Catalog/Articles PCL Website

Access to Public Records and Overview of Open Meetings

See also revisions to the Open Meetings Act, effective January 1, 2018

The Board of Providence Community Library is subject to State of Rhode Island’s Open Government laws: the Open Meetings Act and the Access to Public Records Act.

In accordance with the Open Meetings Act, all meetings of the PCL board and its committees are open to the public.  The OPA requires the board to post notices of all meetings at least 48 hours in advance of the meetings on the RI Secretary of State’s website.  In addition, the OPA requires that an annual schedule of board meetings be posted in January.

The OPA specifies a limited number of exceptions to conducting board business in open meetings.  Under those exceptions, an executive session may be held only if that session and its specific purpose have been listed in the agenda/meeting notice posted on the SoS website.  The OPA specifies the procedures for moving into and out of executive session and for the recording of votes taken in executive session.

The OPA requires the board to record all votes taken and to record the how each member of the board votes.  The OPA requires that the record of votes taken be available within two weeks.  Minutes of board meetings must be available within 35 days of the meeting or at the next scheduled meeting (whichever is earlier).  The OPA allows for sealed minutes of executive session meetings under limited circumstances.

In accordance with the Access to Public Records Act, the president of the PCL board must certify to the RI Attorney General that at least one person has been trained by the Department of the Attorney General in the provisions of the APRA.  That person shall be designated by the board to grant or deny access for all requests made under the APRA.  Individuals must be certified annually.

The APRA requires the board to follow all provisions of the APRA regarding requests for documents and other materials, including time frames for response and fees that may be charged. 

The APRA also requires the board to post on its website procedures for making APRA requests.

For details, see the Open Government section of the RI Attorney General’s website:  www.riag.ri.gov/civil/opengovernment/