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The Law


The Law & Libraries 2013 New Directors Orientation February 20 & 27 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * For Municipal and Joint Municipal Libraries Only The ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Law

The Law Libraries
  • 2013 New Directors Orientation
  • February 20 27

  • Patricia Tumulty, Executive Director of the New
    Jersey Library Trustee Association and the New
    Jersey Library Association
  • and
  • Victoria Rosch, Deputy State Librarian for
    Library Support Services, New Jersey State

Who needs to know?
  • Municipal, Joint, County and Association
  • Directors and trustees MUST keep informed and
    follow all pertinent laws
  • Some laws covering other types of public
    libraries are not mandatory for association
    libraries, but are considered a best practice.
    These include areas such as purchasing, open
    records and meetings laws.

How to keep informed?
  • New directors and trustees familiarize themselves
    with, and occasionally review, all pertinent
    Federal and State law
  • Directors read New Jersey State Library
    communications pertaining to changes in the law
  • Join member organizations such as the New Jersey
    Library Association and the New Jersey Library
    Trustee Association
  • Participate in training offered by NJSL, NJLA,
    NJLTA and ALA

NJSLs Library Law Webpages
  • Full text of laws covering each type of public
    library (Part 1), State Aid (Part 4), Library
    Employees (Part 5), Purchasing (Part 6) and more
    at http//
  • Printable Statutes and Regulations covering the
    establishment, operation and funding grouped by
    type of library at http//

Professional Advice
  • The library board should be represented by legal
    counsel with knowledge of library and employment
  • Best practice retain your own attorney
  • Seek help from a certified Qualified Purchasing
    Agent, or the appropriate State agency
  • Hire the appropriately trained accountant for
    your type of library

Annual Audit
  • As part of the general law regarding government
    units, all municipal, county and joint libraries
    are required to have an annual audit performed by
    a registered municipal accountant
  • Municipal and joint municipal libraries should
    hire an RMA familiar with the Return of Funds
  • Association libraries receiving State Aid must
    have an annual audit performed by a certified
    public accountant

Ongoing Activities Required
  • All trustees in NJ, and the director as
    appropriate, are required to file an annual
    financial disclosure form distributed by the
    municipal clerk
  • Newly appointed trustees take the oath of office
    which may be administered by the board president,
    mayor, lawyer or municipal clerk
  • Member/s of the board/commission receive a
    minimum of seven total hours of library-related
    education annually (NJAC 1521-2.3)

Library Trustee Oath of Office
  • "I, ______ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I
    will support the Constitution of the United
    States and the Constitution of the State of New
    Jersey, and that I will bear true faith and
    allegiance to the same and to the Governments
    established in the United States and in this
    State, under the authority of the people and I
    will faithfully, impartially and justly perform
    all the duties of the office of library trustee
    of the _____ public library to the best of my
    ability. So help me God."
  • NOTE NJSA 411-6. Every person permitted to
    make solemn affirmation or declaration in one of
    the following forms, to wit "I, , do solemnly,
    sincerely and truly declare and affirm"the words
    "so help me God," at the close of the usual
    oath, shall be omitted.

  • Errors and omissions, board liability - no board
    member shall be liable for damages unless actions
    show reckless disregard for the duties imposed by
    the position (NJSA 2A53A-7.1-7.3)
  • Bonding for Board Treasurer (NJSA 4054-13),
    director and those handling funds also called
    Dishonesty Coverage
  • Liability insurance for the public and meeting
    rooms, building grounds (municipality),
    collections (library)
  • Workers compensation

  • Personnel policies should be written, reviewed
    and updated to assure compliance with the law,
    including Civil Service regulations
  • Have clear policies regarding grievance,
    discipline, substance abuse, sexual harassment,
    and other employment issues
  • Personnel policies should address nepotism as no
    State law exists avoid conflicts of interest
  • Newly hired employees must be New Jersey
    residents unless exempted (Local Finance Notice
    2011-30 )

