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Open Meetings Law Requirements for Public Libraries

Any library that funds at least 25% of its operational budget in the prior budget year with public funds must comply with the Open Meetings Law. "Public funds" includes state aid to libraries ("grant-in-aid") and municipal funds. Most public libraries that receive state aid must comply with the Open Meetings Law.

In order for public libraries and their boards of trustees to comply with the Open Meetings Law, they must:

  1. Fill out and return to the Secretary of State a Filing Coordinator Designation Form
    http://sos.ri.gov/assets/downloads/documents/filing-coordinator-form.pdf
  2. Fill out and return to the Secretary of State a Public Body Information Form
    http://sos.ri.gov/assets/downloads/documents/public-body-information-form.pdf
  3. Provide written notice of regularly scheduled meetings at the beginning of each calendar year and file with the the Secretary of State.
  4. Provide supplemental written public notice (agenda) of any meeting a minimum of 48 hours before the meeting, excluding weekends and state holidays in the count of hours, and file the meeting agenda electronically with the the Secretary of State.
  5. Keep official and/or approved minutes of meetings.
    Starting January 1, 2018, all public bodies are also required to file meeting minutes with the Office of the Secretary of State within 35 days of the meeting.
    See H 6323 for changes to the Open Meetings Law passed in the 2017 session of the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo on July 18, 2017.

The above information is a summary of the requirements for the Open Meetings Law; all public libraries should review the Open Meetings Law to familiarize themselves with the full requirements of the law. The Attorney General holds an annual Open Government Summit each summer on the requirements of Open Government, including the Open Meetings Law and Access to Public Records. The Attorney General's Guide to Open Government and training materials from the most recent summit are available on the Attorney General's website.

Additional information about filing requirements is available on the website of the Secretary of State. For more information about open meetings law requirements, please contact the Secretary of State's Divsion of Public Information or call 401-222-3983.