New York State's School Library Systems

Ensuring that all New York's students are information literate

Facts About School Library Systems

  • Serve 3.2 million pupils, teachers and administrators statewide.
  • Serve 4,236 school library media centers in public school districts and nonpublic schools statewide.
  • Facilitate interlibrary loan requests and resource sharing.
  • Provide access to NOVELNY and other electronic information databases that include the full text of magazines, newspapers, etc.
  • Provide professional development opportunities for school librarians, staffand other educators and administrators.
  • Provide electronic catalogs of regional and local resources.
  • Connect with the New York State Library and public, academic and special libraries for access to specialized resources.

Effective School Library Programs Improve Student Achievement

  • Provide for higher learning standards and increased student achievement.
  • Participate in and promote statewide initiatives such as the New York Online Virtual Electronic Library (NOVELNY). While the average school library currently has 25 periodical subscriptions, NOVELNY brings the full text of thousands of magazines, newspapers and other digitized research materials to students, teachers and administrators.
  • According to the New York Comprehensive Center, school libraries and librarians “support at-risk students through personalized instruction, networks of support, and access to 21st century technology and technological skills. Schools with effective library programs have seen increases in graduation rates and higher performance levels beginning earlier in students’ academic careers” (2011).


Big 5 Cities

  • Buffalo
  • New York
  • Rochester
  • Syracuse
  • Yonkers

Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES)

  • Albany-Schoharie-Schenectady-Saratoga (Capital Region)
  • Broome-Delaware-Tioga
  • Cattaraugus-Allegany-Erie-Wyoming
  • Cayuga-Onondaga
  • Clinton-Essex-Warren-Washington
  • Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego
  • Dutchess
  • Erie #1
  • Erie #2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus
  • Franklin-Essex-Hamilton
  • Genesee-Livingston-Steuben-Wyoming (Genesee Valley)
  • Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery
  • Jefferson-Lewis
  • Madison-Oneida
  • Monroe #1
  • Monroe #2-Orleans
  • Nassau
  • Oneida-Herkimer-Madison
  • Onondaga-Cortland-Madison
  • Ontario-Seneca-Yates-Cayuga-Wayne (Wayne-Finger Lakes)
  • Orange-Ulster
  • Orleans-Niagara
  • Oswego
  • Otsego-Delaware-Schoharie-Greene (Otsego-Northern Catskills)
  • Putnam-Westchester
  • Rensselaer-Columbia-Greene (Questar III)
  • Rockland
  • St. Lawrence-Lewis
  • Schuyler-Steuben-Chemung-Tioga-Allegany (Greater Southern Tier)
  • Westchester
  • Suffolk, Eastern
  • Suffolk, Western
  • Sullivan
  • Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga
  • Ulster
  • Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex

students, school library media specialists, faculty and administrators
in public and nonpublic member schools.

School Library Systems Help Students Succeed

  • Support the New York State Common Core Learning Standards
  • Lead the way in information literacy
  • Share resources – print and electronic
  • Make print and electronic resources accessible to students and the education community through web connections
  • Build cooperative reading and research resources
  • Train librarians and staff in the latest technology for learning
  • Establish special collections to meet diverse learning needs
  • Build Cooperative Book Collections to be more cost-effective
  • Help teachers redesign research units for 21st Century authentic learning models
  • Provide access to information and library resources locally, regionally, statewide and nationally
  • Provide electronic resources for reduced   prices through cooperative purchases
  • Connect high schools with college and university libraries
  • Help to build a community of lifelong learners
  • Facilitate interlibrary loan requests and resource sharing
  • Encourage use of NOVELNY
  • Implement the Empire State Information Fluency Continuum


In 1984, the State Legislature authorized the establishment of school library systems in Education Law §282-284. Governance and function are established in Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (CR 90.18). School Library Systems are based within the State's Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and the Big 5 City school districts.

The 41 school library systems are supported primarily by State Aid. Systems qualify for aid based on an approved five-year Plan of Service, annual budget and annual report. In addition to a base grant, State Aid is allocated by a formula that includes the number of member school districts, the number of pupils in the service area and the square mileage of the system service area.

For more information on and links to School Library Systems and school libraries:

Visit the New York State Library web site

or the School Library Systems Association of New York State, Inc. web site external link(opens in a new window)

or call the Division of Library Development at the New York State Library: 518-474-7890.

Click on this for an image map of school library systems in New York State

For more information on the New York Online Virtual Electronic Library (NOVELNY):

Visit the New York State Library's NOVELNY web site


Back to the School Library Systems Program Page | Back to the Libraries and Library Systems Page

Printable version pdf icon (334k)

Last Updated: March 25, 2016 -- asm; for questions or comments contact Carol Desch