Library Law - Frequently Asked Legal Questions

These subject guides should not be considered legal advice. MSL staff are not attorneys, so it is always a good idea to consult a local city or county attorney for guidance. Please consult a local attorney if you have a question about any of these issues.

Open Meeting Law

This law is so important which is why we have a few resources that might help you better understand what is required of you when it comes to meetings.

Attorney Summary of the Open Meeting Law (pdf)
This summary was created by the attorney who assists the Montana State Library with legal questions. It briefly summarizes the law and discusses when you can close a meeting and when it must remain open.

Electronic Voting Guidelines (pdf)
A quick summary of what to consider if your organization allows electronic voting.

Open Meeting Law and Minimum Notice Required (pdf)
Giving notice of the meeting is an important piece of the open meeting law. This document gives guidance on how much notice is required.

Open Meeting Law and Montana Library Federations (pdf)
Guidelines for Montana Library Federations regarding Open Meeting Law

Complying with the open meeting law during COVID-19 crisis
Guidance on how to run an online meeting in a way that allows members of the public to participate if they wish to do so.

Library Depreciation Fund

Links to sample resolutions and a PowerPoint that describes the library depreciation fund and how it compares to the County Capital Improvement Fund.

Library Depreciation Fund versus County Capital Improvement Fund (pdf)
A presentation that explains the library depreciation fund and the similarities and differences between it and the County Capital Improvement Fund.

Sample resolution asking for a library depreciation fund to be established (pdf)
This sample resolution gives you an idea of what language to use when asking for a depreciation fund. This resolution is designed to be used by libraries established under Title 22 or Title 7- with the exception of independent public library districts.

Sample resolution for cities/counties wanting to establish library depreciation fund (pdf)
A GASB standard (Governmental Accounting Standards Board) requires local governing bodies to pass a resolution when establishing a new fund. This sample resolution will give city councils and county commissions an idea of what language to use when passing a resolution to establish a library depreciation fund.

Sample resolution for independent public library district boards to establish a library depreciation fund (pdf)
Independent public library district boards (established under Title 22) can establish their own funds, but they must pass a resolution when doing this.

Tip Sheet to help boards make the case for establishing a Library Depreciation Reserve fund.