The Funding/Equity Task Force faced the enormous job of thoroughly investigating library funding scenarios. Meeting notes and state aid calculations based on the “ what if scenarios” may be found below.
The summary below, presented to The Library Board on March 19, 2007 and to the public library directors at the VPLDA annual meeting at Graves Mountain on April 19, 2007 indicates the thoroughness of the careful investigations.
- The members of the Task Force on Funding and Equity care about the
quality of library services across the Commonwealth. We welcomed the
opportunity to explore ways to make improvements that would support
excellence for all. Everything we studied as a task force was influenced
by our thinking “
does this have a positive effect or a negative effect
on library service, and is it a positive or negative for some or for
- Our ultimate goal, in response to your charge, is to improve the
quality of public library service for all residents of Virginia. Our
discussions were, and recommendations are, strongly influenced by the
reality that the allocation for aid to public libraries has rarely been
funded at the level directed by the formula stated in the Code of
Virginia. For all of us on the Task Force, experience has shown that the
allocation for aid to public libraries, normally less than the amount
defined by the formula, has been prorated among libraries. The Code is
clear that a funding shortfall is shared by all.
- We agree that the best approach is to focus attention on securing
funding for the existing formula without changing the elements of the
- We looked at a wide variety of adjustments to the formula. After
much discussion, it became clear to us that any change to the formula,
without assurance that funding for public libraries would be allocated
by the General Assembly according to the formula, would result in
benefit for some libraries and less money for other libraries. Our
calculations verified that those receiving less were usually the smaller
rural systems. Under existing circumstances, any change to the formula
would require new or supplementary funding to keep all libraries at
their current level of state aid.
- We recognize that improving the quality of public library service
across the state for all residents will require “
communities, primarily those areas with less ability to support the
needs of residents.
- Funding for Infopowering/Find It Virginia will increase resources available to all libraries and, therefore, equalize access to information resources for all Virginia residents.
LIBRARY BOARD CHARGE TO THE PUBLIC LIBRARY FUNDING/EQUITY TASK FORCE:
Develop an action plan for Recommendations #2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 from the Himmel and Wilson study, Inventing the Future of Public Library Service in Virginia.
2.) Review and seek the strengthening of Code of Virginia and administrative rules regarding the certification of public library directors.
Result: Considered accomplished with the revision of the Code of Virginia §42.1–15.1 to correct an unintended consequence of legislation in 2004.
§42.1–15.1 Qualifications required to hold professional librarian position.
Public libraries serving a political subdivision or subdivisions having a population greater than 13,000 and libraries operated by the Commonwealth or under its authority, shall not employ, in the position of librarian or in any other full–time professional librarian position, a person who does not meet the qualifications established by the State Library Board.
A professional librarian position as used in this section is one that requires a knowledge of books and of library technique equivalent to that required for graduation from any accredited library school or one that requires graduation from a school of library science accredited by the American Library Association.
No funds derived from any state aid shall be paid to any person whose employment does not comply with this section.
This section shall not apply to law libraries organized pursuant to Chapter 4 (§ 42.1–60 et seq.) of this title, libraries in colleges and universities or to public school libraries.
(1988, c. 716; 2004, c. 559; 2006, c. 539.)
3.) Develop a comprehensive curriculum for all library workers based on recognized skills and competencies and implement a coordinated program of continuing education.
Result: The position of Continuing Education Consultant was created and filled to address this issue. Staff shortages in Library Development have significantly delayed progress toward developing a more structured continuing education program. However, communication of existing CE opportunities has improved significantly. We are working with the Virginia Library Association, CAPCON, SOLINET, and Gates to provide topical courses. With staff vacancies easing and Gates Spanish Language workshops and the summer reading program training completed, a comprehensive continuing education needs assessment is underway. This needs assessment is the first step toward implementation of the recommendation.
The remaining Himmel and Wilson recommendations assigned to this task force concern state aid funding. The chart below compares recommendations from both public library studies, the Himmel and Wilson study commissioned prepared for The Library of Virginia and the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) report.
|Himmel and Wilson (2005)||JLARC (2001)|
|5 Endorse JLARC study|
|6 Support JLARC add on supplement||3 Supplement the formula with an add on based on community ability to pay|
|7 Shift FindIt Virginia funding from LSTA to state funds||4 Restore Infopowering|
|8 Retain 3 factors (population, square miles, local expenditures) in formula|
|9 Remove population cap from formula||1 Population Cap|
|10 Adjust, index local revenue cap||2 Adjust local expend cap|
|11 Restore Infopowering $||4 Restore Infopowering|
|12 Separate bonding for construction||5 Construction not in formula|
|12 Separate bonding for construction||6 Restore construction funding|
|13 Use LSTA for innovative purposes|
5.) Support and pursue legislative action on a slightly modified version of the recommendations of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’ s (JLARC) recommendations.
