Halifax Public Libraries Board - Terms of Reference

Click for a copy of the full Halifax Regional Library Board By-laws.

Role of the Board

The Nova Scotia Libraries Act (hereinafter called the “Act”) regulates regional library service in the Province.  The Halifax Regional Library Board (hereinafter called the “Board”) is a corporation, separate from the Halifax Regional Municipality (hereinafter called “Halifax”) but accountable to Halifax Council through the budget review process.   The Board is composed of eleven appointed members.  Eight members are appointed by Halifax, the Mayor of Halifax is a member ex officio, and two members are appointed by the Province of Nova Scotia for a term specified by Cabinet.  The Board is empowered to acquire property, borrow, enter into agreements for the provision of regional public library service, provide library facilities and collections, and to perform such other functions as specified in the Act.  The Board is the policy-making body for the provision of regional public library service in Halifax and is the employer responsible for employee terms and conditions of employment.  The Chief Librarian / Chief Executive Officer is responsible to the Board for carrying out policy decisions, and for the administration of library operations.

The Board has established bylaws which may be changed at the pleasure of the Board and ratified at the next Annual Meeting.  Officers are the Chair and Vice-Chair, and the Chief Librarian / Chief Executive Officer is Secretary to the Board as specified in the Act.

A call for amendments to the bylaws will be made at the Board meeting on or about the month prior to the Board’s Annual Meeting.

Strategic Planning and Priorities Role

The Board’s role is to initiate and share in the development of the strategic priorities and goals for the library system, working in collaboration with the Chief Librarian / Chief Executive Officer and senior staff and to assess progress in achieving short and longer-term plans.

The Board’s role is also to ensure that there are short and long term plans for library development and that community needs are regularly assessed to ensure the appropriateness of library services.

Financial Role

The Board’s role is to oversee and approve the annual Halifax Public Libraries Operating Business Plan and Budget and Capital Budget Plan for referral to Halifax Regional Council for final approval.  It is also to oversee the Nova Scotia Provincial Grant, providing the annual audited financial report for distribution to the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage as well as the city of Halifax and to ensure that the financial resources of the Library are managed and safeguarded in accordance with recognized accounting procedures and relevant legislation, and that adequate funds are secured for the operation of the Library.  The Board ensures that capital property and assets under its stewardship are properly planned for, maintained, protected and replaced as necessary.

Human Resources Role

The Board’s role is to initiate, receive and review policy proposals and reports relating to personnel matters, labour relations and library service matters.  As the Employer, the Board is responsible for the general terms and conditions of employment for all positions within the Library and for establishing compensation policy.

Community Relations Role

The Board’s role is to represent and be an advocate for the public library system, its users and its policies and to initiate and maintain effective relationships with all levels of government and outside agencies in order to promote the Library.

As the governing body, the Board is responsible for promoting positive community relations and responding to public representations on policy matters, leaving operations matters to be managed by senior staff.

Mission of the Board

Connecting people, enriching communities, inspiring discovery.


The Board meets on the 4th Thursday of each month from September through June from 3-5 pm at the Halifax Central Library.

rev. 10/15