LTA Members:Get Questions Answered
Do You Have a Library Question Which Requires an Answer?
Ask Joe Eisner (click to learn more)

As part of LTA’s expansion of service to aid and assist library trustees and directors, LTA offers members an opportunity to confer with Joe Eisner, free of charge.

Joe can be contacted toll-free at 1 (866) 720-8969 or by email at (Question are handled with discretion.)

For more information about Joe Eisner’s experience and background, please click on the “Ask Joe Eisner” tab under “Resources and Links” on LTA’s website.

Please note: The following should not be construed as legal advice, for which the services of counsel should be obtained:

Question . . .   May a library board authorize the use of credit cards by patrons to pay fines, fees and other charges incurred?

Answer . . .  Yes.

Public libraries- General Municipal Law s10(a) includes public libraries in the definition of local governments subject to the General Municipal Law. As such, these governing boards may, by local law, ordinance or resolution “…determine that it is in the public interest and authorize such local government to enter into agreements with one or more financing agencies or card issuers to provide  for the acceptance…, by such officers of the local government of credit cards as a means of payment of fines, civil penalties…fees, charges,  [and] revenue….owed to the local overnment….” General Municipal Law s5(b).

The statute further provides that  the governing board,  in enacting a local law, ordinance or resolution, “…shall designate which of its officers charged with the duty of collecting or receiving moneys in behalf of local government, shall be authorized to accept credit cards as a means of payment of “…fines, rates, fees, charges, revenue, financial obligations and other amounts, including penalties….” (General Municipal Law s5(g)).

Association libraries- while not subject to the General Municipal , in accordance with the provisions of Education Law s226(10), boards of such libraries have the power to

Make all by-laws and rules necessary  and  proper  for  the   purposes of the institution and not inconsistent with law or any rule of   the  university; but no rule by which more than a majority vote shall be   required for any specified action by  the  trustees  shall  be  amended,,  suspended  or  repealed  by a smaller vote than that required for action,  there under (Education Law s226(10)).

If an association library board determines that it would be in the public interest to accept credit card payments for fines, fees and other library charges, it would be prudent to consult with library counsel for assistance in implementing this goal.

Please note: If you have any additional questions about this topic, please contact Joe Eisner at the e-mail/phone above.