November 7, 2017: State Librarian Seeks Feedback on Proposed Changes to
Commissioner’s Regulation 90.2 Minimum Standards for Public and Association Libraries

New York Library Community Invited to Complete Online Survey by Monday, December 18, 2017


Please Review the Draft and Tell Us What You Think! 

Visit link opens in a new window  to complete this important online survey. Please note that you may only submit this survey once.

Print a sample copy of the survey in PDF format PDF icon [90k] (Note: the survey must be completed online -- link above.)

Survey Responses are due by cob Monday, December 18, 2017.

Why is this survey important?

The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries (RAC), the New York State Library, the Public Library System Directors Organization (PULISDO), the New York Library Association (NYLA), and the Library Trustees Association of New York State (LTA) are committed to improving public library services.  These statewide organizations work in partnership with each other and work with libraries, library systems, trustees and other library supporters on many important policy issues including policies that will help assure equivalent levels of access to library services and resources through Minimum Standards for Public Libraries in New York State

The library standards were last updated twenty years ago.  As described below, under PULISDO’s expert leadership, the RAC, the State Library, PULISDO, NYLA and LTA have been discussing possible updates for the minimum standards.  Success for all libraries, with improved service for customers, is one of the highest priorities of all the partner organizations that worked together in developing these new library standards.

Changes in library standards will require amendments to Commissioner’s Regulations 90.2 Standards for registration of public, free association and Indian libraries.

Together, Education Law 254 and CR90.2 provide baseline definitions of what it means to be a public and association library in New York State.  Many of New York’s libraries far exceed these new standards, as our State is home to some of the finest libraries in the nation, indeed the world.  However, for newly established libraries or those libraries that may not comply initially, the DRAFT proposed standards include provisions to help all libraries succeed in meeting these baseline definitions – including a three-year phased-in approach to implementation and provisions for variances.  In addition, a planned update of the publication Helpful Information for Libraries in Meeting Minimum Public Library Standards, targeted education programs and technical assistance for libraries from PULISDO and partners, and continued collaborative efforts to secure additional local and State funding for improving library and library system services will help to ensure success.  

How were these proposed changes developed?

Over the past two years, PULISDO has taken the lead in developing proposed changes in Minimum Standards for Public Libraries in New York State.  A PULISDO Ad-hoc Committee appointed by the PULISDO Executive Board and led by Wanda Bruchis, Mid York Library System and Rebekkah Smith-Aldrich, Mid-Hudson Library System (co-author of the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State) engaged in extensive background research and analysis, including discussions with key stakeholders such as the State Library, NYLA and LTA about ideas for proposed changes to the library standards.  Public library system directors discussed the Committee’s recommendations in depth, shared draft proposals with member libraries and partner organizations to gather input prior to the development of a final draft.  The proposed amendments to Commissioner’s Regulations reflect the outcomes of these local, regional and statewide discussions.

An initial DRAFT document dated August 31, 2017, was shared with the State’s 756 library directors and managers. The State Library received fourteen comments and, after consultation with PULISDO, NYLA and LTA, subsequently amended that initial draft document to remove a requirement in Standard 8 for assistive listening devices. The November 1, 2017, draft reflects this change.

How can I get more information?

More information about the current Minimum Standards for Public Libraries and the current provisions of CR90.2 

Questions about the current library standards, the proposed changes in the November 1 version of the DRAFT document and the development process may be directed to your public library system director.

Questions about this NYLINE message or the online survey may be directed to .

DRAFT, November 1, 2017: Proposed Changes to §90.2 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education
Standards for Registration of Public, Free Association and Indian libraries

Background: This document presents proposed amendments to CR 90.2 that address Recommendations #41 and #48 in: Creating the Future: A 2020 Vision and Plan for Library Services in New York State.

Other pertinent Creating the Future recommendations addressed in part by these proposed amendments are cited throughout. The use of the term “public library” is inclusive of public, free association and Indian Libraries.

The State Library, PULISDO (the Public Library System Directors Organization), the New York Library Association and the Library Trustees Association of New York State worked in partnership to develop these proposed amendments. Over a two-year period, PULISDO leadership engaged in background research and led discussions with key stakeholders about proposed changes to minimum standards for public libraries. Public library system directors shared draft language with member libraries to gather input. The proposed amendments to Commissioner’s Regulations presented herein are the result of those local, regional and statewide discussions.


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Current Regulation with Proposed Changes Explanation for Proposed Changes

(a) A public, free association or Indian library will be registered if it meets the following standards satisfactory to the commissioner:


(1) is governed by written bylaws which define the structure and governing functions outline the responsibilities and procedures of the library board of trustees; reviewed and re-approved at least once every five years or as required by changes in law or regulation;

(2) has a community-based, board-approved, written long-range plan of service developed by the library board and staff;

(3) provides presents an a board-approved, written annual report to the community on the library's progress in meeting its mission, goals and objectives, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service;

(4) has board-approved written policies for the operation of the library, reviewed at least every five years or as required by law or regulation;

(5) presents annually to appropriate funding agencies a written budget which would enable the library to meet or exceed these standards and to carry out its annually prepares and publishes a board-approved, written budget, which enables the library to address the community’s needs, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service;

(6) periodically evaluates the effectiveness of the library's programs, services and collections to address community needs, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service collection, programs and services in meeting community needs;

(1) Language changes to paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6) are intended to clarify the library board’s roles and responsibilities and to better align with the Handbook for Library Trustees in New York State. (Recommendations #43, 52).

