Building on an article published in the last issue of Trustee, Part 2 provides additional information for library boards about the updated minimum standards for public and association libraries. All public and association libraries in New York State are required to comply with the updated standards by January 1, 2021.

While minimum Standards 1-5 as listed below are not brand-new requirements, there are some new aspects. First, each of these standards must be addressed in the context of the library’s long range plan. Second, each of these standards now require that the Library’s bylaws, long range plan, annual report to the community, written polices and annual budget be shared both in print and online with the library’s community (see new Standard 11 below):

By January 1, 2021 all public and association libraries are required to have and to share online with their communities:

  1.  Written bylaws of the board of trustees; reviewed and re-approved at least every five years. * Also see standard 11.
  2.  A community-based, board-approved, written long range plan of service developed by the board and staff. * Also see standard 11.
  3.  A board-approved written annual report to the community on the library’s progress in meeting its mission, goals and objectives. * Also see standard 11.
  4.  Written policies for the operation of the library, reviewed at least every five years. * Also see standard 11.
  5.  An annual, board-approved budget designed to address community needs as defined in the long range plan. * Also see standard 11

11.Here is the wording for Standard 11:

11: Each library. . . provides access to current library information in print and online, facilitating the understanding of library services, operations and governance; information provided online shall include the standards referenced in paragraphs one through five of this subdivision (standards 1 through 5).

If your library is not already posting these important documents online via the Library’s website or some other mechanism, help is available! The State Library and the Public Library System Directors Organization (PULISDO) recently refreshed the publication Helpful Information for Meeting Minimum Public Library Standards.
It is now available on the State Library’s website at http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/helpful/index.html . This is recommended reading for all library boards and library directors/managers.

SO, WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE MINIMUM STANDARDS?

The New York State Board of Regents sets standards for public and association libraries under Education Law, Section 254. Registration (Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Section 90.1), which is certified by the State Education Department, means that a chartered (incorporated) library meets the minimum standards (Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Section 90.2) for its size and is thereby qualified to receive and expend state and local public funds. Libraries are registered following Regents incorporation by charter. Once registered, each library provides an annual assurance that minimum standards are met through their annual report to the New York State Library. Questions? Please contact your library system director.

Library systems are also providing training and technical assistance to help all member libraries achieve compliance well before January 1, 2021. Questions? Check with your system director for more information.