Library By-Laws

Library Bi-Laws


of the

Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library

Established by an act of the

New York State Legislature, April 14, 1877

1877 Laws of New York, Chapter 137

Adopted February 2, 2004

At a regular meeting of the

Board of Trustees of the

Port Chester Public Library

Revised: May 23, 2006; July

10, 2006; September 23,

2008; June 11, 2013; July

18, 2023


of the

Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library

Serving residents of Port Chester and

Rye Brook since 1877

Article I


     This Library, a non-profit corporation originally established by an act of the New York State Legislature, 1877 Laws of New York Chapter 137, shall be known for all purposes as the “Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library.”

Article II


The mission and purposes of this library shall be:

Section 1.

      To provide members of the Library and residents of the village of Port Chester, the Village of Rye Brook, and Westchester County bearing a Westchester Library System identification card, services, materials, and information, wherever possible, in all fields of knowledge without regard to their religious, racial, social, economic, educational or political affiliation or status, subject to the rules and regulations of the Library.

Section 2.

      To select and make available a variety of age groups and learning levels as many printed, electronic, and audiovisual materials as financial appropriations and circumstances allow. Selection of materials, programs and services offered shall not be influenced by political or social controversy, bur rather shall be guided by the public interest and a search for excellence in quality, content, expression, and format.

     To broaden the learning and interests of the community serviced; to cooperate with community organizations on projects for the common good; to use its best efforts to reach those persons in our community in need of library services and not currently enrolled as a Member of the Library.

Section 4.

     To assist library users in obtaining the materials and information they seek, drawing upon all the resources of the Library, the Westchester Library System, the New York State Library system, and every other available source as circumstances may require.

Section 5.

     To fulfill this mission and accomplish these purposes, the Library shall periodically evaluate its effectiveness and survey library patrons to assess whether the Library is fulfilling the needs of its member cardholders.

Article III

Management and Governance

of the Corporation

Section 1.

     The affairs of this Library Corporation shall be managed and administered by a Board of Trustees as set forth in Section 3 of the Act1 establishing this Library. Members of the Library Board of Trustees shall serve without benefits or compensation, except out-of-pocket expenses incurred by any Board member in the course of his or her duties may be reimbursed.

Section 2. Number and Representation.

     There shall be not less than 7 nor more than 13 Trustees. Each Trustee shall be either a resident of the village of Port Chester or the village of Rye Brook and Trustee representation shall be based on residency reflecting, as best as can be approximated, the village of Rye Brook, or in such other proportion as best reflects the prevailing proportion of annual funding allocated by the municipalities at the funding ratio provided by the villages; i.e., approximately 65% of the Board shall be residents of the village of Port Chester and 35% of the Board shall be residents of the time vacancy is filled. No elected official of any school district or municipality shall be eligible to serve as a Trustee of the Library, except the Mayor of each village shall serve as a non-voting, ex-officio member of the Board in addition to the voting members. Of the total number of Trustees, the Port Chester Village Board shall appoint two Trustees and the Rue Brook Village Board shall appoint one Trustee to the Board. A quorum shall be computed based on the total number of voting Trustees.

1. 1877 Laws of New York 137, amended 1894 Laws of New York 323, 1924 Laws of New York 335, 1961 Laws of New York 598, 2008 Laws of New York 424.

Section 3: Duties and Qualifications of Trustees.

     The duties and responsibilities of the Trustees shall be those designated in the Library Charter. The Trustees shall foster the mission of the Library and be charged with the care and management of the Corporation and its assets. The Trustees shall formulate, together and in cooperation with the Library Director, rules, regulations and policies governing services and programs as well as standards and policies governing the rights and privileges of cardholders. The Trustees shall ensure that the Library complies with the requirements and standards of the New York State Department of Education, including hours of operations for the service area.

Section 4. Executive Committee.

     There shall be an Executive Committee as herein after set forth. The Executive Committee shall have the authority to act on any emergency business between regular meetings of the entire Board. Any action taken by the Executive Committee in the absence of the entire Board shall be reported to the entire Board at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

Section 5. Vacancies.

     Unless otherwise provided by law, the Board of Trustees may fill a vacancy on the Board, or in any office, consistent with the qualifications for Trustees, by majority vote of those present.

Section 6. Terms of Service.