Establishment of Public Libraries
  • Municipal and joint municipal libraries are
    established by referendum (NJSA 4054-2,
    municipal 4054-29.6, joint municipal)
  • County library systems are established by
    referendum with two exceptions (NJSA 4033-2,
    general, 12 county libraries 4033-5.1,
    Cumberland 4033-15 Morris)
  • Association libraries are established according
    to the Nonprofit Corporation Act (N.J.S.A.
    15A1-1) and become public by agreeing to accept
    public funds and serve the public (NJSA 4054-35)

Establishment of Municipal and Joint Municipal
Library Board
  • Five to seven members are appointed by the mayor
    (generally with consent of council)
  • The mayor or other chief executive officer of the
    municipality, and the superintendent of schools
    are ex officio members and vote
  • There may be a total of seven, eight or nine
    members ( NJSA 4054-9)
  • All appointments are for a term of 5 years,
    except in the case of appointments to fill
    vacancies occurring other than by expiration of
    term, in which case the appointment is for the
    unexpired term only (4054-10) the five-year
    stagger must be maintained so that at least one
    term expires annually
  • At least four of the appointed members must be
    residents of the municipality all must be
  • No appointees may be employed by the municipality
    or be part of municipal government the
    municipality is represented by only one person
    and that is either the mayor or the mayors

Establishment of Association and County Library
  • Association libraries follow the requirements of
    the Nonprofit Corporation Act
  • County library law differs somewhat in
    composition and commissioner appointment but
    maintains the five-year term and stagger (NJSA
  • There are five members except the governing body
    of any county that has a county library
    commission with fewer than three members who are
    residents of municipalities supporting the county
    library system shall increase the size of its
    commission to seven members additional members
    shall be residents of municipalities that support
    the county library system
  • Each county library commission shall have a
    majority of members who are residents of
    municipalities which support the county library

Board Vacancies
  • A board vacancy occurs upon a members written
    resignation physical or mental incapacitation
    death violation of lawful residency requirement
    (at least 4 must be residents) failure to attend
    and participate at meetings for a period of 8
    consecutive weeks, or for four consecutive
    regular meetings, whichever shall be of longer
    duration (unless due to legitimate illness)
    removal for cause in accordance with the law.
    (See NJSA 40A9-12.1)
  • Check to see if your municipality has passed a
    resolution lowering the requirement to 6 or 7
    consecutive weeks and/or 3 consecutive regular

The Quorum
  • There are some regulations that define a quorum
    as a majority of the members, although the
    regulations are not specific to libraries. A
    quorum for a nine member board is usually five
    members A quorum for a seven member board is
    usually four members
  • An affirmative vote of the majority of all
    members of the board present at the time shall be
    necessary to approve any action before the board
  • The board may take no action unless in compliance
    with the Open Public Meetings Act

Powers of the Board
  • The board shall hold in trust and manage all
    property of the library (NJSA 4054-12)
  • It may rent rooms (for the use of the library),
    construct buildings for the use of the library,
    purchase books, hire librarians, fix their
    compensation, make rules and regulations for the
    government of the library, and do all things
    necessary for the maintenance of the free public
  • If the municipality participates in the NJ Civil
    Service system, the library board registers as
    the appointing authority and appoints someone
    (usually the director) to act on its behalf

Roles and Responsibilities of the Board or
  • The board is an autonomous body.
    Its responsibilities are
  • To hire a competent and qualified library
  • To evaluate the directors performance every year
  • To set written policies to govern the operation,
    use, and programs of the library
  • Establish a process for planning
  • Know local, state, and national laws which affect

Roles and Responsibilities (Continued)
  • Establish a cooperative working relationship
    with officials of the local governing unit
  • Fulfill the fiduciary role
  • Submit an annual report to the municipality/county
    , and to the N. J. State Library through the
    annual NJ Public Library Survey
  • Establish, support, and participate in a public
    relations program to increase community awareness
    of the library and its services

Support for Intellectual Freedom
  • Public library is a public forum for ideas
  • Support intellectual freedom through up-to-date
  • Procedure for challenges form for
    reconsideration of materials
  • Acknowledge complaint and follow through with a
    written response of the decision
  • Useful resources to assist

  • By-laws for the regulation of its own local or
    internal affairs and its dealings with others or
    for the governance of its members
  • By-laws may not supersede the law
  • Review by-laws annually and update as necessary
  • By-laws establish standing committees such as
    budget, policies, etc.

