New York State's School Library Systems

Ensuring that all New York's students succeed

Facts About School Library Systems

  • There are 40 State-supported systems.
  • Serve 3.2 million students, as well as teachers and administrators statewide.
  • Serve 4,236 school libraries in public school districts and nonpublic schools statewide.
  • Provide access to NOVELNY and other electronic information databases that include the full text of magazines, newspapers, books, etc.
  • Provide electronic catalogs of regional and local resources.
  • Facilitate interlibrary loan requests and resource sharing.
  • Provide professional development opportunities for school librarians and other educators and administrators.
  • Connect with the New York State Library as well as public, academic and special libraries for access to specialized resources.

Effective School Library Programs Improve Student Achievement

  • Roles of the School Librarian: Empowering Student Learning and Successpdf icon (.PDF, 390k) analyzes recent research on five critical roles of school librarians. This 2019 informational brief from the Northeast Comprehensive Center (NCC)/RMC Research Corporation, the New York State Library and the New York State Education Department emphasizes not only the importance but the versatility of school librarians in assisting the learning process for students.
  • Strong school library programs, which are supported and enhanced by the School Library System network, provide for higher learning standards and increased student achievement.
  • The Empire State Information Fluency Continuum is used by School Library Systems to emphasize the importance of inquiry in learning.  It establishes information fluency standards for grades K-12, which are aligned with New York State Learning Standards. The fusion of the two ideas aims to create students who are capable of absorbing and applying appropriate information to any situation.


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-Oswego
  • Ontario-Seneca-Yates-Cayuga-Wayne (Wayne-Finger Lakes)
  • Orange-Ulster
  • Orleans-Niagara
  • 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

SCHOOL LIBRARY SYSTEMS SERVE students, school librarians, other faculty and administrators
in public school districts and nonpublic schools.

What is a School Library System?

New York State’s 40 School Library Systems are State funded consortia designed to support the school library programs of member public school districts and nonpublic schools.

School Library Systems provide specific services and programs that support the learning process of students. School library systems promote increased student achievement through the use of quality information resources.

Connects Pre-K – 12 students and staff to a world of information

  • Provide access to information and library resources locally, regionally, statewide and nationally.
  • Provide access to the latest advances in library and education technology.
  • Promote information literacy to students, practice training in digital citizenship and support the New York State Learning Standards.
  • Use the latest technology to make print and electronic resources accessible to students and the education community throughout New York State.
  • Establish special collections of materials through Cooperative Collection Development projects and provide electronic resources through cooperative purchases

Conducts professional development and awareness activities

  • Provide training on the latest advancements in technologies for school librarians, teachers, clerical and administrative staff. Serve some 3 million students statewide.
  • Support the pre-K-12 curriculum and the New York State Learning Standards


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 40 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 school districts and nonpublic schools, the number of students 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

Visit the School Library Systems Association of New York State, Inc. web site external link

Visit the State Education Department web site

Call the Division of Library Development at the New York State Library: 518-474-7196.

School Library Systems

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

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Last Updated: November 22, 2019 -- sm; for questions or comments contact Carol Desch