Special Legislative Library Districts and Governor Cuomo’s Veto

In November of 2014 Governor Cuomo vetoed Starr Library of Rhinebeck’s special district legislation. This legislation would have authorized the voters of the town of Rhinebeck to create the Starr Public Library District, the funding and governance model promoted by the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, the NYS Division of Library Development and the Mid-Hudson Library System. This veto was unprecedented, in fact, this Governor signed two identical bills into existence for the Grinnell Public Library District in Wappingers Falls and the Reed Memorial Library District in Carmel.

Reintroduction of this legislation is part of the local legislative advocacy that is going on behind the scenes. Stephen Cook, director of Starr Library is working with a statewide taskforce, which includes MHLS Coordinator for Library Sustainability Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, to educate the Governor’s staff and work Rhinebeck’s state representatives to move this bill forward.

We ask that you stay tuned on this issue, you should be concerned that the Governor would block a pathway to sustainable funding for a public library, this could impact the future of libraries for decades to come. Your strength as a library advocate will be called on when the time is right. Funding for libraries must be sustainable and decisions about library funding should be in the hands of the taxpayers. MHLS will continue to fight the good fight to ensure sustainable funding options for libraries are protected.