Board Committees and Board Officers
  • The president serves as ex-officio voting member
    of all committees
  • No committee or officer of the board including
    the president shall have other than advisory
    powers unless, by suitable action of the board,
    it is granted specific power to act
  • A committee should consist of less members than a
    quorum if it is to meet in other than open
  • Best practice - committee reports should be
    written and conveyed to the secretary for filing

Purchasing Requirements
  • Excellent information for any purchasing
    questions may be found at the Department of
    Community Affairs Division of Local Government
    Services webpage on Local Public Contracts Law
  • http//
  • See also Part 6 Purchasing at
  • Note Association libraries do not have to comply
    with the following purchasing requirements, but
    should as a best practice if they accept public

Sound Business Judgment, Quote, Bid or State
  • Local Public Contracts Law governs the award of
    contracts for services for boards and public
    entities (NJSA 40A11-1)
  • Thresholds are based on aggregation of goods or
  • For this section, the assumption is that the
    library is not using the services of a Qualified
    Purchasing Agent (QPA) and the bid threshold is
  • Get two quotes from 15 of the bid threshold up
    to the bid threshold (2,625-17,499)
  • Under 15 use sound business judgment and library
    boards policies
  • Consider using State Contract http//www.state.nj.

Bidding, Exemptions, Competitive Contracting
  • If bidding is required (17,500 or more based on
    aggregation of goods or services), work closely
    with a QPA or lawyer
  • Library materials and specialized library
    services are exempt from the bid and quote
    process (NJSA 4054-12.1), but not the Business
    Registration Program
  • Note that the purchase of an Integrated Library
    System requires the competitive contracting

Business Registration Program Pay-To-Play
  • Purchasing of goods and services from
    2,625-17,499 from any one vendor (vendors
    cumulative contracts) requires that the business
    must submit (once) a Business Registration
    Certificate to the library and these are kept in
    a single alphabetical file 17,500 or more, a
    certificate is submitted and kept with each bid
    and request for proposal
  • Pay-To-Play procedure applies to any aggregate
    amount per vendor of 17,500 or more per year
  • Further information see http//
    /Library_Law Part 6 Purchasing
  • Library materials are not exempt from BRP or P2P

New Jersey Laws
  • Open Public Meetings Act
  • Open Public Records Act
  • Confidentiality of Library Records
  • Part 7 Miscellaneous at http//ldb.njstatelib.or
  • Note Association libraries do not have to comply
    with the following requirements, but should as a
    best practice if they accept public funds.

Open Public Meetings Law (Sunshine Law)
  • Follow guidelines for posting the Annual Notice
    Schedule of Board meetings
  • At least 48-hour notice of meetings of public
    bodies if there are changes from the Annual
  • Limited conditions for emergency meetings
  • Limited conditions for closed Sessions
  • See http//

Open Public Meetings Law (continued)
  • Keep reasonably comprehensive minutes of all its
    meetings showing the time and place, the members
    present, the subjects considered, the actions
    taken, the vote of each member, and any other
    information required to be shown in the minutes
    by law (NJSA 104-14)
  • Minutes must be promptly available to the public

Open Public Records Act-OPRA
  • Intent of the law is to provide greater access to
    public records library patron records are
  • The agency must reply within 7 business days with
    the requested information, without the
    information if it will take longer to retrieve
    it, or with a denial of the request
  • Maintain appropriate record retention schedules
  • NJ Government Records Council
  • Part 7 Miscellaneous http//

