Library Laws, Regulations, And Legislative Updates

Rhode Island General Laws (RIGL) can be accessed at


RIGL Title 29 establishes the State Library, State Law Library, the Office of Library and Information Services, and Library Board of Rhode Island. Title 29 also establishes policies and standards RI libraries must follow and defines funding appropriations to libraries.

State Archives 

RIGL 41-8.1 establishes the State Archives and defines their duties, responsibilities, and administration.

Criminal Offenses

Laws that address topics of theft (property and identity), library property rights, and fraud as these topics relate to libraries.

Financial and Purchasing

Public Records

The American Library Association Public Policy and Advocacy Office has updates and position statements on the status of legislation that is of interest to libraries nationwide.

Visit the links below for information on specific issues:

  • Build America's Libraries Act

    Introduced by RI Senator Jack Reed, this legislation would provide $5 billion of funding for capital projects and renovation. Funds would be administered by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services and distributed at the state level by state library agencies such as OLIS.
  • Other ALA Policy Positions

    Other legislation tracked by ALA includes federal funding, net neutrality, broadband, e-Rate, copyright, and government information.

Open Meetings Law

  • Open Meetings (RIGL 42-46): Most libraries that receive state aid must comply with the open meetings law.

  • H 6323 added additional provisions to the law in 2017.

Open Meetings Requirements for 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
  2. Provide written notice of regularly scheduled meetings at the beginning of each calendar year and file with the the Secretary of State.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.