New York State Library

NYS Library Aid Programs Under Education Law at a Glance

Education Lawexternal link as amended by Chapter 917, Laws of 1990; Chapter 260, Laws of 1993; Chapter 170, Laws of 1994; Chapter 362, Laws of 2013; Chapter 148 of the Laws of 2014; Chapter 480 of the Laws of 2015; and Chapter 563 of the Laws of 2021. This list does not include additional funds recommended by the Governor or Legislature nor does it include School Aid for library materials.

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 757 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 Councils

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 Councils coordinate the hospital library program, the medical information services program, and the coordinated collection development program for academic 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 40 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.

Central Library Services Aid

The Central Library Services Aid program provides State aid to public library systems 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.


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 formula aid 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.

State Aid for Library Construction

Funds provide up to 90 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. The program also provides support for broadband infrastructure projects.

Coordinated Collection Development for Academic Libraries

This program promotes regional coordination of collection development in academic libraries by providing formula funding 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 councils, working with the academic libraries in their regions, have formulated collection development plans for their regions.

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:

  • Aged;
  • At-risk youth, birth to age 21
  • Blind/physically disabled;
  • Developmentally or learning disabled;
  • Educationally disadvantaged;
  • Geographically isolated;
  • Institutionalized;
  • Members of ethnic/minority groups in need of special services; or
  • Unemployed/underemployed.

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.

Hospital / Medical Library Services

Through these programs, State funds are allocated to the nine Reference and Research Library Resources Councils 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.

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.

Services to Blind and Handicapped Readers

State funds are provided to The New York Public Library's Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Libraryexternal link 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.

Summer Reading at New York Libraries

Education Law §273(a)external link provides an unspecified amount of funding from the "Love Your Library" fund established in §99-L2 of the State Finance Lawexternal link to support formula aid to public library systems for participation in Summer Reading at New York Libraries. 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.

Last Updated: June 28, 2023