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How to conduct library board meetings when the library is closed, and we cannot gather:
Governor Cuomo’s announcement on Friday, March 20, placed more restrictions on what businesses can remain open, and what workers can enter such places of business during the state quarantine. (Executive Order 202.6)
Here you will find specific guidance from Empire State Development relative to Executive Order 202.6. The document is generally clear in its interpretation: https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026
The executive order sets an expectation that, “All businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state shall utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely utilize. Each employer shall reduce the in-person workforce at any work locations by 100% no later than March 22 at 8 p.m.”
Library boards in consultation with their director should use their best judgment to adhere to the executive order.
During this time library directors, staff and community members are relying on trustees to make decisions about library operations. It is important for library boards to meet, but also be mindful of trustee health and safety.
Here you will find some guidance from WNYLRC’s Ask the Lawyer service on how library boards can meet remotely, make timely decisions and legally observe Open Meetings Law: https://www.wnylrc.org/ask-the-lawyer/raqs/120
Some highlights from this guidance indicate boards can observe the following changes during New York State’s quarantine:
Resources for hosting live recorded online board meetings:
Read more, in a letter from STLS Executive Director, Brian Hildreth, here.
Consider using Zoom
For most libraries, the Basic (free) Zoom membership should be enough to get you through a few board meetings while your library is closed.
Please keep in mind that there are limitations with a free membership:
1) meetings are limited to 40 minutes
2) the dial-in via phone option may not be available
Help videos made by Zoom, available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsy2Ph6kSf8&list=PLKpRxBfeD1kEM_I1lId3N_Xl77fKDzSXe
Setting up a Zoom account
Turning on the Breakout Rooms feature
Breakout rooms can be useful if the board needs to go into executive session. This feature allows the individual running the meeting to separate the attendees into two groups.
Some people have been “Zoombombing” – trying to disrupt meetings on Zoom and other platforms.
Click on the Zoom Settings Tab, and do these things to keep it from happening to you:
Zoom has automatically enabled the virtual waiting room feature. The virtual waiting room is just like it sounds: It’s a virtual staging area that prevents people from joining a meeting until the host is ready.
How do I admit participants into my meeting?
As the host, once you’ve joined, you’ll begin to see the number of participants in your waiting room within the Manage Participants icon. Select Manage Participants to view the full list of participants, then you’ll have the option to admit individually by selecting the blue Admit button, or all at once with the Admit All option on the top right-hand side of your screen.
For step-by-step instructions, please watch this 1-minute video.
This article also has some more information on securing your Zoom meetings.
Turn on closed captioning with Zoom: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/207279736-Getting-started-with-closed-captioning
Uploading Minutes to a Library Website
Instructions below assume that your library is using the latest version of WordPress and the “blocks” editor. If you are not sure which version of the editor your site is using, please email Erika Jenns.
5. This will open a menu which will ask you to choose which type of block you would like to insert.
6. In the pop-up menu, search for “File” and click on the “File” icon
7. This will insert a new block into the page. Choose “Upload” to upload the minutes file from your computer. (A PDF works well.)
8. The file will embed into the page with the file name you used to save it on your computer.
9. You can edit the display name by highlighting the existing text and typing a new name.
10. Need to move this block farther up or down the page? Use the arrows to the left of the block.
11. Don’t forget to “Update” when you’re finished! The update button, in the top righthand corner of the page, will save your changes.
GoToMeeting: 3-month trial for non-profit organizations
Free Emergency Remote Work Kits for Health Care Providers, Educational Institutions, Municipalities & Non-Profit Organizations
Starting immediately, we will be offering our critical front-line service providers with free, organization-wide use of many LogMeIn products for 3 months through the availability of Emergency Remote Work Kits. These kits will include solutions for meetings and video conferencing, webinars and virtual events, IT support and management of remote employee devices and apps, as well as remote access to devices in multiple locations. For example, the “Meet” Emergency Remote Work Kit will provide eligible organizations with a free site-wide license of GoToMeeting for 3 months. Eligible organizations include health care providers, educational institutions, municipalities and non-profit organizations.