Consulting

Records Retention

Public records associated with the running of the library are retained by the city or county in accordance with state guidelines.  This quick guide will help you determine how long certain records are kept by local governments to meet administrative, fiscal, and legal requirements.  Ideally, records are kept at the library as long as they are current (needed) and then transferred to the city/county records management officer.  Before records can be destroyed — even records that meet the required retention period — the city/county needs approval from the Local Government Records Committee (http://sos.mt.gov/Records/committees/local.asp).

Another important consideration for library records is the historic value.  Records that document the history of the library should be considered for permanent retention.  This could include not only minutes, but selected correspondence, reports, information about programs and services, etc.

Library Districts are responsible for retention of all organization records and should follow the schedules as outlined by the State of Montana Records and Information Management Services: http://sos.mt.gov/Records/State/index.asp.

General Financial Records

Invoices, order forms, purchase contracts, contracts in general, annual budgets, budget amendments, ledgers

5 years

Library Districts

See Montana General Records Retention Schedule 2:http://sos.mt.gov/Records/forms/state/State_Schedule2.pdf

Administrative and Legal Records

Written complaints, correspondence/policy correspondence

3 years

Interlibrary loan paperwork

3 years

Monthly reports, library policies, library standards

4 years

Grants and supporting documentation, Federation documents

5 years

Inventory reports

Retain until superseded

Meeting minutes, statistics information

Permanent retention

Library Districts – insurance policies/paperwork, MT DOA paperwork establishing district, IRS paperwork, legal opinions, memos from attorneys

See Montana General Records Retention schedule 3:http://sos.mt.gov/Records/forms/state/State_Schedule3.pdf

Personnel

Position descriptions

2 years after superseded

Performance appraisals

2 years after last use in employment decision, 3 years minimum

Recruitment/selection process documentation

3 years after each selection

Application documentation hired/not hired

Work years plus 10/3 years

Library Districts – PERS paperwork, worker’s compensation paperwork, IRS & MT Department of Revenue payroll paperwork

See Montana General Records Retention Schedule 5:http://sos.mt.gov/Records/forms/state/State_Schedule5.pdf

Miscellaneous

Photo release forms

Suggested retention:  3 years after expiration

If you don’t see it here, please visit the State of Montana Records and Information Management Services website: http://sos.mt.gov/Records/State/index.asp

Print a copy if this MSL Quick Guide to Records Retention (pdf)