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

2014 Libraries Responding [1]

Change from
2013 to 2014

Percentage
of Libraries
Meeting
Minimum
Standard

Yes

No

Yes

1. Bylaws

756

0

0

100%

2. Plan

752

4

0

99.4%

3. Community Report

755

1

0

99.9%

4. Policies

756

0

0

100.0%

5. Budget

756

0

0

100.0%

6. Measures Collection

756

0

0

100.0%

7. Hours Open

753

3

+1

99.6%

8. Facilities

a. space

751

5

0

99.3%

b. lighting

755

1

0

99.9%

c. shelving

752

4

0

99.4%

d. seating

751

5

0

99.3%

e. restroom

755

1

0

99.9%

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

6

100.0%

11. Paid Director meeting CR 90.8

747

9

+1

98.8%

[1] 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 2014 based on information provided by public library systems, updating information from the 2013 annual reports.

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.

See also Helpful Information for Meeting Minimum Public Library Standards

Last Updated: April 7, 2015 -- asm