State Aid to Public Libraries in the United States, July 2006 (v.9,n.4)

In August 2004, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) embarked upon a strategic planning process. An important piece of this planning process is a review of the State Aid to Public Libraries program. Beginning in September 2006, a committee appointed by the Board from the public library community will begin a nearly year long review of the State Aid program.

As part of their initial work, the committee will examine the state aid programs of other states. Two sources will provide information about state aid in the United States. The first is the most recent survey of all state library agencies conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. The second is an email survey conducted by Dianne Carty, Head of State Aid and Data Coordination at the MBLC. Each has its pluses and its minuses. The first source provides data from all 50 states, but it is very limited and is two years old. The second includes more comprehensive and current data about state aid, but does not include responses from all 50 states.

State Library Agency Survey

The publication, State Library Agencies Fiscal Year 2004-Supplemental Tables to NCES 2006-303 reported a total of $332,446,000 (table 33D, p.115) going to individual public libraries as state aid from state sources, (including the District of Columbia). The following thirteen states reported distributing no state aid in FY2004: Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The following twelve states reported less than $1,000,000 in FY2004 state aid: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah.

Electronic Survey of State Aid to Public Libraries

State library agencies were surveyed in the spring of 2005. The survey was updated in 2006. Nine states responded that there is no state aid to public libraries in their state: Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. The following nine states did not respond to the survey: Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, North Dakota, Oregon and Tennessee.

The following table includes all states reporting to NCES more than $1,000,000 in state aid to individual public libraries for FY2004, plus Florida and Wisconsin. Excluded are the District of Columbia and Hawaii, each with only one independent public library.

State number of public libraries
(NCES 2005-363;table 1)
NCES STLA survey--rounded dollars reported for FY2004
(NCES 2006-303; table 33D)
dollars reported for FY2005/FY2006 Are there requirements in statute and regulation? Must state aid be expended in the year received?
Alabama 208 $1,807,000 did not report    
California 179 $33,225,000 $29,530,000 yes no
Connecticut 194 $1,023,000 $347,109 yes no, but within 2 years
Delaware 21 $2,566,000 $3,369,500 yes no
Florida 69 0 $34,049,233 yes no
Georgia 58 $31,108,000 did not report    
Illinois 629 $16,230,000 did not report    
Iowa 539 $2,303,000 did not report    
Kansas 325 $2,362,000 did not report    
Kentucky 116 $4,736,000 $3,917,068 yes-regulation yes
Louisiana 65 $1,515,000 $1,500,000 yes sometimes allow carryover
Maryland 24 $27,285,000 $28,031,991 yes no,but may vary by jurisdiction
Massachusets 370 $7,340,000 $9,039,844 yes no
Michigan 384 $9,217,000 $13,876,900 yes no
Missouri 168 $4,290,000 $4,001,744 yes-statute yes
New Jersey 308 $8,578,000 $8,665,000 yes no, but within 2 years
New Mexico 90 $1,760,000 $350,000 yes-regulation different for each grant
New York 752 $45,118,000 $66,106,589 yes yes
North Carolina 75 $14,560,000 $14,776,010 yes "mostly," 17% or less carryover
Pennsylvannia 453 $21,415,000 $61,362,000 yes yes
Rhode Island 48 $6,664,000 $6,312,949 yes no, but carryover should be minimal
South Carolina 42 $5,818,000 $3,699,501 yes-regulation yes
Texas 552 $2,640,000 $2,650,000 yes yes
Virginia 90 $16,035,000 $16,034,533 yes yes
West Virginia 97 $8,339,000 $8,388,884 yes no
Wisconsin 380 0 $14,196,700 yes no response
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Page last updated on 08/27/2007