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North Dakota Library Law: State Aid to Public Libraries

State Aid

The North Dakota State Library is allocated funds from the state General Fund to distribute to eligible public libraries in North Dakota as per NDCC §54-24.2 State Aid to Public Libraries. For the 2021–2023 biennium, $1,737,582 was appropriated.

Public libraries eligible to receive financial aid under this chapter are limited to those public libraries that:

  1. Apply to the state library for such financial aid.
  2. Are established and operated in accordance with chapter 40-38.
  3. Participate in the North Dakota network for knowledge interlibrary loan and information network.

Libraries must also maintain local funds as described in NDCC §54-24.2-02.2 Maintenance of Local Effort:

  1.  A public library is not eligible to receive funds under this chapter during a fiscal year if the governing body has diminished, from the average of the three preceding fiscal years, the appropriation, in dollars, derived from the mill levy for public library services under section 40-38-02.
  2. If the governing body is levying the maximum number of mills it can levy without having an election to increase the mill levy and the appropriation is diminished below the average of the three preceding fiscal years solely because of a reduction in the taxable valuation, then the public library is eligible to receive funds under this chapter.

The funds from State Aid to Public Libraries must be reported to NDSL and used in accordance with NDCC §54-24.2-06 Use of Funds—Reporting:

Funds appropriated under this chapter may be expended by public libraries for the purchase of library materials, supplies and equipment, salaries of library staff, and services. No funds may be used for land acquisition, construction, or investment.

Each public library receiving funds under the chapter shall submit to the state library an annual report detailing the expenditures of these funds and all other funds expended by the library within the calendar year. Such report is due within ninety days after the close of the calendar year.

Instructions

All applications for State Aid to Public Libraries must be submitted to NDSL via Counting Opinions annually. The 2022 application window will be open February 1, 2022–March 31, 2022.

The State Aid to Public Libraries application is broken down into two forms; SFN 51298 is the formal application while SFN 51299 establishes eligibility.

Section 1 of SFN 51298 is prefilled with data that cannot be modified by the person completing the report. If any of this information needs to be updated, please contact the State Data Coordinator.

Section 2 will need to be filled out for each taxing entity that levies funds for library service. The figures in this section will need to be entered by the library director, and some figures will need to be supplied by the city or county auditor. Those items are as follows:

  • Taxable valuation (Note: All taxable property located within the boundaries of the library service area. Figure should not reflect a value pertaining to the property the library itself is on, or housed within.)
  • Number of mills levied for library services 
  • Dollars levied for library service 
  • Mill levy equivalent of other public funds
  • Other public funds allocated to library by city / county

Section 2 needs to be certified by both the library director and the auditor. The library director signs the application electronically in Counting Opinions, and the auditor will need to fill out the Public Library State Aid Mill Levy Certification (SFN 61747) and return it to NDSL before the deadline.

SFN 51299 consists of legal questions ensuring the library complies with NDCC §40-38 and §54-24. These are Yes and No questions.


When reporting data, please remember the following:

  • Enter "0" if the appropriate entry for an item is zero or none—All fields must have data entered in them or the application will not be able to be submitted.
  • All edit checks must be annotated in order for the report to be submitted. If all edit checks have been annotated and there are still errors when attempting to submit the application electronically, contact the State Library at 701-328-3499.

All questions regarding the State Aid Application can be addressed to the State Library's Fiscal and Administrative Services Division Director (328-4652).


Counting Opinions

Grant Forumula

Funds for State Aid to Public Libraries are dispersed by the grant formula laid out in NDCC § 54-24.2-02:

Grants to eligible public libraries must be in accordance with the following formula:

  1. One dollar, or a percentage thereof, for each person residing in the city or county operating or providing financial support for the public library, as determined by the latest official federal census; and
  2. Five dollars per square mile [259.00 hectares], or a percentage thereof, of land within the geographical boundaries of each county operating or providing financial support for a public library.

Additional incentives for local funding are provided in NDCC §54-24.2-03:

To provide for increased local funding, public libraries eligible to receive funds under section 54-24.2-02 shall have the funds allocated to them modified in accordance with the following formula:

Cities levying

8.00 or more mills 150 percent of allocation

6.00 - 7.99 mills 125 percent of allocation

4.00 - 5.99 mills 100 percent of allocation

3.00 - 3.99 mills 75 percent of allocation

2.00 - 2.99 mills 50 percent of allocation

1.00 - 1.99 mills 33 percent of allocation

0.01 - 0.99 mills 25 percent of allocation

0.00 - mills 0 percent of allocation

Counties levying

4.00 or more mills 150 percent of allocation

3.00 - 3.99 mills 125 percent of allocation

2.00 - 2.99 mills 100 percent of allocation

1.50 - 1.99 mills 75 percent of allocation

1.00 - 1.49 mills 50 percent of allocation

0.50 - 0.99 mills 33 percent of allocation

0.01 - 0.49 mills 25 percent of allocation

0.00 - mills 0 percent of allocation

The computation of mills must be based upon the levy on the taxable valuation and the mill levy equivalent of other public funds received and deposited in the library fund for the operation of the library by the governing body during the preceding fiscal year as certified by the auditor of the city or county operating the library.


Limitations of funding are laid out in NDCC §54-24.2-05:

For public libraries operated by cities, funds granted under this chapter may not exceed thirty-three percent of the total expenditure of mill levy moneys and other public funds during the preceding year. For public libraries operated by counties, funds granted under this chapter may not exceed the following percent of the total expenditure of mill levy moneys and other public funds during the preceding year:

less than $10,000 100 percent

$10,000 - $19,999 75 percent

$20,000 - $29,999 67 percent

$30,000 - $50,000 50 percent

over $50,000 33 percent 


Attorney General Opinion 2006-L-24 discusses the determination of mill values for State Aid to Public Libraries as it relates to Home Rule cities or counties.