The Suffolk Cooperative Library System is an association created by agreement of the Boards of Trustees of its member libraries, each of which remains autonomous under individual charters granted by the New York State Board of Regents. Local library Boards of Trustees elect the nine member board which governs SCLS. The Mission Statement of SCLS reads as follows: The Suffolk Cooperative Library System exists to help local public libraries provide the best in traditional and innovative public library service to all the people of Suffolk County.
Founded in 1961, SCLS is one of twenty-three public library systems providing services to over 740 public libraries throughout New York State. Public library systems are governed by New York State Education Law and the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, and are funded by state aid distributed according to a formula taking into account both the geographic size and the population of the total service area.
In line with its motto, “Helping Your Local Library Serve Your Community Better,” SCLS offers a variety of support services to its member libraries. In addition, the Patchogue-Medford Library, as the designated central library also supplies system-wide reference and collection evaluation services.
Through the years the SCLS service program has been amended many times in response to the changing conditions and needs of its member libraries. Most recently the Plan of Service was amended in 2012 to reflect the growing level of cooperation among the member libraries. Financial support for essential services beyond what is funded by New York State aid is contributed by the member libraries. The annual operating budget of the System is voted on by the member libraries.
The service program of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System is the result of a dynamic and responsive process that constantly strives to help its members provide quality library service to their patrons.