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Library Law

Foster Swift's representation of public bodies spans several decades. Representation of libraries has become a focus of our municipal practice group. From our various locations, we have developed and expanded continuing client relationships with libraries across Michigan. We currently represent over 65 libraries around the state. Many of our specific experiences are highlighted below. We have extensive experience in the handling of library matters as General Counsel and on a special project basis.

We are familiar with the unique laws that apply to libraries and have assisted in forming many district libraries across Michigan. We have expertise dealing with the employment, real estate and financial issues that are involved in the process. We also understand the specific privacy laws that apply only to libraries, such as the Michigan Library Privacy Act. We have also assisted libraries in developing policies that reflect the unique nature of the library. Please find below some specific examples of issues that we have helped our library clients resolve:

  • Drafting district library agreements and assisting with all aspects of the district library formation process.
  • Assisting in the formation of township and city libraries.
  • Amending existing district library agreements, including adding participating municipalities to existing districts.
  • Interpreting the District Library Establishment Act, the District Library Financing Act and the City, Village and Township Libraries Act, 1877 PA 164.
  • Drafting millage proposals and educating library boards regarding the application of the Michigan Campaign Finance laws.
  • Drafting and implementing patron behavior, Internet use, meeting room and other library policies.
  • Addressing board governance issues, including the application of the Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Act.
  • Preparing installment purchase agreements, leases, easements and real estate purchase agreements that meet the requirements of the District Library Establishment Act and the District Library Financing Act.
  • Creating endowment and gift programs.
  • Reviewing of Library contracts, including AIA contracts, library service agreements and other vendor contracts.
  • Drafting employee lease agreements and handling of employment issues.
  • Assisting library clients with environmental contamination issues, including working with consultants and State of Michigan agencies.
  • Assisting libraries with requests for information by law enforcement agencies and private entities, including the application of the Library Privacy Act and Patriot Act.
  • Determining if an expenditure is a proper expenditure of library funds.
  • Notifying clients of amendments and changes to existing laws.
  • Representing libraries in litigation involving building construction issues. 

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