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Open Meetings Law: Home


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.


Key Provisions of OML

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.

Executive Session

  • There are eight areas that may be discussed in executive session.  Several of them apply more directly to law enforcement. Below are the areas that may pertain to library boards – the full list is online here:       
    • Discussions regarding proposed, pending or current litigation;
    • Collective negotiations pursuant to Article 14 of the Civil Service Law (the Taylor Law);
    • The medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation;
    • The proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or sale or exchange of securities held by such public body, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value thereof.
  • Votes to appropriate public funds cannot take place in executive session.

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.

4CLS Director