How We Are Funded
The Croton Free Library is chartered as an “association library,” one of four different types of public libraries allowed under New York State law. The key feature of this type of library is independence. An association library is owned and managed by a non-profit organization, chartered by the New York State Board of Education, not by a municipal government or school district.
Many people erroneously think the library is part of the school district. After all, residents vote on both budgets at the same time and library taxes are collected by the school district. But this is done primarily so association libraries—which have much smaller budgets than school districts—won’t have to pay the costs of holding a separate budget vote and collecting taxes.
The reason the library budget vote isn’t paired with the one held for the village budget is that our service area is the school district, the boundaries of which are different from (and larger than) the village.
The bottom line is that because we are an association library, taxpayers can vote specifically to support the library and the library can operate independently to best serve the community.
The major source of funds to do this is the local taxes collected for the library by the school district. The remaining sources of income are contributions, other income and investments, and fines and rentals. We receive a small amount from the Town of Cortlandt because we also serve some Cortlandt residents who live outside the school district. Surprisingly, state aid is the smallest source of income.
This covers the annual operating budget, but what about capital expenditures, like the new roof and the Teen Room? These costs are paid almost exclusively by generous donations from the local community and money raised through the annual appeal and the Book & Bake sale.
Examples of community support include:
- The Ottinger Room, the construction of which was made possible by a substantial bequest from Egon and Lilyan Ottinger
- The renovation of the children’s room, as well as the wonderful children’s programming offered on a weekly basis, both made possible by a generous bequest from the Meissner family
- The Teen Room, constructed with funds from an anonymous donor who wanted to encourage teens to use the library