Confidentiality of Library Records
  • Library records which contain the names or other
    personally identifying details regarding the
    users of libraries are confidential and shall not
    be disclosed except in the following
    circumstances the records are necessary for
    proper operation of the library, disclosure is
    requested by the user, or disclosure is required
    pursuant to a subpoena issued by a court or court
    order (NJSA 18A73-43.1)

Theft of Library Materials
  • State law prohibits the theft or vandalism of
    library property (2C20-12 to 15 2A43A-1)
  • Post sign to alert patrons
  • Appropriate security in place
  • Cooperation and good relations with the local
  • Prosecute when necessary

Other New Jersey Laws
  • Voter registration forms and instructions are to
    be displayed and supplied
  • Gifts and donations made to the library may be
    accepted by the trustees, but the trustees may
    not use library funding to give gifts and
  • Is there a municipal/county residency requirement
    in place?
  • Keep apprised of local regulations and customs

For Municipal and Joint Municipal Libraries Only
  • The next few slides talk about the minimum
    funding Statute for libraries and the requirement
    that libraries return to the taxpayers excess
    unrestricted funding.

1/3 Mill Statute
  • Requires minimum 1/3 mill funding for municipal
    and municipal joint libraries (NJSA 4054-8)
  • Increases from year-to-year are limited to 15 a
    year unless the State Librarian approves a higher
    amount (NJSA 4054-8.1)

1/3 Mill? Audits? Reports?
  • NJAC 1521-12, Municipal Annual Mandatory Library
    Appropriation for the Maintenance of a Free
    Public Library (1/3 Mill Regulation)
  • Clarifies and regulates issues concerning the
    minimum appropriation of 1/3 mill including
    collection of 1/3 mill by municipality and
    expenditure to library trustees, and eligible and
    ineligible expenditures
  • Clarifies requirements for reports and audits

Income, Expenditures and Audits
  • Funding is paid at least quarterly to the
    treasurer of the library board of trustees
  • Libraries handling all of their own funding are
    required to have an annual audit performed by an
  • If all budget appropriations, fines, fees and all
    other income of the library are retained in the
    custody of the municipal treasurer, the librarys
    audit may be part of the municipal audit
  • In either case a resolution is required to
    approve monthly expenditures and adopt the Bills

Funding in Municipal Budget
  • The account is a special reserved account
  • Funds are only disbursed by the municipal
    treasurer after approved by the board of trustees
    of the free public library (monthly bills list)
  • The trustees memorialize this arrangement through
    an annual resolution

Return of Funds to the Municipality
  • N.J.S.A. 4054-15 Requires transfer of municipal
    free library unrestricted surplus amounts above
    20 of the most recent available audit to
    municipality for its general purposes, which may
    include property tax relief
  • NJ State Librarian must approve all applications
    to return funds

Return of Funds(continued)
  • Plan ahead - Libraries must have a strategic
    plan it is recommended that all libraries have
    this plan
  • Permits libraries to retain funds for capital
    purposes and grants prohibits trustees from
    transferring donated funds to the municipality
  • State Library provides packet of materials at

Dedicated Line Legislation
  • P.L. 2011, c.38 (S2068/A2679)
  • Provides dedicated line item on property tax bill
    to fund municipal free public libraries and joint
    free public libraries (paid to the library in at
    least quarterly payments)
  • Any amount above the minimum 1/3 mill remains in
    the municipal budget
  • Local Finance Notice to implement the law is NJ
    Dept of Community Affairs, Div. of Local Gov.
    Services, Local Finance Notice 2011-14
  • http//

To Sum Up
  • Library director keeps informed and reads
    postings of the njpublibs listserve (closed list
    for directors only)
  • Director keeps trustees informed
  • Trustees retain appropriate professionals
  • For information and updates email
  • For analysis http//

Resources for Additional Information
  • Library law and general law pertaining to
    libraries - Michele Stricker mstricker_at_njstatelib
    .org Victoria Rosch Pat
  • Per Capita State Aid Law - Bob Keith
  • NJSL staff contacts http//
  • Conferences and workshops presented by NJSL
    ( ), NJLA ( and
    LibraryLinkNJ (http// ALTAFF