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New York State Standards

In order to be eligible to collect ANY public funds, a public library in New York State must receive and maintain a "charter" granted by New York State.  Through the Division of Library Development of the New York State Library, the State requires public libraries to meet minimum standards to maintain their charters.  Failure to meet those standards will eventually result in a library losing its charter and along with the charter, its ability to receive ANY public funds (State or local), effectively forcing the library to close.

The standard that most directly impacts library operating costs mandates minimum weekly hours of service.  The number of minimum hours of service is determined by the population of the library's chartered service area, specifically:


Minimum Weekly Hours Open

Up to 500












100,000 and above



For example, based upon their respective populations, both the Town of Tonawanda (2010 census population 73,567) and the Town of Clarence (2010 census population 30,673) must provide their service area a minimum of 55 weekly open hours to maintain their New York State Charter.  Since Clarence has only one library building, it must be open 55 hours per week.  For service areas with more than one library location, such as the Town of Tonawanda, any individual library can be open less than the minimum 55 hours per week as long as the schedules are coordinated such that within the Town of Tonawanda there are 55 discrete hours per week in which at least one library is open.