Types of Library Systems: A Comparison

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Public Library Systems (23) 

3R's Systems
(9)

School Library Systems
(41)

Consolidated
(3)
Federated
(4)
Cooperative
(16)

How Established

Chartered as a single entity with one Board of Trustees. All libraries are branches. Created by action of the board or boards of supervisors of the county or counties involved. Member libraries are autonomous and have their own Boards. An association created by agreement of the boards of members, chartered libraries which maintain their autonomy. An association created by a group of non-profit and for-profit institutions providing library services. By approval of the Commissioner.

Charter

Regents incorporate by charter. Regents incorporate by charter. Regents incorporate by charter. Regents incorporate by charter. No charter. Functions as unit of a BOCES or Big 5 cities school district.

Standards for Service

Education Department registers and requires a plan of service. Must meet minimum public library standards in order to receive public funds. Must have an approved plan to receive State funds. Those systems which are libraries as well as library systems are registered and must meet minimum public library standards. Also must have an approved plan in order to receive State funds. Education Department approves a plan of service. Must have an approved plan to receive any public funds. Education Department approves a plan of service. Must have an approved plan to receive any public funds. Must have plan of service and meet Commissioner's Regulations 90.18 & Ed. Law 282, 283, 284.

Public Financial Support

Budget approved by City of New York. Primarily local funds with limited state aid. Budget approved by county. Some local funds for some of these systems, the balance is state aid. State aid. Budget approved by Education Department. Primarily state aid though dues are charged to members and some services have fees. Budget approved by Education Department. Primarily state aid approved by SED. Some costs may be underwritten or shared by BOCES or Big 5 City School Districts. Budget approved by Education Department.

Governance

Trustees named by City Council. Parent governmental units appoint the board. Board members of member libraries elect the system board members. Members designate member library representatives to elect the board members. The BOCES or board of the Big 5 City school district is the governing board of the school library system. An advisory council is required.

Membership

No "members"; outlets are branches and run by systemwide policies. Member libraries are autonomous public and association libraries and join the system by choice. No dues or fees. Member libraries are autonomous public and association libraries and join the system by choice. No dues or fees. Academic, hospital, business, law & other special libraries as well as public library systems, school library systems and selected individual public libraries that meet criteria set in law and by the Education Department. All school districts and nonpublic schools within a BOCES that meet eligibility criteria. All school libraries within a Big 5 City School District.

Area Served

Ranges from a single county to three counties. Ranges from a single county to three counties. Ranges from a single county to five counties. Only one county (Ulster) is divided between public library systems. Ranges from 2 counties to 14 counties. Coterminous with 2 to 4 public library systems. Coterminous with the BOCES or city school district they were established to serve.

Civil Service

No Yes, some No No Support staff usually Civil Service. Librarians vary.

Retirement

Yes Yes Yes Have own plan Yes
  Consolidated

Brooklyn (Kings County); New York (Bronx, New York, Richmond counties); Queens
Federated

Buffalo-Erie; Clinton-Essex-Franklin; Monroe; Onondaga
Cooperative

Chautauqua-Cattaraugus; Finger Lakes (Cayuga, Cortland, Seneca, Tioga, Tompkins counties); Four County (Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego counties); Mid-Hudson (Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Putnam, Ulster [part] counties); Mid-York (Herkimer, Madison, Oneida counties); Mohawk Valley (Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady, Schoharie counties); Nassau; Nioga (Genesee, Niagara, Orleans counties); North Country (Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, St. Lawrence counties); Pioneer (Livingston, Ontario, Wayne, Wyoming counties); Ramapo Catskill (Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster [part] counties); Southern Adirondack (Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren, Washington counties); Southern Tier (Allegany, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates counties); Suffolk; Upper Hudson (Albany, Rensselaer counties); Westchester

Image map of reference and research library resources systems in New York State

3RS System links

Image map of school library systems in New York State

School Library System links

Image map of public library systems in New York State

Public Library System links

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Last Updated: May 22, 2009 -- asm