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Library council asks for guidelines

Members of the Library Advisory Council say they need more specific, up-to-date information about their responsibilities than an 11-year-old document provides.

Several people on the volunteer council, which meets monthly with Palm Harbor Library director John Szabo to review library programs, said Tuesday they aren't sure what is expected of them.

And worthy volunteers who don't understand the council's role hesitate to serve on the board, said new board member Jeannette Malouf, a longtime volunteer in Palm Harbor. The council's board is appointed by the officers of the Friends of the Palm Harbor Library, a booster organization.

"I will say it: People feel uncomfortable on this board because they don't know what to do or how to do it," Malouf said. "There isn't too much of a guideline for what we're supposed to do."

The five-member advisory council's role was explained in a 1986 resolution created by the Palm Harbor Community Services Agency, which distributes about $1-million in tax money each year to recreation and library programs in the unincorporated Palm Harbor area.

That resolution asks that the Library Advisory Council come up with annual goals for the library, help the library director coordinate volunteers and services, and foster community support for the library.

But parts of that resolution appear to be outdated, and much of it is vague, said advisory council members.

Member Jeri Titus said she had never seen the resolution and instead had to ask others about the council's role. She, like Malouf, suggested the advisory council create packets describing its relationship to the Community Services Agency and what is expected of its members "so people wouldn't have to fish as I did."

The advisory council had discussed creating such packets in the past, but had gotten too busy dealing with the proposal for a library in East Lake, past advisory council chairwoman Jane Ashton said.

Advisory council members agreed Tuesday to try to clarify their duties in the coming months.