Trustee

Winter 2011

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

News from the State Librarian

From the Desk of Bernard A. Margolis, State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries

Winter 2011 issue of Trustee

Oaths of Office – Is Your Board in Compliance with Public Officer’s Law?

An important reminder for library trustees and library directors is that New York State Public Officer’s Law requires public officials to take an Oath of Office and file it within a timely fashion, or the position automatically becomes VACANT.  Many library trustees are considered to be public officials.  Please make sure that the trustees on your board are taking and filing the oath of office, if they are required by law to do so.

The oath of office must be taken and filed by appointed and elected trustees of all types of PUBLIC LIBRARIES (village, town, city, county, special legislative district public and school district public libraries), and public library systems (with the exception of the three consolidated public library systems in New York City which are classified as association libraries).  Association libraries are not affected.

Unsure as to whether your library is legally considered to be an association library or a public library? Here is how you can find out:

1. Visit the State Library’s website at  http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/libs/publibs/index.html .

2. Find your public library. 

3. Find the abbreviation code next to the library’s name (such as ACi, PT, PSD) which indicates the type of library. The library’s charter (incorporation) paperwork and annual report also include this information.

The Oath of Office must be taken and filed with the county clerk within 30 days after commencement of the trustee’s term or the position is deemed VACANT.  Town library trustees have the option of filing the oath with either the office of the county clerk or the town clerk.

For more details about Oaths of Office, please review the fact sheet on the State Library’s website: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/pltrust/oath.htm   If after visiting the State Library’s website, there are still questions about whether or not Public Officers Law applies to your library, please ask your library director to contact the library system director for assistance.

In these times of increased public expectations for accountability, many publicly funded institutions are under additional scrutiny. If a library board is out of compliance with Public Officers Law, this unfortunate situation could potentially place the library’s funding in jeopardy.  If there is a compliance issue, the library director should contact the public library system director immediately. The library system will assist the library in working with the State Library to correct the situation as expeditiously as possible.


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