There are four main types of votes available to public libraries in New York State. They include Chapter 414, Chapter 259, Special District, and School District.While each have their place, the most common votes initiated by area libraries are 414 and Special District votes. Here are some important facts about each:


  • Open to association and municipal libraries.
  • Once passed, it secures the level of funding approved. The process must be repeated to get an increase.
  • This vote type does not call for public election of trustees.

414 Resources

  • Petition Signatures: The number of petition signatures needed to place the 414 on the ballot must equal at least 10% of the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election (in your chartered service area)
  • Due Public Notice: Ensure that the Board of Elections publishes two legal notices in two different papers two weeks before the election.

Special District

  • Special legislation is required to form a special district.
  • Once formed, special districts have a budget vote and trustee election every year.
  • The library becomes a taxing entity.

Special District Resources

Deciding to go for a public vote requires some thought and deliberation among the library director and board members. To help you decide which vote is right for your library, contact MHLS Consultant:

Additional Resources

This toolkit was created on behalf of the 2005-2007 Getting to Yes (GTY) project. GTY is funded by Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds, awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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