Here is some basic information about rechartering libraries in New York State. For additional information about rechartering your library visit New York State Library Development online.


Libraries in New York State can be Municipal Public Libraries, School District Public Libraries, Special Legislative District Public Libraries or Association Public Libraries.


Municipal Pubic Libraries in New York state are formed by a municipal entity such as a village, town, city, or county. Most Municipal Public Libraries receive their funding through an appropriation by the municipality where they are located. A Municipal Library can become a public library district by re-chartering as a School District Public Library or a Special Legislative District Public Library.


New York State Education Department defines a Public Library Distrcit as a public library which has a process that requires public election of its trustees, secures 60 percent or more of its operating revenue through a public budget vote, and ensures financial accountability by presenting a written budget annually to appropriate funding agencies and the public. The budget would enable the library to meet or exceed minimum standards and carry out its long-range plan of service. Public Library Districts in New York State can be a School District Public Library, a Special Legislative Disrict Public Library or an Association Library District.

- School District Public Library – serves residents of a single school district.

- Special Legislative District Public Library – state legislation authorizes local election to create a district.

- Association Library District – a private entity.

For more information about the types of Public Libraries in NYS please visit this link.

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There are a number of reasons to consider rechartering your library to become a Public Library District. Some of the reasons include establishing improved and predictable funding, improved services, bonding authority, and it is recommeded by the New York State Board of Regents. Each library must consider its own circumstances and needs to determine whether or not it should recharter.

- New York State recommends rechartering libraries to promote the availability of local public library service to all New Yorkers and improve local support for public libraries through the formation of Public Library Districts.

- Public Library Districts provide stable and predictable funding, increase opportunites for programs and services, increase accountability and the ability to bond for capital projects, to name a few. Visit here for a more detailed list.

Reasons to recharter


Have some questions about library districts in New York State? Here are some of the most frequenstly asked. Click on the question to see answers.

1How do I know what type of library we have?

To find your library, you can head to this map of Library Systems in New York State.

Find your color-coded Library System and click on it. A list of libraries in that System will be shown.

Find your library and note the abbreviation after it's name. Find the meaning for that abbreviation at the chart on the very bottom of the page. For example, ACi means Association City (an Association Library), PSD means Public School District (a School District Public Library) and PT means Public Town (a Municipal Public Library).

Not sure what those types of libraries mean? Here is a downloadable comparison chart to explain the types of libraries in New York State.

2Why would a library consider rechartering?

There are a number of reasons to consider rechartering your library including having a sustainable community funding source, ability to have improved programs and materials, and the ability to bond for capital projects. For an article on the many reasons to consider a recharter, visit this link.

3How do we start the process?

Most libraries start the process by determing the status of their library, deciding on an appropriate library district model, updating their long-range plan and creating a plan to implement the change. Here is a detailed list of steps to take to begin the process.

Visit this link to see a chart of the suggested steps to create a School District Public Library and this link for a chart of the suggested steps to create a Special Legislative District Public Library.

4Do we need help with legal issues and communication advice about the process?

There are a number of resources online to help and guide a library in rechartering. As it is a new process for most and can be complex, the staff at the Nioga Library System can provide initial guidance on the process, and recommend legal and commuication resources. Call us to ask any questions and to see how we can assist you.

Here are some additional considerations and recommendations for libraries who are considering becoming a Public Library District.


After deciding to recharter, most libraries begin about a year before beginning the process. A library's timeline for a public vote should provide enough time to organize and conduct appropriate educational and advocacy campaigns. Prior to a vote, is important that a community be well informed and invited to enjoy its library's materials, programs and services.

For a sample timeline of suggested rechartering activities, visit this link. There are a number of items that need to be completed by the libray's Board of Trustees after the public vote on the recharter has been held. The end of the rechartering process can take several months after a succesful vote has been held. Here is an article that outlines the suggested activities after the vote has taken place.

Read about more rechartering


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