Open Meetings

Excerpts from the Trustee Handbook:

All public libraries in New York, including association libraries, are subject to the Open Meetings Law (SEE: Education Law SS 260a and Public Officers Law, Article 7).  This law requires that board meetings must be properly posted and advertised and open to the public.  In addition, working sessions of the board (even if they are not formal meetings) must be advertised and open if a quorum of the board is expected to attend.  Notice of all board meetings must be sent to the news media, noted on the Library’s website and posted in a public place such as the Library bulletin board.

Under Open Meetings Law when a document “is scheduled to be the subject of discussion by a public  body during an open meeting,” the legislation requires the public body, with reasonable limitations, to make the record available to the public prior to the meeting.  Optimally, the record will be made available online.  If that cannot be done, the record can be made available in paper form in response to a request.  Each library board is required by the Open Meetings Law and Education Law SS 260a to conduct its  business in public with only a few very limited exceptions.

All municipal, school district and special legislative district libraries must also conform to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).  Although association libraries do not fall under the provisions of this law, they are wise to consider such a policy since they are generally supported by public funds and are often subject to public scrutiny.