Library Board, Governance and Working with the Director


Essential Standards

5. The Board understands the revenue sources that fund the library, the budgeting process, and adopts a budget for the library.
 If you have any questions about procedures in your community, talk to your city and/or county clerk.

6. For a library created under Title 7 or Title 22 at least 70% of the revenue is from local tax revenues. Local tax revenues provide at least 50 percent of the support for the library. Grants, donations, and other revenue sources supplement but do not supplant local tax support. If a tribal college library serves tribal members, the Tribal Council recognizes and supports the efforts of the library to obtain funding.

7. The library budget shows year-to-year growth reflecting community needs. The director and library board routinely present the library to the community and local government in a manner to maintain and increase the library's ability to meet their community's needs.

Developing a budget is required to run the library. A budget can also help people understand how much it costs to run a library, as well as informing people about how money is spent at the library.

What is the reasoning behind increasing the budget and presenting the library in a positive light?

  • Costs increase and library budgets must keep pace with increasing costs
  • Library directors are good at doing more with less. At some point less becomes less and libraries need more funding to provide library services
  • Rather than wait until things are dire the intent of this standard is to be proactive in seeking out the funds the library needs
  • Library directors and board members that actively work with community and local government leaders tend to be more successful at gathering the resources the library needs to operate

How will libraries demonstrate they meet the intent of this standard?

  • Library director and staff discuss what library services are being requested by community members and/or needed by community members. Director and staff prioritize which services to try and offer and how much staff, funding and other resources are needed to provide the service. Director presents to Board.
  • During noticed public meetings Director and Board have conversations about what services to provide and identify how much the budget would need to increase to offer those services
  • The director and staff should assess any inflationary and other cost increases that impact current library services. The Director should share this information with the Board. This information should be shared with the local government at least annually when local governments prepare budgets
  • Director and Board brainstorm ideas for finding the funding which may include any of the following
    • Request additional funds from local government
    • Work with library support groups to find funding
    • Raise funds locally
    • Write grants
    • Consider going for additional mills (if the library needs a significant amount of funding)
  • Directors and/or board members regularly attend meetings with local government officials and community leaders to have conversations about the library. During those meetings director and/or board members present the work of the library and how it serves community members
  • Library will report accurate funding information in annual public library statistics

There are other ways the library can meet this standard. The key is to recognize the value of the library and to work towards ensuring the library has the funding it needs to deliver value to the community. If you have questions about this standard, please contact your MSL consultant.

Numbers refer to standards in the corresponding section of the Complete Library Standards document

Guide to Essential Public Library Standards