Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Express Browsing:

Mon-Thurs: 10-8pm

Fri: 10-5pm

Sat: 10-4pm

Board of Trustees of the Newton Free Library

Trustees By-laws




A. In accordance with Section 16-1 (a) of the Revised Ordinances of 2012, the Board of Trustees of the Newton Free Library (the Board) shall consist of seven members to be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council  for no more than two five-year terms.

B. The Board shall have charge of all the affairs of the Newton Free Library, that is, the care and control of all Library buildings and facilities, fixtures and furnishings, and the books and other holdings as well as the expenditure of all monies appropriated therefore or provided for the use and benefit of the Newton Free Library (the Library).

C. In exercising the powers and duties imposed on it by the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and by Chapter 16 of the Revised Ordinances, the Board shall:

1. Employ a competent and qualified Chief City Librarian (Library Director), subject to the requirements of the City;

2. With the advice and assistance of the Library Director, adopt written policies to govern the operation and programs of the Library, including policies relative to personnel, selection of Library materials, and services and programs in response to the needs and expressed wishes of the community;

3. Develop and maintain a long-range plan for the Library consistent with the changing needs of the community;

4. Adopt rules and regulations covering public use of the Library, pursuant to Section 16-1 (b) of the Revised Ordinances of 2012, after a duly advertised public hearing thereon;

5. Represent the Newton Free Library in its relations with the City Council and its committees;

6. Continually seek public and private support for the improvement of the Library;

7. Participate with other public and private agencies and institutions within and outside Newton in providing residents of the city with coordinated cultural, educational and recreational opportunities;

8. Accept and invest or expend bequests, devises, donations, gifts or grants to the Library or the Board, or for the use and benefit of the Library in accordance with Section 16-5 of the Revised Ordinances of 2012, and approve all expenditures from investment income therefrom, if any.

D. Absence from three consecutive meetings of the Board shall constitute sufficient cause for the Trustees, by a majority vote of the full board, to recommend to the Mayor that the absentee Trustee be removed from the Board in accordance with Chapter 7, Section 1, paragraph (4) of the Revised Ordinances of 2012.



A. The Board shall annually elect a president, vice-president and treasurer from among its members and a secretary who need not be one of its number. A nominating committee shall be appointed by the president at the July meeting of the Board and shall submit its nominations for president, vice-president and treasurer at the ensuing annual meeting in September.

B. The president, or vice-president in the president’s absence,  shall preside at all meetings of the Board, appoint all standing and ad hoc committees,  execute documents authorized by the Board and generally perform the duties usually associated with that office. The president may serve as ex officio voting member of all committees.

C. The secretary shall keep a true and accurate record of all meetings of the Board; issue notice of all regular and special meetings; assist the president in preparing the agenda for each meeting; and  perform such other duties as are usually associated with that office.

D. The treasurer shall be the financial officer of the Board and shall act for the Board in all matters relating to the receipt, custody, investment and sale of funds and other property under the control of the Board; shall disburse the income from invested funds as directed by the Board; and, at least quarterly in each fiscal year, shall report to the Board in detail on the condition of said funds. At the discretion of the Board, the treasurer may be bonded in an amount determined from time to time by the Board. The cost of such bonds shall be paid from funds of the Board.



A. Regular meetings of the Board shall be held monthly, except in August, at times, dates and locations to be determined by the Board each year at the annual meeting. Meetings shall be held in the Trustees Room in the main Library or at other locations in the city as may best serve the convenience of the public.

B. Annual meetings of the Board shall be held in September of each year for the conduct of its regular business and for the following purposes:

1. Elect a president, vice-president, treasurer and a secretary in accordance with Section 16-2 of the Revised Ordinances of 2012 to serve for one year and until a successor for each is elected;

3. Receive the annual reports of the Library Director and the treasurer;

4. Decide the times and locations at which regular meetings of the Board will be held in the ensuing year;

5. Hear the public on any matters relating to the management and the services of the Library.

C. Special meetings of the Board may be held at any time at the call of the president or at the call of any two members provided that written notice thereof shall be given to all members at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.

