State Aid to Virginia Public Libraries
State Aid to public libraries in Virginia began with an appropriation by the General Assembly of $50,000 in FY1942-43.
State Aid is a formula based grant that encourages the formation of library systems at the regional, county, and city level.
Full funding occurs when the General Assembly allocates sufficient funds to permit each system to claim all monies due from the combination of local effort (40% or cap of $250,000), per capita, and square miles served.
Proration of State Aid
Code of Virginia 42.1 - 50 requires the Library of Virginia to prorate the state aid grants any time the General Assembly fails to provide sufficient funds. Massive lobbying efforts by the Virginia Library Association, Library Boards, local government officials and other supporters have been necessary to achieve full funding.
Uses of State Aid
Approximately seventy-six percent of State Aid is used for books and library materials. For many systems, State Aid is the only funding source for materials. Nine percent is used for salaries for professional librarians. The remaining 12% is used for equipment (including computers), furniture, automation systems, etc.
To be eligible for a state aid grant, a library must:
- Comply with the Requirements of The Library Board (last amended in 1991). The major change affected requirement #3 - the "50% of the median local operating expenditure per capita" replaced a requirement of expenditures of at least $2.00 per capita.
- Apply for the grant by June 1 of each year
Code of Virginia §42.1-1: The Library of Virginia is hereby declared an educational institution of learning. The Library of Virginia shall be the library agency of the Commonwealth, the archival agency of the Commonwealth, and the reference at the seat of government. It shall have the following powers and duties:
- Code of Virginia § 42.1-1 (6): To give direction, assistance and counsel to all libraries in the Commonwealth, to all communities which may propose to establish libraries, and to all persons interested in public libraries, as to means of establishment and administration of such libraries, selection of books, retrieval systems, cataloguing, maintenance, and other details of library management, and to conduct such inspections as are necessary;
- Code of Virginia § 42.1 - 1 (7): To engage in such activities in aid of city, county, town, regional and other public libraries as will serve to develop the library system of the Commonwealth;
- Code of Virginia § 42.1 - 1 (8): To administer and distribute state and federal library funds in accordance with the law and its own regulations to the city, county, town and regional libraries of the Commonwealth.
State Aid Formula
Code of Virginia § 41.1 - 48 contains the formula.
Local effort: 40% of every [local] dollar expended by the political subdivision(s) in the system. The grant to any county or city shall not exceed $250,000.
Per capita: Based on population of area served and number of participating municipalities
- 30 cents for the first 600,000 persons served (county or city library) plus 10 cents per capita for each additional jurisdiction (regional)
- Libraries serving in excess of 600,000 receive 10 cents per capita for remaining population
Square mileage: $10 per square mile for single jurisdiction (county or city) libraries plus an additional $20 per square mile for libraries serving more than one political jurisdiction (regionals).