     A. The term of service for Trustees elected after June 1, 2013 shall be 5 (five) years.

     B. Trustees elected after June 1, 2013 shall not serve for more than 2 (two) consecutive 5 (five) year terms without the consent of the majority of the Board of Trustees.

Article IV

Officers, Elections, and Duties

Section 1. Officers

     The Officers of the Board of Trustees of the Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library shall be a President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. Officers shall be elected at the annual meeting by a majority vote of the Trustees present.

Section 2. Terms of Office

     Officers shall serve a one-year term. Each Officer shall serve until his or her successor has been elected.

Section 3. Duties

     A. President. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board at which he/she is present. He/she shall be an ex-officio member of each committee, except the Nominating Committee, and shall perform all duties generally incident to the office of President.

     B. Vice-President. The Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President in the absence or inability of the President to serve. In the event that the office of the President becomes vacant, he/she shall assume the office for the unexpired term and perform all duties incident to the office of President.

     C. Secretary. The Secretary, or such person as the President may designate, shall keep an accurate record of each meeting of the Board of Trustees, noting all actions taken. In addition, the Secretary shall conduct such correspondence on behalf of the Corporation as the Board may direct; send out all notices of meetings and perform such other duties, incident to the office of Secretary as the Board of Trustees may, from time to time, prescribe.

     D. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall give a report summarizing the status of finances at each meeting of the Board. The Treasurer shall ensure that the financial records of the Library are audited each year and shall present a copy of a certified audit performed in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles to the Board at the annual meeting each year together with his/her annual report.

Article V


Section 1. Regular Meetings.

     The Board of Trustees shall meet regularly at a time set by agreement of the Board at the annual meeting. All meetings will be noticed and conducted in accordance with the NYS Open Meetings Law. Meetings during the months of July and August may be held at the discretion of the President, but in no event shall the Board of Trustees meet less than six times a year. In the event of a conflict or other necessity, meetings may be re-scheduled at the discretion of the President in concert with the Executive Committee.

Section 2. Annual Meeting.

     The Board shall hold an annual meeting in June of each year for the purpose of receiving annual reports from each standing committee, electing officers, as well as conducting any other business that may arise and the Board in its discretion may entertain.

Section 3. Special Meetings.

     A special meeting may be called at any time at the request of any officer or any three Board members. Notice of a Special Meeting must be given as provided herein and no business other than that noticed may be conducted at a special meeting.

Section 4. Quorum.

     A majority of the voting members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, provided at least one officer is present. A lesser number may adjourn a regular or special meeting.

Section 5. Notices.

     The Secretary, or such person as the President may designate, shall provide notice of every regular meeting of the Board, stating the time and place, at least five (5), and not more than ten (10), days prior to such regular meeting. Notice of a regular meeting may, in the discretion of the Secretary, be delivered by telephone or sent by U.S. Mail or electronic mail, to the address, or addresses, provided by each Board member. Notice of a special meeting must be in writing and state the time and place of such meeting as well as the items to be considered or nature of business to be transacted at such a meeting. Notice of a special meeting may be given by facsimile, “e-mail,” U.S. Postal Service or otherwise, in writing, not less than 24 hours prior to the time and date of such special meeting. No business other than that set forth in the notice of a special meeting may be conducted at such a meeting. Public notice of all meetings shall be provided in the media in accordance with the requirements of the NYS Open Meetings Law.

Section 6. Absenteeism.

     Any Trustee failing to attend three (3) consecutive meetings, without an excuse acceptable to the Executive Committee, may be deemed to have resigned. A Decision to declare a Board seat vacant due to absenteeism shall be made by a 2/3 vote of the entire Board following not less than 10 days notice to the Trustee whose continued tenure is at risk stating the time and place a vote will be taken.

Article VI


Section 1.

     All committees shall be appointed by the President.

  A. Committees for specific purposes may be appointed by the President. Such committees shall serve until the completion of the work for which they were appointed.

  B. All committees shall make a progress report to the Board at each of its meetings.

  C. No committee will have other than advisory powers unless, by suitable action of the Board, it is granted specific power to act.

Section 2. Standing Committees.

     The Board shall establish and maintain the following standing committees: (i) Finance; (ii) Building and Grounds; (iii) Nominating; (iv) Executive; and (v) Personnel. The Board may, in its discretion, establish such other, additional committees as circumstances may, from time to time, require.

