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.

State Aid Requirements

Full Funding

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.

Application Process

To be eligible for a state aid grant, a library must:

Program Administration

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:

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


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).

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