Established in 1884, the library has a long and rich history of service as the hub of cultural and intellectual activity in the City.

The library was chartered in 1917 by the State of New York as an Association Library. It is a nonprofit corporation, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. The library is a member of the Westchester Library System (WLS), sharing its resources with the 37 other libraries in the county. Anyone who lives, works or goes to school in Rye is eligible for a free library card which may be used at any library in the county.

The Rye Free Reading Room is governed by a Board of Trustees whose members are elected for staggered 3-year terms. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the library’s operation, staff, materials, building and services. The Library Director works under the direction of the Board of Trustees and is responsible for the management of the library, implementing the policies, advice and projects of the various Boards, performing the administrative tasks of the library and acts as the liaison between the public and staff and the Trustees, Advisory and Auxiliary Boards.

The Board of Trustees gains insight into the needs of the public through the Advisory Board, a forum from which the library may gain regular input from residents, representatives of organizations, schools and City officials.  The library’s Auxiliary Board is a group of active and committed library supporters who work to enhance library activities, offer community service, initiate new programs and raise funds on the library’s behalf.

The Rye Free Reading Room serves Rye’s population of 15,000 residents through its public/private partnership with the City of Rye, New York.  Approximately seventy-five percent of the library’s budget for operating costs comes from The City of Rye. The balance is funded by fines and fees, investment income and private fundraising.

Members play a critical role in the library’s ongoing vitality.  Any individual who makes a contribution to the library’s Annual Campaign becomes a member of the library.  Through their donations, members support the library’s extensive programs and collections of books, audiovisual and other materials.  Library members are eligible to attend the Annual Meeting of the Rye Free Reading Room and vote for a slate of Trustees. Speak with a library staff member about becoming a member today: (914) 231-3160 or download the membership form.

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