Mission & History


Onondaga County Libraries prepare our community for a bright future by creating opportunities, empowering people, and inspiring ideas.


OCPL's roots lie in its two predecessor organizations, the Onondaga Library System and the Syracuse Public Library. In 1905, Syracuse Public Library opened the doors of a facility on Montgomery Street made possible by a gift from Andrew Carnegie. In 1962, Onondaga Library System was organized as a cooperative non-profit association of SPL and other member libraries in Onondaga County, to provide shared services that would not have been economically feasible if attempted by individual libraries. Following recommendations of a special committee formed to explore cost-saving consolidation, on January 1, 1976, SPL and OLS ceased independent operations and became the Onondaga County Public Library, with the city paying for branch library services and the county funding the remaining costs. Some funding is received through the State, grant monies and private contributions. Today, the Central Library is housed in the Galleries of Syracuse, a modern mixed-use facility combining offices and retail stores.