Library Board By-Laws


A. Legislative Authority

1. The Birmingham Library Board is established under Alabama law and the Birmingham City Code to manage and control the Birmingham Public Library, its branches and all other library interests of the City. City Code Sections 2-5-71 through 2-5-78 and Section 3-3-14 are incorporated by reference into these by-laws.

2. The Board's statutory authority includes: to manage and control the Birmingham Public Library and all other library property owned by or under the control of the city; to acquire or transfer books or other real or personal property for library uses and purposes; to build or lease and maintain library buildings, branches and other facilities under its control, to provide rules and regulations for its own governance, the governance of its officials and employees and the governance of the libraries, branches and other facilities under its control; to appoint a library director, librarians, library assistants, employees, and agents as necessary for the proper administration of the library. (Section 2-5-73.)

3. The Board may authorize the City of Birmingham to act as its purchasing, disbursing and contracting agency in accordance with established policies of the City. The Board is subject to the competitive bid requirements as set out in Alabama law. (Section 3-3-14)



B. Membership, appointments

1. The library board consists of 9 members appointed by the city council to five-year terms, and who shall enter upon their duties at the first meeting of such board in January following appointment. In addition, the president of the Friends of Birmingham Public-Jefferson County Free Library, Inc., or any successor to such organization, shall at all times be an advisory nonvoting member of such board by virtue of the office. (Section 2-5-72) The Friends of Birmingham Public Library is considered by the Board to be the successor organization as specified.

2. Board members shall attend board meetings regularly and shall serve as officers and committee members as elected or appointed. After a third absence from a regularly-scheduled board meeting, during a given year, the President shall notify that board member of such absences. If a member is absent for four regularly-scheduled regular Board meetings during a given year, the Board can recommend to the City Council that such member be replaced. Board members shall have the right to petition the Board to excuse absences.

3. In the event of the death or resignation of any member of the library board prior to the expiration of his or her term of service, the City Council appoints a replacement to serve out the unexpired term. The selectee shall enter upon his or her duties at the next regular monthly meeting of the board. (Section 2-5-72)

4. Board members are limited by City law to two successive full terms. (Ordinance 90-214a)

5. The members of the library board shall receive no compensation, but in the event it is necessary duties for any member or committee of members to make any trips for inspection of library systems or buildings, to attend professional workshops or meetings, or to fulfill other responsibilities, actual traveling and living expenses on these trips shall be paid; provided, that full and detailed vouchers of these expenses shall be filed and preserved. (Section 2-5-74.) Until such time as a travel policy is adopted, this section shall apply only if funds are available for travel and expenses; the Director is responsible for informing members of funds status.

6. A board member may resign from the Board by written notice to the City Council, with copies to the Director and the President of the Board.



A. Regular meetings

1. The regular meeting of the board shall be held on the second Tuesday of each month at locations determined by the board and announced prior to the meeting. All meetings are open to the public.

2. Written notice of the board meeting will be delivered to board members at least five days before the scheduled meeting. Notice of the Board meetings shall include the tentative agenda and support materials, date, time and location of the meeting.

3. Members who are unable to attend scheduled board meetings should notify the library director. Should there occur an apparent need to cancel a regularly scheduled meeting, whether for lack of a quorum or otherwise, the library director shall notify the President and the President shall have authority to cancel such a meeting.

4. A majority of voting members of the Library Board shall constitute a quorum for transaction of business. Board members may not attend or vote by proxy.

5. The order of business for regular meetings of the board shall be:

Call to order
Presentations (may be given at any time at the discretion of the President)
Approval of Agenda
Approval of Consent Agenda

Approval of Minutes
Approval of Financial Reports
Approval of routine Personnel Actions

Operational items requiring Board approval
Reports of Committees
Unfinished Business
New Business
Director’s Report
Next meeting date

6. Agenda items considered to be routine and non-controversial may be placed on the Consent Agenda and approved by one motion. If a board member requests discussion of an item on the Consent Agenda, it will be removed from Consent and discussed at the regular place in the agenda.

7. Robert's Rules of Order, latest revised edition, shall govern the parliamentary procedure of the board.

B. Special meetings

1. Special meetings may be called by the President with the approval of at least six board members, or by action of a majority of the board at any meeting at which a quorum is present.

2. Notice of special meetings, whether oral or written, shall be given, if possible, at least three days before the meeting.

