Planning for Facilities

Planning for facilities depends upon what kind of districting project is being contemplated. Planning for facilities falls into two categories: obtaining a new facility or securing the present library facility.

New Facilities

Will the new district need a new facility? This could be the case in a district where there is no existing library, there is a need for a branch, or the current facility is inadequate. If you need to acquire a new facility that cost should be factored into your budget request. You need to be up front with people if the new district is going to require a new facility. There are several libraries in Montana that have renovated and/or built a new library. MSL staff can put you in touch with these libraries if you would like more information about the process.

Existing Facilities

Services can be provided out of facilities that are already being used as libraries. The group must negotiate with the city/county to secure the library building. Local governments may turn a building over to the new district. If not, the district may have to purchase the building, work out rental agreements, or find another facility. If the library is part of a local government building, the group should negotiate with the city or county about rent and utilities. These negotiations must be completed before the creation of the district, so that voters will know what the cost of the district is likely to be.

When an agreement is reached on how facilities will be transferred, a memorandum of agreement should be written with the city or county to clarify the terms of transfer, purchase or rental. [Refer to Sample Memorandum of Agreement with City]. Be aware that the city might not want to enter into an agreement with the current library board. Until the library is officially a district a lot of this is groundwork, but nothing can actually happen until the district is created and its first board is appointed. It's certainly worth a try. A Memorandum of Agreement can help you solidfy what to expect from each other, but it may not be possible. However you still need to talk to the city about expectations and what you hope to see when the new district becomes a reality.

Note: Cities or counties may be willing to let a new district library stay in the old library building, while the city maintains ownership and continues to pay the utilities. This seems like a good arrangement, but you may be opening yourself up to a number of problems. Taxpayers may complain about being double taxed for the library, since they are paying district, and city or county taxes. Another possible problem is a new administration may want the district to pay rent and utilities which would lead to unexpected budget demands.

Other Facility Expenses

Consider insurance, utility costs, maintenance and repair costs when making decisions about facilities. Seek out local opinions about the current structure. Is it sound? Is the flooring support in accord with the building codes that apply to book shelving? What is a typical utility bill? Are there any special problems? Answer these questions before making a decision about new facilities.

ASPeN: The New Library Directory

Events Calendar