Minimum Standards for New York's Public Libraries

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TThe New York State Library is committed to improving public library services and works with libraries, library systems, trustees and other library advocates to help assure equivalent levels of access to library services and resources through Minimum Standards for Public Libraries in New York State.

All public and association libraries in New York State must meet 11 minimum standards of service according to Section 90.2 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. These standards support improved public library services for the people of New York and are intended to:

  • promote quality local public library service in all communities of New York State,
  • empower libraries to strengthen community relations and promote public support for quality library services, and
  • support a culture of transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement.

New York’s 11 Minimum Standards for Public Libraries

(1)  The library is governed by board-approved written bylaws which outline the responsibilities and procedures of the library board of trustees;
(2) The library has a board-approved, written long-range plan of service;
(3) The library presents an annual report to the community on the library's progress in meeting its goals and objectives;
(4) The library has board-approved written policies for its operation;
(5) The library presents annually to appropriate funding agencies a written board-approved budget which would enable the library to meet or exceed these standards and to carry out its long-range plan of service;
(6) The library periodically evaluates the effectiveness of the library's collection and services in meeting community needs;
(7) The library is open the following scheduled hours:

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

(8) The library maintains a facility to meet community needs, including adequate space, lighting, shelving, seating, and restroom;
(9) The library provides equipment and connections to meet community needs including, but not limited to telephone, photocopier, telefacsimile capability, and microcomputer or terminal with printer to provide access to other library catalogs and other electronic information;
(10) The library distributes printed information listing the library's hours open, borrowing rules, services, location and phone number;
(11) The library employs a paid director in accordance with the provisions of Section 90.8 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education:

 

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.

When Must a Library Meet the Minimum Standards?

All of the minimum standards for public libraries must be met at the time of application for a library charter or registration. Education Law requires that a library be chartered and registered in order to legally receive local and State funds. See Chartering a Public Library in New York State for further information.

What if a Library Cannot Meet Minimum Standards?

If a library cannot meet one or more of the Minimum Standards, the director or board president should contact the library system to discuss available options. Education Law and Commissioner's Regulations provide a process for libraries that cannot meet a particular standard because of circumstances beyond the library board's control.

How do Public Library Systems and the State Library Help Libraries Meet the Minimum Standards?

The Public Library System Directors Organization (PULISDO) and the New York State Library work together in a strong partnership to help public and association libraries meet the minimum standards. See Helpful Information for Meeting Minimum Public Library Standards for further information.

NEW YORK STATE PUBLIC AND ASSOCIATION LIBRARIES
AND PUBLIC LIBRARY STANDARDS
Comparison Chart 2017

Minimum
Public Library Standards
Effective January 1999

2017 Libraries Responding [1]

Change from
2016 to 2017

Percentage
of Libraries
Meeting
Minimum
Standard

Yes

No

Yes

1. Bylaws

756

0

0

100%

2. Plan

755

1

+3

99.9%

3. Community Report

756

0

+1

100%

4. Policies

756

0

0

100%

5. Budget

756

0

+1

100%

6. Measures Collection

756

0

0

100%

7. Hours Open

754

0

-2

99.7%

8. Facilities

a. space

754

2

0

99.7%

b. lighting

756

0

0

100%

c. shelving

756

0

0

100%

d. seating

754

2

0

99.7%

e. restroom

756

0

0

100%

9. Equipment

a. telephone

756

0

0

100.0%

b. photocopier

756

0

0

100.0%

c. microcomputer or terminal

756

0

0

100.0%

d. printer

756

0

0

100.0%

e. facsimile capability

756

0

0

100.0%

10. Printed Information

756

0

0

100.0%

11. Paid Director meeting CR 90.8

749

7

-1

99.1%

[1] Standards as approved by the Board of Regents, Commissioner's Regulations 90.2 effective 1/29/99.

[2] Data for these elements are current as of December 2017, based on information provided by public library systems, updating information from the 2016 annual reports.

Last Updated: 12/31/17; last reviewed May 14, 2018 -- asm