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Directors Do It All: Funding

Securing Adequate Funding

Know Your Funding Sources!

Most libraries receive funding from a variety of sources. Here are the four most common in our system:

School ballot referendum: The most stable, sustainable source of funding for libraries, a school ballot referendum puts library funding directly into the hands of voters in your community.

Municipal funding: Depending on your community, your library may receive funds from one or more municipal governments.

County funding: Three out of four of the counties that comprise our service area allocate funds to support libraries.

Local Library Services Aid: This is direct aid from New York State that is calculated according to population. The state sends the funds to NCLS, and we then directly deposit them into member library accounts. (Find your allocation here.)

Marketing Materials

Ballot FAQ Worksheet: Use this tool to help you answer anticipated questions from the public.

Updated for 2024! Use Canva to customize the following resources for your library:

8.5 x 11 Flyer

Facebook Post

Instagram Post

Ballot Basics

Public Library Districts

"In 2000 the New York State Board of Regents recognized the concept of “public library districts” as the best approach to assure the continued viability of the public libraries in our state. Though creating a district is often quite complex and always takes great effort, the long term health of your institution is your responsibility." -- Public Library District Toolkit: Strategies to Assure Your Library's Legal and Financial Stability

Have questions about public library districts? The New York State Library has produced a toolkit to help the library leaders of today ensure access to local library services for the communities of tomorrow through secure, sustainable funding.

Funding Best Practices

The library board must ensure that the library has an adequate level of funding to carry out its mission.

It's important for trustees to fully understand where library funds come from and exercise fiduciary responsibility for the use of those public and private funds.

Funding best practices include:

  • Participate in country funding process
  • Advocate for state support for libraries and library systems
  • Understand other financial issues that affect your library (reporting, 501c3 status, etc.)
  • Know available funding options

Quick Look: Tax Cap Report