(7) is open the following scheduled hours: ... (7) No change.

(8) maintains a facility that addresses community needs, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service to meet community needs, including adequate space, lighting, shelving, seating, power and data infrastructure, and a public restroom; (8) Library spaces and restrooms should be available for use by all library customers, including those with challenging physical conditions. In addition to complying with Standard 8, all public and association libraries should follow the requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities. (Recommendations #4, 28, 29)

(9) provides programming to address community needs, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service; (9) This is a new standard. In New York State, public libraries are chartered by the Board of Regents as education corporations. As members of the University of the State of New York, and as community-based education institutions, public libraries have an important and unique role to play in meeting the education needs of their communities. This includes the provision of library programming that addresses the needs of lifelong learners of all ages. A focus on public library programming for youth is key to student achievement, college and career readiness and engages new generations of library users. Civic engagement, digital learning and literacy, workforce development and sustainability are some other key areas for programming that demonstrate the importance of libraries in the lives of New Yorkers.    (Recommendations # 24, 26, 28, 41).

(9) (10) provides a circulation system that facilitates access to the local library collection and other library catalogs; provides equipment, technology, and internet connectivity to address community needs and facilitate access to information provides equipment and connections to meet community needs including, but not limited to telephone, photocopier, telefacsimile capability, and microcomputer or terminal with printer to provide access to other library catalogs and other electronic information; (10) Twenty-first century libraries should be automated and connected to facilitate improved customer service and resource sharing. Today, modern technology and telecommunications products have a rapid life cycle, so specific tools and products are no longer delineated in the minimum standards.  As community anchor institutions, local libraries are often the only source of free, high-speed internet access in the community.  Libraries should plan to increase broadband speeds and infrastructure regularly to keep pace with changing technologies and community needs.  All library facilities should provide high-speed wireless access to the internet so library customers may use their own devices. (Recommendations #4, 28, 29, 39)

(10) (11) provides access to current library information in print and online, facilitating the understanding of library services, operations and governance; information provided online shall include items referenced under standards one through five distributes printed information listing the library's hours open, borrowing rules, services, location and phone number; (11) Language to clarify that basic information about the library, its governance and its services should be available to the community both in print and online. Increasingly library customers are making use of mobile and other technologies to access library resources and information. It is critical that every library have a vibrant, online presence that actively promotes the library and its services and that offers user-friendly access on a 24/7 basis. (Recommendations #1, 41, 59)

(11) (12) employs a paid director in accordance with the provisions of Section 90.8 of this Part. (12) No change.

(13) provides library staff with annual technology training, appropriate to their position, to address community needs, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service; (13) This is a new standard. Without trained staff, the public’s ongoing investment in new library technologies has decreased value. Library systems can play a critical role in providing technology training for local library staff. (Recommendations #6, 36, 44).

(14) establishes and maintains partnerships with other educational, cultural or community organizations which enable the library to address the community’s needs, as outlined in the library’s long-range plan of service. (14) This is a new standard. Twenty-first century libraries recognize that collaboration and partnerships with other organizations such as local school districts, museums, historical societies, institutions of higher education, governmental agencies and local community groups are critical foundations for long-term sustainability and community impact. (Recommendations #3, 9, 14, 20, 24, 25, 27).

(b) Any public, free association or Indian library registered by the department at the time this section takes effect or applying for registration prior to January 1, 2021 shall be required to meet the standards for registration in subdivision (a) of this section on the following schedule:

(b) A phased-in approach to the implementation of these new minimum standards provides library boards with time to obtain the additional resources and expertise needed for implementation. Libraries will be required to meet the current minimum standard until the new standard is scheduled to take effect.

(1) meet the standards of paragraphs (1) through (7), and (12) of subdivision (a) of this section on or before January 1, 2020.

(2) meet the standards of paragraphs (8), (9), (10), (11), (13) and (14) of subdivision (a) of this section on or before January 1, 2021.

NOTE: new (b)(1) and (b)(2) replace the previous (b)(1), (b)(2) and (b)(3).

(c) Variances. If circumstances over which any public, free association or Indian library has no control prevent it from meeting one or more of the standards of service set forward in subdivision (a) of this section, such library may apply for a variance for such standard(s). The application for such variance shall be submitted for such library by the public library system of which such library is a member, in a form prescribed by the commissioner. No variance granted pursuant to this subdivision shall be deemed to relieve a public, free association or Indian library of any obligation imposed by any other provision of federal or state law. (c) No change.

Statutory authority: Education Law, §§ 207-208, 215, 253-268, 271-273, 273-a, 282, 283, 284, 285; L. 1978, ch. 787, L 1993 Ch 260, §§ 1, 3

Last Updated: December 11, 2017 -- asm