New York State's Open Meetings Law (OML) applies to all public libraries. Read the full text here.
The New York State Committee on Open Government offers advisory opinions and more information on interpreting OML.
The public has the right to attend meetings of public bodies, listen to debate and watch the decision-making process.
Pandemic-related OML Relaxation Expired:
The relaxation of certain portions of OML through executive order expired September 12, 2022.
For a full treatment of the current rules for videoconferencing, see the Videoconferencing tab.
Notice of Meetings: Notice (date, time, and location) of meetings must be given to the public and the news media not less than 72 hours prior to the meeting. When a meeting is scheduled less than a week in advance, notice must be given to the public and the news media “to the extent practicable” at a reasonable time prior to the meeting.
Board Documents: Documents to be discussed by the board must be posted to the library's website 24 hours before the meeting.
Minutes: A record or summary of all motions, proposals, resolutions and any matters formally voted upon must be prepared after each meeting and be available within two weeks of the meeting. If votes are not unanimous, minutes must include a record of which trustees voted in favor and which did not.
Meeting Locations: Meetings should be held at a location that offers “barrier-free physical access”.
Penalties: Violating the Open Meetings Law can result in litigation. A successful lawsuit against a library under this law could result in monetary damages and the reversal of board action.
An executive session must happen within the confines of a regular board meeting.
Entry to executive session must be preceded by a motion articulating the reason for the executive session, and approval of the board.
The minutes should reflect the motion to enter executive session and the time entered and exited.