New York State Library

State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) Approval Documentation


New York’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is part of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. The mission of SHPO is to help communities identify, evaluate, preserve, and revitalize their historic, archaeological, and cultural resources.

If your library building is 50 years old or older and/or the project involves ground disturbance and/or demolition, please read the Formal Agreement between SHPO and the State Education Department to determine if your project requires a SHPO approval. (This MOU has been extended through December 31, 2023 by agreement of the State Education Department and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.)

Taking an exemption based on Attachment A

If an applicant is using an exemption from Appendix A, the applicant must state the exemption on the application. If an applicant is unsure that a project activity is exempt, the applicant should get an approval letter from SHPO. The exemption must be applicable to all project elements. If some project elements are not exempt, then the applicant should get an approval letter from SHPO for those elements.

If appropriate, an approval letter from SHPO must be attached to your application as a signed PDF.

Obtaining a SHPO approval letter

All consultation reviews through SHPO are now processed through the Cultural Resource Information System (CRIS). Paper submissions are no longer accepted. First-time users may find it helpful to visit the CRIS Online Help System.

Please be prepared to submit the following items:

  • Contact information
  • Brief project description
  • Location of project area
  • Building location
  • Building description
  • Interior and exterior photos
  • Relevant supplemental information like plans and specs

Please note that the minimum review period is approximately 30 days and can take 6-8 weeks from the time the material is accepted in CRIS. If required information is omitted, a request for additional information will be sent via CRIS to the contact person at the library. Upon receipt of the additional information at the SHPO, it may take an additional 30 days for the review.

Please provide adequate information and plan ahead for the review process. When the review is complete, a link to SHPO’s letter in CRIS will be sent to you via email. Please attach the SHPO approval letter to your application as a signed .PDF.

In the event a building is determined by SHPO to be of historical significance, the SHPO approval letter must specify the precise changes to the building that are being approved. Any project components not specifically approved in writing will not be considered for funding. In the event a building is determined by SHPO to lack historical significance, a letter to that effect from SHPO must accompany the application. Such letter may be used in subsequent years to comply with construction application requirements.

All SHPO letters must be submitted as PDF attachments.

Last Updated: July 6, 2023