Minimum Standards Comparison Chart

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Current Minimum Standards
through December 31, 2020
New Minimum Standards
as of January 1, 2021
A public, free association or Indian library registered on or before December 31, 2020 shall meet the following registration standards: A public, free association or Indian library seeking to register with the department on or after January 1, 2021 shall be registered with the department if it meets the registration standards set forth in this subdivision in a manner satisfactory to the commissioner. Any public, free association or Indian library that was registered by the department on or before December 31, 2020, shall meet the following registration requirements by January 1, 2021 to continue to be registered by the department:
1. is governed by written bylaws which outline the responsibilities and procedures of the library board of trustees; 1. is governed by written bylaws which define the structure and governing functions of the library board of trustees, and which shall be reviewed and re-approved by the board of trustees at least once every five years or earlier if required by law;
2. has a board-approved, written long-range plan of service; 2. has a community-based, board-approved, written long-range plan of service developed by the library board of trustees and staff;
3. presents an annual report to the community on the library's progress in meeting its goals and objectives; 3. provides a board-approved written annual report to the community on the library's progress in meeting its mission, goals and objectives, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service;
4. has board-approved written policies for the operation of the library; 4. has board-approved written policies for the operation of the library, which shall be reviewed and updated at least once every five years or earlier if required by law;
5. presents annually to appropriate funding agencies a written budget which would enable the library to meet or exceed these standards and to carry out its long-term plan of service; 5. annually prepares and publishes a board-approved, written budget, which enables the library to address the community’s needs, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service;
6. periodically evaluates the effectiveness of the library's collections and services in meeting community needs; 6. periodically evaluates the effectiveness of the library's programs, services and collections to address community needs, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service;
7. is open the following scheduled hours: see below 7. is open the following scheduled hours: see below
8. maintains a facility to meet community needs, including adequate space, lighting, shelving, seating, and restroom; 8. maintains a facility that addresses community needs, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service, including adequate space, lighting, shelving, seating, power and data infrastructure, and a public restroom;
  9. provides programming to address community needs, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service;
9. provides equipment and connections to meet community needs including, but not limited to a telephone, photocopier, telefacsimile capability, and microcomputer or terminal with printer, to provide access to other library catalogs and other electronic information; 10. provides a circulation system that facilitates access to the local library collection and other library catalogs; and provides equipment, technology, and internet connectivity to address community needs and facilitate access to information;
10. distributes printed information listing the library's hours open, borrowing rules, services, location and phone number; and 11. 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 (1) through (5) of this subdivision;
11. employs a paid director in accordance with the provisions of section 90.8 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education; (see below) 12. employs a paid director in accordance with the provisions of section 90.8 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education; (see below)
  13. provides library staff with annual technology training, appropriate to their position, to address community needs, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service; and
  14. establishes and maintains partnerships with other educational, cultural or community organizations which enable the library to address the community’s needs, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service.


Population Minimum Weekly
Hours Open
Up to 500 12
500 - 2,499 20
2,500 - 4,999 25
5,000 - 14,999 35
15,000 - 24,999 40
25,000 - 99,999 55
100,000 and above 60

Minimum Education Requirements

Population Member of a Public Library System Not a Member of a Public Library System
Below 2,500 No requirement. No requirement.
2,500 to 4,999 2 academic years of study at an approved college or university. A bachelor’s degree from an approved college or university.
5,000 to 7,499 A bachelor’s degree from an approved college or university. A public librarian’s professional certificate.
7,500 or more A public librarian’s professional certificate. A public librarian’s professional certificate.

For more information on Minimum Standards for New York's public libraries, contact your public library system, visit the New York State Library web site or contact the Division of Library Development.

Last Updated: October 10, 2019 -- sm