New York's Public Libraries Meet Minimum Standards

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The New York State Library is committed to improving public library services. The State Library works with libraries, library systems, associations, 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.

2012 NEW YORK STATE PUBLIC AND ASSOCIATION LIBRARIES
AND PUBLIC LIBRARY STANDARDS
Comparison Chart

Minimum
Public Library Standards
Effective January 1999

2012 Libraries Responding [1]

Change from 2011 to 2012

Change from 1987 to 2012

2012
Percentage
of Libraries
Meeting
Minimum
Standard

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

1. Bylaws

756

0

0

756

100%

2. Plan

752

4

-3

752

99.5%

3. Community Report

752

4

-3

752

99.5%

4. Policies

756

0

0

756

100.0%

5. Budget

756

0

1

756

100.0%

6. Measures Collection

756

0

0

756

100.0%

7. Hours Open

750

6

-3

238

99.2%

8. Facilities

a. space

751

5

2

751

99.3%

b. lighting

754

2

1

754

99.7%

c. shelving

753

3

4

753

99.6%

d. seating

751

5

3

751

99.3%

e. restroom

755

1

0

101

99.9%

9. Equipment

a. telephone

756

0

0

40

100.0%

b. photocopier

756

0

0

149

100.0%

c. microcomputer or terminal

756

0

0

324

100.0%

d. printer

756

0

0

367

100.0%

e. facsimile capability

756

0

0

756

100.0%

10. Printed Information

756

0

6

756

100.0%

11. Paid Director meeting CR 90.8

747

9

-3

747

98.8%

[1] Total of 756 public and association libraries in 2011 and 2012. Standards as approved by the Board of Regents, Commissioner's Regulations 90.2 effective 1/29/99. Data for these elements are current as of December 2013 based on information provided by public library systems.

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 its 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 are Public Library Systems and the State Library Helping Libraries Meet the Challenge?

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.

See also Helpful Information for Meeting Minimum Public Library Standards

Last Updated: December 13, 2013 -- asm