Library Law

The Wisconsin Statutes

Chapter 43 [pdf]

This chapter spells out the law governing public libraries and systems in the state. It is the fundamental legal resource for librarians and trustees.

Wisconsin Statutes: Links and Searching

This site offers links to an unofficial version of all the Statutes. It is possible to view each chapter with Adobe Acrobat or to load the chapters in pdf format. The NXT Infobase links also make it possible to search the Statutes, a process that enables one to find material in Chapter 43, but also relevant material elsewhere in the statutes.

Chapter 43: Summaries of Sections [pdf]

This is a short summary of the content of the main sections of Chapter 43, prepared by David Polodna in 1999 and used with his permission.

Chapter 19: Public Records and Open Meetings [pdf]

The laws relating to public records are found in Sub-Chapter II; the laws governing open meetings in Sub-chapter V. Helpful information about both of these laws is available at Wisconsin Library Legislation and Funding, Law, Standards, Policies and Planning.

Additional Links

Frequently Asked Questions About Compliance With the Parental Access to Library Records Law

This FAQ provides answers from DLTCL about Act 207. Includes a link to the text of the law[pdf], which became effective on April 23, 2004.

Wisconsin Library Legislation and Funding, Law, Standards, Policies and Planning

The state has collected links to legal resources that include Chapter 43 and the Administrative Code, information on the open meetings law and closed sessions of the library board, the public records law, sample policies, copyright resources, and more.

League of Wisconsin Municipalities

The League is a not-for-profit organization that "acts as an information clearinghouse, lobbying organization and legal resource for Wisconsin municipalities." It is full of useful information for librarians. For example, see the FAQs on libraries discussing the relationship between the library board and the governing body and on county payments to municipal libraries for services provided to non-residents.

Mary Minow's Map of Library Law

This site includes everything you've ever wanted to know about library law, and more. There's information on court cases relevant to libraries, copyright, intellectual freedom, cyberlaw, and current issues, for example.

Disability Law Handbook

This handbook is a broad overview of rights and obligations under federal disability laws. Individual state laws may impose more stringent obligations. This handbook is intended to inform rather than to advise, and the information provided is of a general nature. You should consult an attorney for advice about your particular situation.

Introduction to Legal Materials: A Manual for Non-Law Librarians in Wisconsin

From the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin, a 2003 revision of this manual in pdf. The site also provides information on purchasing a bound copy. Note especially Section VIII - Collection Development and Appendix E - Legal Information/Assistance Sources in Wisconsin.

Federal Open Government Guide

The 10th edition of "a general 'do-it-yourself' guide to using the federal Freedom of Information Act. Also available as a pdf. It describes how to use the Act as an effective investigative tool, and provides sample letters, forms and directories to assist you in dealing with the government promptly and effectively." It also discusses which agencies are covered by the law and what is protected from disclosure.