All libraries in Kentucky are governmental entities, and as public agencies, are subject to the provisions of the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts. Refer to
The Kentucky Open Records & Open Meetings Acts: A guide for the public and public agencies for more information on the requirements of these Acts. This publication, and the accompanying,
Managing Government Records, which provides additional information about the Open Records Act, are available on the
Kentucky Attorney General’s website. Library directors should become familiar with these two documents. They provide useful information to fulfill legal requirements and encourage transparency in conducting library business.
The Open Meetings Act applies to all meetings held by public agencies. All state or local governmental activities are covered by the Act, including the work of committees, advisory committees, and ad hoc committees, which are established, created, and controlled by a public agency.
Under the Open Meetings Act there are two types of meetings: regular meetings and special meetings. Regular meetings are those governed by the provisions of
KRS 61.820, which requires that monthly board meetings must be scheduled to be held at a regular time and place and are open for public attendance. A public agency may conduct any meeting through video teleconference following the provisions of
From time to time a regularly-scheduled meeting may need to be changed or an additional meeting must be held to handle some business that must be addressed before the next regular meeting. Special meetings are controlled by the provisions of
KRS 61.823. For a special meeting, the agenda must be posted in the library’s headquarters building and in the location where the meeting will be held. This notice must be posted at least 24 hours in advance of the special meeting. Only items on the posted agenda may be discussed or acted upon in the meeting.
Infrequently, it is in the best interest of the library to discuss certain items privately. This is legally allowed by going into closed (also called executive) session. Before going into closed session, notice is given of the general nature of the business to be discussed, the reason, and the specific exemption allowing the board to go into closed session, and a motion is made and carried to do so. More information on this procedure can be found in the
KDLA Trustee Manual and in the Attorney General’s Open Meetings and Open Records guidebook referenced above.
The Kentucky Open Records Act (KRS 61.870 to
KRS 61.884) outlines the rules regarding public access to the library’s records. These records are any records that are prepared, owned, used, possessed, or retained by a public agency in any format, and must be made available upon request.
These records include but are not limited to: minutes of previous meetings, library policies, and financial documents such as annual budgets, audits, and monthly expense vouchers.
Records pertaining to employees are also considered open records, including, but not limited to: name, position, workstation, and salary of employees, reprimands regarding job-related misconduct, letters of resignation, and public employee timesheets.
However, some information pertaining to employees and library patrons are not considered open to public perusal, including: race, gender, home addresses, social security numbers, medical records, marital status of employees, employee evaluations, applications and resumes from unsuccessful applicants for jobs, and patron registration and check-out records.
The Open Records Act requires that libraries have policies and procedures addressing open records requests. It also requires that those policies and procedures be posted in the library and on the library website, along with contact information for the records custodian.