New York State Library Aid Programs Under Education Law(1) at a Glance

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Aid to Support Library Systems

Public Library Systems and Public Libraries. Formula aid is provided by the Governor and Legislature for public library systems and their services. Twenty-three public library systems facilitate sharing of library resources for public libraries and provide a variety of services to the public libraries in their service area, to institutions, and to the special populations identified under coordinated outreach. State aid supports interlibrary loan, delivery, continuing education, coordination of collection development, automation, and Internet access.

Direct formula aid to assist individual public libraries is provided by the Local Services Aid Program through the public library systems. Each of the some 755 public libraries in New York State that belongs to a public library system and that meets minimum standards set by the Education Department is entitled to receive this aid.

Reference and Research Library Resources Systems. Formula aid is provided by the Governor and Legislature to promote and facilitate resource-sharing activities among academic and special libraries and other types of systems. Nine Reference and Research Library Resources Systems coordinate the hospital library program, the medical information services program, the coordinated collection development program for academic libraries, and the regional databases program for libraries in their service area. State aid supports interlibrary loan, delivery, continuing education, automation and other resource sharing activities.

School Library Systems. Formula aid is provided by the Governor and Legislature to 41 school library systems to facilitate sharing of library resources for both public and nonpublic school libraries. State aid supports interlibrary loan, delivery, continuing education, coordination of collection development, automation and database building activities, and service to clients with special needs.

Go to the Libraries and Library Systems page

Adult Literacy Services

The Adult Literacy Services program provides grant funds for establishing or increasing public library services to illiterate adults. Libraries must cooperate directly with schools, colleges, or other community agencies or organizations operating similar adult literacy programs. Libraries have an important role to play in providing services to help New Yorkers of all ages become functionally literate.

Go to the Adult Literacy Services page

Central Library Aid

The Central Library Aid program provides State aid for one central library or, in a few cases, two co-central libraries in each of the 23 public library systems. It assists in supporting that library's reference and information service to residents of the system service area. Two forms of aid are available:

  • Central Book Aid is used to purchase adult nonfiction materials which are then housed in the Central Library; and
  • Central Library Development Aid may be used to help support a wide variety of costs involved in providing such service.

Go to the Central Book Aid / Central Library Development Aid page


This program provides funding for libraries and other organizations engaged in efforts to preserve deteriorating library research material. There are two parts to the Conservation/Preservation Program:

  • An annual statutory grant program for the 11 comprehensive research libraries; and
  • An annual discretionary grant program for libraries, archives, historical societies and other institutions that own research materials.

Go to the Conservation/Preservation page


Funds provide up to 75 percent of approved costs of acquisition, construction, renovation, or rehabilitation of public libraries or public library system headquarters. Under the Commissioner's Regulations, each of the public library systems must develop a plan of library service for administering the program in its service area.

Go to the State Aid for Library Construction Program page

Coordinated Collection Development for Academic Libraries

This program promotes regional coordination of collection development in academic libraries by providing annual grants based on enrollment to public and not-for-profit colleges, universities, and community colleges that meet certain conditions. These conditions include constitutional eligibility to receive State aid, membership in a reference and research library resources system, and full participation in interlibrary loan and other resource sharing programs. The nine reference and research library resources systems, working with the academic libraries in their regions, have formulated collection development plans for their regions.

Go to the Coordinated Collection Development Program Guidelines for Resource Sharing page

Coordinated Outreach to Special Populations

State aid is allocated to each public library system to plan and implement an integrated program to identify, contact, and provide library services to persons who are:

  • Blind/physically disabled;
  • Aged;
  • Developmentally or learning disabled;
  • Institutionalized;
  • Members of ethnic/minority groups in need of special services;
  • Educationally disadvantaged;
  • Unemployed/underemployed; or
  • Geographically isolated.

Each public library system is responsible for identifying the number of persons in each group and for developing a plan to serve them. Community-based advisory committees representative of service providers and users from the designated groups assist the systems in determining priorities and choices of programs and services.

Go to the Coordinated Outreach Services Program page

Family Literacy Library Services

Provides grant funds for public library programs for parents and children that involve cooperation with other community and educational organizations. The target audience is young people, birth to age 18 and their parents/caregivers.

Go to the Family Literacy Library Services page

Hospital/Medical Library Services

Through these programs, State funds are allocated to the nine Reference and Research Library Resources Systems to assist the libraries in not-for-profit, acute-care hospitals to meet the Regents standards for hospital libraries and to integrate these libraries into existing networks.

Go to the Medical Information Services Program page

Indian Libraries

This program provides State aid to libraries on the Seneca Nation of Indians, Seneca-Tonawanda, and St. Regis-Mohawk Indian Reservations for a wide range of library programs and services to meet the diversified educational and informational needs of Native Americans.

Institution Library Services

Inter-Institutional Grants (Public Library System Services to Local County Jails). This program provides State funds to all 23 public library systems for providing library services to county jails in New York State.

Public Library System Services to State Correctional Facilities. Seventeen public library systems receive State funding to provide library services to New York's State correctional facilities. Each public library system develops a plan of library service in consultation with the facility or facilities.

Regional Bibliographic Databases and Interlibrary Resources Sharing

The program provides State funding to promote automation projects that "support bibliographic control and interlibrary resource sharing of information." Nine regional programs are coordinated by the reference and research library resources systems. Each region has a five-year plan, which is used as the basis for allocating funds to all types of libraries and systems.

Services to Blind and Handicapped Readers

State funds are provided to The New York Public Library's Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library and to the New York State Library Talking Book and Braille Library to serve people who are blind and/or handicapped. The New York Public Library serves some 25,000 customers in seven downstate counties in New York City and two subregional libraries on Long Island. The New York State Library serves more than 32,000 blind or handicapped readers in 55 upstate counties.

State Aid for Summer Reading Programs

Education Law §273 provides an unspecified amount of funding from the "Love Your Library" fund established in §99-L2 of the State Finance Law to support formula aid to public library systems for participation in the statewide Summer Reading Program. Sixty percent is distributed on a per capita basis, and the remaining forty percent is distributed as equal flat grants among 23 public library systems.

(1) Education Law as amended by Chapter 917, Laws of 1990; Chapter 260, Laws of 1993; Chapter 170, Laws of 1994; and Chapter 362, Laws of 2013. This list does not include additional funds recommended by the Governor or Legislature nor does it include School Aid for library materials.

Last Updated: May 17, 2016 -- asm