Templates

Question

How long should the library retain employee records, payroll records, sales and purchase records, mortgage and loan documents, and other records?

Answer

Several considerations impact the answer to this question:

For a public library, the bare minimum record retention periods are found in a document called "the LGS-1."[1]  The LGS-1 has rules for retention covering everything from your library's charter, to how long you hold onto circulation records.


Question

We recently received 2 questions that raised related issues, so we've merged them in this "Ask the Lawyer Meeting Room Question Mash-Up" RAQ.

Here is question 1:

Answer

These meeting-room related submissions to "Ask the Lawyer" were inspired by two separate resources: the first one, an "Ask the Lawyer" RAQ on meeting room policies, and the second, an ESLN-sponsored training.


Question

Sometimes, people nap in the library, particularly people who we believe might not have stable or sufficient housing. We feel that a library should not exclude people who need a secure place to rest, so long as there is no interference with library operations, but are there any legal considerations to this issue?

Answer

This is a VERY sensitive issue. There are many factors that could contribute to a person sleeping in a public space, including:


Question

Periodically, our library receives handwritten requests for information from individuals who are incarcerated at prisons and correctional facilities around the country.

Answer

As I have written before, a big rule for the "Ask the Lawyer" service is "don't reinvent the wheel!"


Question

This is an issue that's come up in recent conversation. If an individual who no longer works at an institution finds that their picture is still being used by said institution, whether in promotional photos or on staff/faculty pages, does that individual have any legal recourse?

Answer

This question needs to be answered on a sliding scale.

Here are three scenarios to show how the scale can slide:

Scenario 1: "Scrapbooking"


Question

"Ask the Lawyer" got two questions about the April 9, 2022 changes to the Open Meetings Law ("OML"), which will enable library boards to more easily meet via videoconferencing.  The questions asked for sample resolution language to enable a board to meet via videoconference, and compliance checklists to make sure a board is getting all the new details right.

Answer

To answer these questions, we've created an "Open Meetings Law 2022 Library Board Chart and Checklist" that sets out:


Question

The library's podcast (Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarians), hosted by two librarians here, recently started interviewing guests from outside the organization. We are concerned about a few things: what the ramifications are if a guest does not like the way their interview was edited and whether the library owns the rights to the interview and recording.

Answer

Some days, I just love my job.  The day I subscribed to "Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarians" (2/4/22) to answer this question was one of those days.


Question

We were asked about signage to post over the copier at a schools where educational materials are copied. Below is some template language with footnotes explaining why they say what they do.  Of course, before posting in your school or library, check with your lawyer!

Answer

MAKING A COPY ON THIS MACHINE

MAY BE SUBJECT TO THE COPYRIGHT LAW OF THE UNITED STATES

This means 4 important things:

1.  Copying a copyright-protected work here could be a copyright violation[1].


Question

We were asked about signage to post over the public copier at a libraries open to the public. Below is some template language with footnotes explaining why they say what they do.  Of course, before posting in your school or library, check with your lawyer!

Answer

MAKING A COPY ON THIS MACHINE

MAY BE SUBJECT TO THE COPYRIGHT LAW OF THE UNITED STATES[1]

This means 4 important things:


Question

We are planning an emergency preparedness training for library staff to include CPR, First Aid, Stop the Bleed, and Narcan training. We have heard from librarians that some boards are concerned about the implications of having staff trained. We would like to have some commonly asked questions addressed so that we can answer them if they come up.

Answer

Because the training and resources described in the question can save lives, I will both a) quickly answer the questions and b) provide an answer in a format suitable to share with a library board.