Supporting 47 member libraries in New York State, the Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS) engages with a population of 858,351 (2020 US Census) over almost 2,500 square miles. With a deep commitment to promoting the value of Intellectual Freedom, RCLS works jointly with member libraries to raise awareness about library services and eliminate barriers to library access and use. The RCLS team assists the libraries in meeting the changing needs of their diverse users in Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and southern Ulster counties. Each library has its own Director and Board of Trustees, providing library services to residents within urban, suburban, and rural settings. RCLS assists their efforts to be responsive, proactive, vital community institutions.
Providing support for member libraries is the primary responsibility of the System. The RCLS team offers a broad range of consulting services. In addition to traditional areas of library operations, areas of assistance have been expanded to include Advocacy, IT/Cybersecurity, Marketing, Sustainability, and EDI (Equity, Diversity & Inclusion). The System regularly provides programs and training and publishes and distributes electronic newsletters on current activities and emerging trends to library staff and trustees.
RCLS provides an Integrated Library System (ILS), a service that manages circulation, borrower registration, an online catalog, reserves, and interlibrary loans. In partnership with the RCLS Central Library (Newburgh Free Library), members are provided access to electronic databases and digital downloads of ebooks, audiobooks, videos, and music. RCLS operates a Delivery Service five days a week which transports library materials between and among member libraries, libraries within the Mid-Hudson Library System, and Correctional Facilities within its service area.
The RCLS headquarters is located in Middletown, NY. Chartered in 1959 by the New York State Board of Regents, the System is a non-profit, cooperative public library system governed by an unsalaried eleven-member Board of Trustees elected for five (5) year terms. The primary source of income for the System is state aid earned according to the formula established in New York State Education Law. RCLS also competes for grants to fund special projects for new and existing library services. The System has 27 (FTE) employees, including four professional librarians and a CFO.
RCLS is a member of New York Library Association (NYLA), American Library Association (ALA), and Southeastern New York Library Resources Council (SENYLRC), a state-funded, multi-type library cooperative. The System’s website (www.rcls.org) provides access to a wide range of information about RCLS services and resources.