Richmond County Board of Supervisors. This Agreement created a fairly unique arrangement in Virginia, whereby the County Library is co-located with the College Library. This enables public library patrons access to a much wider range of materials and services than the County would be able to offer on its own.

This site is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. It is managed by the The Library of Virginia Library Development and Networking Division.