How does the NY HERO Act https://dol.ny.gov/ny-hero-act apply to the different types of libraries? Are Association Libraries included?
The letters in the "NY HERO Act" stand for "Health and Essential Rights."
What "essential rights" does it protect?
The new laws are activated only when an "infectious disease" is declared by the NY Commissioner of Health. This means that right now, while the law is in effect, but no disease is designated, there is no need to have an active plan...but entities have to be ready to spring into action.
Which brings us to the question: What types of libraries must comply?
We'll tackle the easy part first: without question, association libraries, which are private education corporations, must comply.
For non-association libraries ("public" libraries), the language of the Act is much less clear, since the Act specifically exempts "...the state, any political subdivision of the state, a public authority, or any other governmental agency or instrumentality."
That sounds simple, right? They should be exempt. After all, libraries are considered, in some contexts, nigh-governmental entities.
But as many know, a public library's status as "governmental" ebbs and flows.
Here are just two recent examples:
Example #1: 2020 brought an interesting development when, after months of anxious curiosity, the NY Forward "powers that be" confirmed that public libraries were always considered to be exempt from the Executive Orders shutting down private businesses (and instead, were to follow the mandates governing local municipalities). So: a governmental entity.
Example #2: A noteworthy new case from NY's second-highest court has found that for purposes of the Prevailing Wage Act (Section 230 of the NY Labor Law), a public library is NOT "the state, any of its political subdivisions, a public benefit corporation, a public authority or commission or special purpose district board appointed pursuant to law, and a board of education." In other works: not a governmental entity.
So, when it comes to this new law, I can't point to any definite authority either way; just because one part of the Labor Law excludes libraries, doesn't mean another does. And certainly, we have no case law yet. That said, if I HAD to pick, I would err on the side of caution and say that public libraries, which are education corporations with their own governance structures (just as the Court commented in "Executive Cleaning"), have to comply with the HERO Act.
Since the stakes are high for non-compliance, any public library that decides the HERO Act doesn't apply to them (and that's fine to reach a different conclusion; I am not omniscient, nor do I have a crystal ball) should:
1) Get that opinion, in writing, from an attorney retained to give advice to that library specifically, and considering its unique position under the law;
2) Confirm the library is in compliance with New York Labor Law 27-a, which covers workplace safety in "the state, any political subdivision of the state, a public authority or any other governmental agency or instrumentality thereof."
The bottom line on this: when it comes to occupational safety, a public library can't fall into a hole between the mandates governing public and private entities: it either has to follow the rules of a "governmental instrumentality" employing people as government employees (and giving them all the protections government employees get under the law) OR it is following the rules of a private education corporation (and giving them all the protections private employees get under the law).
Since the HERO Act is really about taking all the protocols the State of New York developed in response to COVID, and ensuring they are on hand and ready for the next pandemic, a library can't go wrong by having "an exposure prevention plan available, upon request, to all employees, employee representatives, collective bargaining representatives, independent contractors, the department of labor, and the department of health." By making a clear decision about what safety rules apply to your library, and developing a plan to follow them, you can not only comply with the law, but show that the library is working to keep employees safe.
Thank you for an important question.
 What about the "O?" I double-checked the bills in both the State Senate and Assembly and apparently, it's just a bonus letter (I guess the "HER" act would imply only women get clean air).
 The NYS Department of Labor, as of July 12, 2021, states: "Currently, while employers must adopt plans as required by the law, as of the date of this writing no designation has been made and plans are not required to be in effect."
 (Matter of Exec. Cleaning Servs. Corp. v NY State Dept. of Labor, 193 AD3d 13 [3d Dept 2021])
 Contrast this with the definition of who’s in/excluded from the HERO Act: "'Employer' shall mean any person, entity, business, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or association employing, hiring, or paying for the labor of any individual in any occupation, industry, trade, business, or service. The term shall not include the state, any political subdivision of the state, a public authority, or any other governmental agency or instrumentality."
 I know, my stomach turned a bit when I typed the phrase "next pandemic." But no point putting our heads in the sand.
 From the requirements summarized in the NYS Department of Health guidance here: https://dol.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/07/p764-the-airborne-infectious-disease-exposure-prevention-standard-v4.pdf.