Sample Policies

According to the New York State Public Library Minimum Standards, libraries are required to have board-approved written policies detailing the operation of the library.  These policies should be reviewed and updated at least once every five years. Visit the Helpful Information for Meeting Minimum Standards website on written policies for more information.

The New York State Department of Library Development recommends that boards adopt the following standard ALA policies:

Other Policy Development Resources:

Recommended Policies Checklist

The following abbreviated list is taken from the Recommended Policies Checklist in the 2018 Edition of the Handbook for Library Trustees in New York State Appendices and includes typical public library policies. Your library may have different policy needs.


External policies directly affect your patrons.


  • Patron Confidentiality
    • This “policy” is more of a statement to educate patrons about New York State Civil Practice Law & Rules Section 4509: Confidentiality of Patron Records, Including Minors [https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/CVP/4509]
      • Please note that children have the same rights under this law as adults. Signing a minor’s card only shows acceptance of fines and fees; it does not exempt them from the law. Patrons who do not want their children’s records to remain private should check out their children’s items on their own card
  • Lending Rules


Public Space

  • Accessibility/ADA Statement
  • Exhibit/Posting
  • Incident Report Form
  • Meeting Space/Equipment
  • Patron Behavior/Code of Conduct
  • Patron Complaints
  • Photo Release
  • Programming
  • Tutoring
  • Unattended Children
  • Vulnerable Adults


  • Library Equipment Usage
    • Computers
    • Printers
    • Devices
    • 3-D Printer
    • Internet Use
    • Wireless Use
    • Website
    • General Data Protection Regulation

Internal policies affect library operations.


  • Code of Ethics
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Continuing Education
  • Meeting Procedures
  • Removal of a Trustee


  • Business Continuity Plan
  • Inclement Weather/Closing
  • Public Access to Records (FOIL)
  • Public Relations 
  • Records Retention

Financial Controls

  • Audit/Review Schedule
  • Disposition of Surplus Property
  • Friends Group Memo of Understanding
  • Fundraising/Gift
  • Inventory/Fixed Assets
  • Petty Cash
  • Purchasing/Procurement
  • Travel & Conference


  • Attendance/Leave
  • Code of Conduct
  • Discipline/Termination
  • Equal Opportunity Employment
  • Evaluation Procedure
  • Grievance Procedure
  • Harassment
  • Jury Duty
  • Orientation/Onboarding
  • Recruitment/Hiring
  • Salary/Benefits
  • Volunteers
  • Whistleblower Protection


  • Emergency Plan
  • Fire Safety
  • Opioid Prevention Measures
  • Workplace Safety/Violence Prevention

As a general rule, Boards approve policies and Library Directors implement policies.  Confused about your role at the library? Check this quick cheat sheet for a breakdown of roles adapted from the Handbook.

Page updated April 12, 2023. he

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