Records Retention

The New York State Archives oversees the retention & management of government records in New York State.  The Local Government Records Law sets up the requirement for a records retention policy and disposition schedule.  There is an excellent publication on these requirements from the New York State Archives: Retention and Disposition of Library and Library System Records.  Some of the basic points are summarized below.

Public libraries have different requirements for retention & destruction of records depending on the type of library they are.  (If you are not certain of your library type, contact the system)  The New York State Archives has developed schedules that break down the time to keep records by the type of record.  Use the list below to determine the schedule to be used for your library.

  • Municipal Libraries (county, town, village or city) Schedule MU-1
    • “City and County” Public Libraries should use Schedule MI-1
  • School District Public Libraries – Schedule MI-1
  •  Association Libraries – not required to use a schedule by the New York State Archives, but may have federal requirements (see below)
  • The North Country Library System has put together a condensed & handy guide

IRS Requirements (for all Association Libraries with 501c3 designation)

  • Permanent records -By-Laws, documents of incorporation, minutes, etc (keep forever)
  • Employment records – Four Years
  • For more information, check out the IRS Compliance Guide
  • The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 makes it a crime to alter, cover up, falsify, or destroy any document with the intent of impeding or obstructing any official proceeding.


Libraries may digitize and keep electronic copies of records.