Cortland Free Library

32 Church Street
Cortland, NY 13045



The Cortland Free Library strives to provide information in a variety of formats and to make available library materials and programs to educate, inspire, enrich, entertain and inform the people of the Cortland area and the patrons of the Finger Lakes Library System.    


The Cortland Free Library's roots extend back to 1886 when a South Cortland Farmer, Franklin Hatch, realized his dream of endowing a public library. Hatch's library, located on Court Street opposite the fire station, served Cortland residents nearly 40 years. During the early 1920's, Hatch library board president John Suggett joined citizens to reorganize the Hatch Library as Cortland Free Library. The Library was charted in 1926. The library first served just the city of Cortland and now includes the Town of Cortlandville.

Major facility expansions have occurred since the library opened in 1927: shelving for the glass mezzanine was purchased in the 1930's, the separate Children's Room was opened in 1961, additional mezzanines were constructed in 1975 and 1989, and handicap accessibility was also added in 1975.

Annual appropriations received from both Cortland and the Town of Cortlandville provide the bulk of Cortland Free Library's operating funds. New books purchases are paid by non-tax dollars: fines, memorial donations and other contributions including library-benefit used book sales.

The Cortland Free Library, a member of the Finger Lakes Library System, houses over 110,000 volumes comprised of children's books, as well as adult fiction and non-fiction books, nearly 300 periodicals, over 8,000 reference volumes, five computer terminals with Internet access, and approximately 1,000 audio books. In microfilm format are the Cortland Standard since its inception in 1867, the New York Times since 1966, and smaller runs of the Wall Street Journal, Syracuse Post Standard, the Cortland Democrat, and several 19th century local papers. Since the library is a member of the Finger Lakes Library System, there is access to over fifteen databases for health information, college choices, national newspapers, periodicals, references, encyclopedias, authors and other resources.

The Adult Department offers three microfilm reader/printer machines, large print books, career resources, a local history collection, and Heritage Quest software, a genealogy program of the U.S. Census records. Adult Department books are loaned for 24 days, while magazines, audio books, and new fiction may be borrowed for 10 days. Overdue fines accumulate at the rate of ten cents per day to a maximum of four dollars per item in the Adult Department and five cents per day to a maximum of two dollars per item in the Children's Room.

The Children's Room offers a weekly toddler time on Wednesdays, a "book bag" for teachers, a separate young adult section, a playhouse, and a sofa for cozy reading.

The library publishes a periodical newsletter to keep the public informed of new services, events, resources and changes, and there is a monthly listing of new books in the Cortland Stand

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