D. Written notice of each meeting of the Board, together with an agenda, shall be sent to all members by the secretary and made available to the public at least 48 hours in advance of a meeting or in accordance with Open Meeting Law.

E. A quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting shall consist of a majority of the Board (ie., four Trustees) which shall be present in person. Other Trustees may attend remotely and participate but not vote. In the absence of a quorum, the Trustees present may adjourn the meeting to a future date and shall send written notice of the rescheduled date to all members.

F. All actions concerning the adoption of rules, regulations and written policies of the Board; the selection of the Library Director; the disposition of real property; the naming or renaming of Library buildings and the opening, closing or relocation of the main Library or branch libraries; must be approved by a majority of the Board present and voting.

G. The order of business at each regular meeting of the Board, unless otherwise decided by the members present, may be as follows:

• Disposition of minutes of previous meeting;

• Treasurer's report, approvals of transactions;

• Announcements, correspondence, and communications;

• Committee reports;

• Report of Library Director;

• Unfinished business;

• New business;

• Discussion with public or employee visitors; 

* Adjournment 



A. In the ordinary course of business, the Board shall act as a committee of the whole.

B. The Board will have the following standing committees: finance, whose purpose is to oversee investments and finances of the Library; nominating, whose purpose is to nominate next year’s officers.

C. The president from time to time shall appoint such ad hoc committees as the business of the Board may require. Such committees shall consist of one or more Trustees and shall be considered to be discharged upon completion of the business for which the ad hoc committee was established.

D. The Board may create and appoint such Special Committees as it deems desirable. A Special Committee may consist of members of the public and library staff as well as Trustees and shall continue to pursue its mission until discharged by a vote of the board.



A. The Board shall appoint a Library Director who shall have the powers and duties provided by Section 16-3 of the Revised Ordinances of 2012.

B. The Library Director shall exercise for the Board the authority given to the Board by Section 16-4 of the Revised Ordinances to appoint librarians, assistant librarians and other employees necessary for the care and operation of the Library, provided the Bboard retains its right to rescind the delegation of such authority to the Library Director and take back such appointment rights in its discretion.

C. Acting for the Board, the Director is authorized to approve bills for payment from appropriated funds, to award contracts for any library purpose, and to report to the Building Commissioner any need for repairs or alterations of library buildings in accordance with Section 16-6 of the Revised Ordinances.

D. The Director shall attend meetings of the Board and shall assist the president in preparing agendas therefore.

E. The Director shall be responsible for the preparation and submission to the Mayor and comptroller of documents as required by the City Ordinances.

F. The Board, or a committee of Trustees, shall annually review the performance of the Library Director.  The trustees shall have the right to terminate the Library Director for cause under City ordinances. 


A. The employment of any librarian or other full-time employee not subject to Chapter 31 of the General Laws may be terminated at any time during the first 12 months of such employment by either party after two weeks’ written notice thereof. The terminated librarian or other full-time employee and the other party, on request, have the right to a written statement of the reason or cause for that termination before it takes effect.

B. Upon completion of 12 months of employment to the satisfaction of the Library Director, no such employee shall be dismissed except for lack of a sufficient appropriation, unless a written statement of the reasons for such dismissal has first been given to the employee by the Director and, if the employee so requests, he/she has been given an opportunity to be heard by the Board of Trustees whose decision on such dismissal shall be final, subject, however, to the terms of any contract between the City of Newton and such employee.



These by-laws may be amended at any regular meeting of the Board, provided that notice of the amendment has been sent to each member at least two weeks before that meeting. Any by-law, rule or resolution of the Board may be suspended temporarily in connection with business at hand, but such suspension may be taken only at a meeting at which a majority plus one member of Board is present.


Adopted by the Board of Trustees January 14, 1981.

Amended: 2/25/1987; 7/18/1995; 7/27/2016; 11/16/2011; 5/27/2020