Liability

Question

Our library offers a variety of business services such as copying, scanning, emailing, and faxing, and we also have staff on hand to assist patrons with these services.

Answer

This question tugged at my heart, because lawyers face issues like this, too.[1]

Maintaining confidentiality while addressing concerns that a person is being victimized creates terrible tension.  The need to maintain a trusting relationship, governed by professional ethics, makes the tension all the more acute.


Question

A public library is looking at the possibility of taking over the running of a medical loan closet that has been previously run by a church.

The library would find a space through a partner, so it would not be on library property.

Answer

Before I answer, let's talk about why a person or business might create an LLC ("limited liability company").

A primary function of an “LLC”[1] is to do exactly what the member has proposed—to create a separate entity designed to hold the liability associated with a particular venture.


Question

We have a patron who insists that it is their right to go barefoot into any public area. Okay, but, being a public (Association) library, aren't we still liable even if that person injures themselves on the property even if they 'say' they wouldn't sue us? Is there a law that defends their position and if so, how do we defend ourselves from litigation? Should we have them sign a waiver?

Answer

To answer this question, I had to switch things up, and pretend that one day, there I am, sitting in my office,[1] when a barefoot person walks up to my door and asks “I want enjoy my library privileges while barefoot, and they won’t let me.  Can they do that, or can you help me sue?


Question

Various individuals and organizations have organized historic marker/signage installations in Buffalo over the years, including the Buffalo History Museum, the Pomeroy Foundation, neighborhood organizations, etc. Sometimes one entity, an individual or nonprofit, organizes the project while another entity, a foundation or private company, underwrites it.

Answer

This question reminds me of a story told by writer/actress Sarah Vowell in her book, Assassination Vacation

When researching in Buffalo for the McKinley chapters, Vowell met a resident with scars caused by a childhood bike crash into a marker related to the McKinley assassination. 


Question

Is bonding recommended for small public library director?

Answer

I won't tease the readers here; generally,[1] the answer is "no."

There are three reasons for this:

Reason 1: a public library director, unlike a library system treasurer and other local "public officers" isn't required by law to carry a bond.