Result: The JLARC recommendations supported by the Task Force would require legislative action for funding increases but no immediate changes to the Code of Virginia.
6.) Support JLARC’ s suggestion that “ add on” (additional funding) to the State Aid formula be instituted to address the ability, or lack of ability, of certain areas to support public library services adequately.
Result: Funding/Equity Task Force concurs. The JLARC guidelines to determine need for supplementary funding is a good beginning point to use in developing a funding scheme to equalize support for public libraries throughout the state based on local ability to pay. The issue of when to pursue the funding and how much funding to be requested is unresolved.
7.) Shift the funding for Find It Virginia from Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) monies to State revenues.
Result: The Funding/EquityTask Force recommends that securing funding for Infopowering/ Find It Virginia* must be a top priority if equal access to information resources is to be extended to all the residents of the state. (Additional state funding for the Find It Virginia databases was the top priority of the Virginia Library Association legislative efforts for the 2007 session of the General Assembly. While $100,000 was included in Governor Kaine’ s budget, the failure to secure significant funding will force reductions in databases offered in FY2008. Efforts to secure additional state funding continue.
The Task Force concurs with JLARC recommendation 4 which stated: The General Assembly may wish to consider restoring funding for the five–year, Infopowering the Commonwealth strategic technology plan. Infopowering/ Find It Virginia funds should not be included in the state aid formula.
* Infopowering the Commonwealth was a program initiated by the General Assembly by HB444 in 1997 directing LVA to “ develop a strategic information technology plan for the Commonwealth’ s public library system.” Funding for both hardware and software was received/expended FY2000 – 2003. Find It Virginia is the name of the software/database component of Infopowering the Commonwealth. Funding is needed for the entire program, but the database money is presently the most critical.
8.) Retain the three factors – population, square miles, and local expenditures – as the basis for calculating State Aid.
Result: The Funding/Equity Task Force unanimously concurs that the three factors accurately reflect the key elements upon which the state aid formula should be based. The Task Force recommends no change to the base formula at this time.
The Task Force strongly endorses the regional library concept. Strong regional library systems provide the best means of assuring equity of service for poorer and rural areas, but successful regional libraries must have a comprehensive administrative center.
9.) Remove the population cap that is applicable under the current formula.
Result: The Funding/Equity Task Force cannot support this recommendation on the basis that only one library system (Fairfax County) stands to gain while the others would lose funding if the legislature’ s allocation for aid to public libraries does not meet the formula requirements.
10.) Adjust, and then index the revenue cap and revisit the cap every five years for possible readjustment.
Result: The Funding/Equity Task Force rejects this recommendation after extensive review of possible funding scenarios. We concur with the concept but have serious reservations regarding the potential for significant harm to smaller libraries if appropriations fall short of the formula and the monies are prorated.
11.) Seek restoration of funding for the Infopowering the Commonwealth program including Find It Virginia as well as grants for computers and network equipment.
Result: The Funding/Equity Task Force strongly supports this recommendation. Funding for equipment and databases is a critical need and continues to be pursued.
12.) Seek a separate construction bonding program to promote new public library building and expansion of current facilities.
Result: The Funding/Equity Task Force rejects this recommendation. The library community needs to concentrate its efforts to obtain additional state funding on top priorities.
13.) A significant portion of Federal LSTA funds liberated through a shifting of the Find It Virginia program should be used to support pilot projects and innovative approaches to offering service.
The Funding/Equity Task Force concurs with the recommendation, but until stable funding for the Find It Virginia program is provided, this task cannot be implemented.
Priorities Recommended by Funding/Equity Task Force
1. Find It Virginia databases and InfoPowering have the potential to release local funds for other local library needs, while improving access to information resources to residents across the state. Securing sufficient state funding for shared resources is absolutely necessary to help address equity issues.
2. Funding for the state aid formula – We strongly agree that the formula is based on valid factors and securing funding up to the authorized level will address equity and quality issues for all libraries.
Members of the Funding/Equity Task Force:
Jane Goodwin, Deputy Director, Fairfax County Public Library, Chairman
Jayne McQuade, Director, Northumberland Public Library
Diane Adkins, Director, Pittsylvania County Public Library
Harriet Henderson, Director, Richmond Public Library
Tom Emory, Director, Southside Regional Library
Working Documents (pdf)
- May 3, 2006
- June 5, 2006
- July 11, 2006
- August 23, 2006
- September 13, 2006
- October 12, 2006 (Director's Meeting Report)