3. Only items on the announced agenda may be considered at a special meeting.

C. Annual Meeting

1. The annual meeting of the Board shall be held in February of each year.

2. At the annual meeting, yearly reports shall be presented. (Section 2-5-73)



A. Committees

1. Standing committees will include, but are not limited to the following:

Long Range Planning
Advocacy, Fundraising, and Development
Policies, Procedures and By-Laws

2. Matters requiring official Board action shall, whenever possible, be assigned first to the appropriate committee for a recommendation. In certain circumstances as specified elsewhere in these by-laws, the Committee chair shall be authorized to make a recommendation.

3. Standing and special committees shall meet as determined necessary by the committee chair. The President and the Director shall be informed in advance of all committee meetings.

4. Special committees may be appointed to oversee special projects, perform research and investigation, or other duties as the Board may determine. Such committees shall have specified duties and a specified term.

5. Standing and special committees and their chairs shall be appointed by the President.

6. Committees shall have at least three members. The President of the board shall be a member of all standing and special committees, entitled to vote only in case of a tie.

B. Election of Officers

1. The nominating committee shall recommend a president and vice president which slate shall be presented at the annual meeting. Nominations may also be submitted from the floor at the annual meeting.

2. At the annual meeting, the board members, by majority vote of those members present, shall elect from among their members a president and vice president who shall take office at the conclusion of the annual meeting. The parliamentarian will be appointed by the president.

3. Officers shall be subject to election annually. There is no limit on the number of terms to which an individual can be elected to office.

4. A vacancy in any office shall be referred to the nominating committee which shall present a nominee at the next regular or special meeting. An officer elected to fill a vacancy shall be elected for the unexpired term of his or her predecessor in office.

C. Duties and Responsibilities of Officers

1. The President shall preside at all meetings of the board, appoint all committees, authorize calls for any special meetings of the board, and generally perform the customary duties of presiding officer of the board.

2. The Vice President shall serve in the absence of the president or in the event the president is unable to serve.

3. The Parliamentarian shall advise the Board of proper procedure under Roberts' Rules of Order as well as any other governing statutes, codes or laws.

4. The library director shall be ex officio secretary of the board, and shall carefully preserve its proceedings and be responsible for the custody and safekeeping of all its archives, records and papers.

5. The director, as Secretary, shall keep an active and accurate account of all proceedings of regular and special board meetings. The library director shall review and approve the minutes of each board meeting and shall cause copies of the minutes to be distributed to each board member prior to the next board meeting.


A. The Library Director is chosen by the Board as its Chief Executive Officer, and serves at the pleasure of the Board.

B. The Director acts under the direction of the Board, but the Board can confer upon the Director the power of appointment or recommendation for Library employees, as well as other powers and authority.

C. The library director shall conduct the operation of the library, including its branches, under the direction of the library board and shall prepare, subject to the approval of the library board, rules and regulations for the use of the main library and all branches.

D. The library director shall render to the library board at the annual meeting, a report of the operations of the library system for the preceding twelve months, and whenever requested by the library board or any of its committees, such reports of current operations of the library system as may be required. (Section 2-5-75)


A. By-laws

1. The Policies, Procedures and By-Laws Committee will review by-laws and policies annually and present a report and recommendations at any regularly scheduled meetings.

2. These by-laws may be amended at any regular meeting by a majority vote, provided that the amendment shall have been submitted in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of any such meeting, or at the previous regular meeting.

3. These by-laws and any subsequent changes take effect upon approval by a majority of the Birmingham Library Board.

B. Policies

1. The Library Board shall adopt an annual budget, upon its submission by the Director and the review and recommendation of the Finance Committee.

2. All contracts, payments and financial transactions must be approved by the Board or, in the case of routine transactions as defined by the Alabama Bid Law, by the Finance Committee.

3. Routine personnel actions (hiring or termination below the level of Coordinator) shall be implemented by the Director. Written authorization of such actions shall be provided by the president of the library board. Personnel actions at the level of Coordinator or above must be approved by the Board before being implemented by the administration.

4. The Board has established as policy that all branch libraries shall be named with geographic or neighborhood designations. (10/26/95)

Adoptions and Revisions
Amended by the Birmingham City Council on May 29, 2018.
Adopted by the Birmingham Public Library Board on March 21, 1996.
Revised by the Birmingham Public Library Board on April 24, 1997.
Revised by the Birmingham Public Library Board on August 28, 2003.
Revised by the Birmingham Public Library Board on May 19, 2005.
Revised by the Birmingham Public Library Board on June 28, 2007.
Revised by the Birmingham Public Library Board on November 19, 2009.
Revised by the Birmingham Public Library Board on October 28, 2010.
Revised by the Birmingham Public Library Board on October 27, 2011.
Revised by the Birmingham Public Library Board on June 20, 2013.
Revised by the Birmingham Public Library Board on August 9, 2016.

Page Last Modified: 2/23/2022 10:45 AM