Public Library District Facilities

Public library districts have several options for financing expanding or improving their facilities. However, these options vary based on the type of library district and the ownership of the facility.

If a Library District Owns its Facility

Association Library Districts cannot place bonding propositions before the public. They can, however, place propositions on a school or municipal ballot to increase the amount of tax support received in order to cover costs associated with financing improvements to facilities. These costs are built into the library’s normal operating budget. Association Library Districts, like all public libraries, do have the potential to have the New York State Dormitory Authority issue bonds on their behalf. At the present time, separate State Legislation is required to make an Association Library District eligible to bond through the Dormitory Authority. If the Dormitory does issue bonds on behalf of an Association Library District, the library must pay debt service on the bonds from its operating budget.

Other options for financing construction are also available to Association Library Districts that own their own facilities. Options include but are not limited to: State construction grants; private foundation grants; traditional mortgages and leasing; special State or Federal grants; corporate or personal gifts.

School District Public Libraries are able to place propositions to bond for capital projects, including facilities, on the school district ballot. Once approved by the public, the school district will issue bonds on behalf of the library. Debt service on the bonds will show up as a separate line on tax bills.

Other funding options available to School District Public Libraries for their facilities include but are not limited to: Bonding through the New York State Dormitory Authority; State construction grants; private foundation grants; special State or Federal grants; corporate or personal gifts; traditional lease or rental.

Special Legislative District Public Libraries are able to place propositions to bond for capital projects, including facilities, before voters of the library district. The State legislation that authorized the local election to create the district should specify the entity authorize to issue bonds on behalf of the library district if the bonding proposition is approved by voters. This is usually a town or village within the service area of the district. Debt service on the bonds will show us as a separate line on tax bills.

Other funding options are also available to Special Legislative District Public Libraries that own their own facilities. Options include but are not limited to: State construction grants; private foundation grants; traditional leasing and rental; special State or Federal grants; corporate or personal gifts.

If a Library District Does Not Own its Facility

In situations where a library district is operating within a facility it does not own, its options for financing facility improvements will depend on the owning entity.

If a library facility is owned by a town, village or other municipality, the municipality may simply elect to authorize the sale of bonds to improve or expand the facility. Depending on the arrangement that the library district has with the municipality for use of the facility, the cost of leasing or renting the facility from the municipality may increase. In some cases, a municipality may elect to finance the project without any payment from the library district. Other funding options for library facility improvements available to library districts whose facilities are owned by municipalities include but are not limited to: State construction grants; private foundation grants; special State or Federal grants; corporate or personal gifts. Since the library district does not own its facility, prior approval by the municipality should be obtained for any projects to expand or improve the facility.

If a library facility is owned by a private individual or foundation, there is no opportunity to bond for facility improvements or expansion. In these cases, the improvements to the facility could be financed by the owner through traditional means available to private parties. The library district could seek funding options for facility improvements or expansion through private foundation grants or corporate or personal gifts. Since the library district does not own its facility, prior approval by the individual or organization should be obtained for any projects to expand or improve the facility.


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Last Updated: July 23, 2009 -- asm [created January 27, 2005]; for questions or comments, contact us