From: Mercer, Janet (DOS)
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 3:31 PM
Subject: RE: Applicability of Open Meetings law to non-profit public library system


I have received your letter in which you asked if a not-for-profit public library system is subject to the New York State Open Meetings Laws.

In this regard, the Open Meetings Law is applicable to meetings of public bodies, and §102(2) defines the phrase “public body” to mean:

"...any entity for which a quorum is required in order to conduct public business and which consists of two or more members, performing a governmental function for the state or for an agency or department thereof, or for a public corporation as defined in section sixty-six of the general construction law, or committee or subcommittee or other similar body of such public body."

Based on the foregoing, as a general matter, the Open Meetings Law pertains to governmental bodies.

In addition, that statute, which is codified as Article 7 of the Public Officers Law, is applicable to boards of trustees of public libraries pursuant to §260-a of the Education Law, which states that:

"Every meeting, including a special district meeting, of a board of trustees of a public library system, cooperative library system, public library or free association library, including every committee meeting and subcommittee meeting of any such board of trustees in cities having a population of one million or more, shall be open to the general public. Such meetings shall be
held in conformity with and in pursuance to the provisions of article seven of the public officers law. Provided, however, and notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision one of section ninety-nine of the public officers law, public notice of the time and place of a meeting scheduled at least two weeks prior thereto shall be given to the public and news media at least one week prior to such meeting."

Again, since Article 7 of the Public Officers Law is the Open Meetings Law, meetings of boards of trustees of various libraries, including public libraries that are not-for-profit corporations, must be conducted in accordance with that statute.

I hope that I have been of assistance.

Janet Mercer
Committee on Open Government
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Ave., Suite 650
Albany, NY 12231
(518) 474-2518
(518) 474-1927 - Fax