Section 3. Duties.

  A. Finance Committee. The Finance Committee, together with the Library Director, shall prepare the annual budget for consideration and approval by the Board.

  B. Building and Grounds. The Building and Grounds Committee in conjunction with the Library Director shall be responsible for the maintenance, security, and repair of the library building(s) and generally oversee the care of all Library property. In consultation with the Library Director, the Building and Grounds Committee shall ensure adequate custodial and cleaning services are maintained.

  C. Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall consist of any 3 (three) Board members.

  1. The committee shall endeavor to identify persons qualified and motivated to serve as Library Board Trustees. The committee shall use the media to advertise open Board seats. The committee shall interview candidates and make recommendations to the full Board.
  2. The Nominating Committee shall present a state of officers at the Annual Meeting.

  D.  Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall consist of the Officers. The Executive Committee shall have the power to transact any emergency business within the lawful authority of the Board and shall report any business transacted or decision made in the absence of the full Board to the full Board at the next regularly scheduled meeting, or as soon as possible if circumstances warrant.

  E.  Personnel. The Personnel Committee shall assist the Library Director, as necessary, with personnel administration and related employment issues.

Section 4. Special Committees. The President of Board may establish such other, additional special committees as circumstances may require. A special committee shall be assigned a specific task or mission.

Article VII

Library Administration

Section 1. Director.

  A. The Board shall appoint a Director, duly qualified as required by the New York State Department of Education, who shall be the executive officer of the policies of the Board and shall have charge of the administration of the Library under the direction and review of the Board. The Director shall be responsible for the care of the building and equipment; for the employment and direction of the staff; for the efficiency of the Library’s service to the public; and for the operation of the Library under the financial conditions contained in the annual budget, endeavoring at all times to meet and comply with standards of the American Library Association and the New York State Department of Education.

  B. The Director shall render and submit to the Board reports and recommendations of such policies and procedures, which, in the opinion of the Director, will improve efficiency and the quality of Library service. The Director shall attend all Board meetings except the portion of the meeting at which the Director’s appointment or salary is to be discussed or decided.

Section 2. Assistant Director.

   The Director may appoint an Assistant Director, subject to Board approval, who shall perform such tasks and duties as the Director may prescribe.

Article VIII

Registration of Borrowers

Section 1. Adult Registration.

     Any individual age 16 or older may register as a Member of the Library and receive a membership card upon presenting evidence of residency or ownership of a business within Port Chester or Rye Brook in one documentary form.

Section 2. Child Registration.

     Any individual under age 16, may register as a Junior Member of the Library and receive a membership card upon proof of residency or enrollment in a school within Port Chester or Rye Brook. A parent or guardian must assume responsibility for any material borrowed by a Junior Member.

Section 3. Suspension/Revocation.

     Each Member must agree to abide by the Rules and Regulation of the Library, including paying all fines promptly and notifying the Library of any change of address within 10 days.

Privileges as a Member may be suspended by the Director for failure to comply with Library Rules and Regulations. A decision to terminate library privileges of a Member shall only be made after notice to the person whose membership is at risk providing such person the opportunity to be heard.

Section 4. Appeal.

A decision by the Library Director to deny any person membership or borrowing privileges may be appealed to the entire Board of Trustees for a hearing and final decision.

Article IX


     To the fullest extent permitted by law, each Trustee shall be indemnified and held harmless by the Library against all liabilities, costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, arising out of or relating to any claim or proceeding against the Library or such Trustee in his/her capacity as a Trustee thereof. The Library’s insurance coverage includes Directors’ and Officers’ liability insurance on behalf of any person serving as an Officer and/or Trustee of the Library Board, insuring such person against any liability asserted against him/her and incurred by him/her in his/her capacity as an Officer and/or Trustee of the Library to the extent now or hereafter authorized by law.

Article X


     These by-laws may be amended at any regular meeting of the Board of Trustees by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present, provided notice of intent to consider an amendment and a summary of the proposed amendment was given to all Board members not less than 30 days prior.

Article XI

Parliamentary Authority

     The most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary authority in all questions of procedure, provided such rules are not inconsistent with these by-laws, the Charter or any rules and regulations adopted by the Board.

Adopted by vote of the

Board of Trustees, July 18,



Ellen Mutino
Secretary to the Port Chester-Rye Brook
Public Library Board of Trustees