D. Liability and Indemnification
Although suits brought against library board members are not common, members
are at risk and need to protect themselves. Even if a lawsuit is without merit, the library
may still incur costs to defend its board against legal action.
If advisory, the library board should check with the local governing authority to
determine if members are shielded from personal liability. Governing boards can protect themselves by purchasing directors and officers liability insurance for members and employees.
Liability suits against library trustees can arise from:
• Violations of the Open Meetings Act or the Freedom of Information Act;
• Acts in excess of authority;
• Error in acts;
• Conflict of interest;
• Negligence; and
• Intentional violations of civil law against a person or their property.