State Aid to Libraries Program
Grants to Florida Local Governments
for Public Library Services and Operations
for Public Library Services and Operations
Florida Department of State - Division of Library and Information Services
10/01/17 11:59 PM ET
Grants to Florida local governments to support the operations and services of public libraries within their jurisdictions. This program recognizes public libraries as an important component in Florida’s infrastructure and their contributions to the quality of life.
The overarching goal of the State Aid to Libraries Program is to assist local governments in maintaining and developing such vital services, specifically:
-Providing equal access to free public library service to all residents of the service areas of participating governments.
-Coordinating library service throughout the service area.
-Providing consistent plans, programs, policies and procedures in the operation, maintenance and development of library service throughout the service area.
Chapter 257, Florida Statutes authorizes three types of grants under the State Aid to Libraries Program: Operating, Equalization and Multicounty.
Operating Grants are made available to any county, municipality, special district or special taxing district that qualifies for the State Aid to Libraries Program. Operating Grants are distributed in the following way:
1. Grants are made available to counties, municipalities, special districts or special taxing districts providing library service that meets the basic eligibility requirements in Section V.
2. Operating Grants provide a match of up to 25 cents on each dollar of local funds expended centrally for the operation and maintenance of the library during the second preceding fiscal year. For example, fiscal year 2014-15 grant calculations are based on local expenditures for the operation and maintenance of libraries during the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013.
3. For the first two years of a newly established library, the Operating Grant matches only local funds that are appropriated to be expended centrally for the operation and maintenance of the library.
4. Grants are prorated among eligible libraries if the appropriation by the Legislature does not fully fund the State Aid to Libraries Grant Program.
Equalization Grants are made available to counties that qualify for an Operating Grant and have limited local tax resources.
1. Equalization Grants are made available to counties providing library service that meets the eligibility requirements in Section V and that meet four additional criteria based on calculations made by the Division. Those criteria are outlined in Section 257.18(1), Florida Statutes.
2. Equalization Grants are calculated on the local funds expended centrally for the operation and maintenance of the library during the second preceding year, adjusted using an equalization factor based on the relationship of the county’s taxable value to the average of the taxable value for all Florida counties. That factor is used to adjust the value of the local expenditures for library service in calculating the equalization formula.
(a) The Equalization Grants provide a match of 25 cents on the dollar for the adjusted local expenditures for the second preceding fiscal year.
(b) For counties that have provided the mill equivalent in local library support during the second preceding year higher than the statewide average for the mill equivalent in local library support for all counties, the Equalization Grant provides a match of 50 cents on the adjusted dollar for local expenditures the second preceding year.
3. If a county fails to meet the eligibility criteria for an Equalization Grant in any one year, the county will be notified that its Equalization Grant funding will be phased out over a three-year period as outlined in Section 257.18(2)(a)-(d), Florida Statutes.
4. A county may not receive an Equalization Grant that is equal to more than 10 percent of the total amount required to fund Equalization Grants to all eligible counties.
5. Equalization Grants may not exceed 15 percent of the amount appropriated for Operating, Multicounty and Equalization Grants or $8,877,057, whichever is greater. Any reductions in Equalization Grants necessary to meet this requirement must be applied to all Equalization Grants on a prorated basis, including grants subject to the 10 percent cap or grants in the phase-out period.
6. If the total appropriation for Operating, Multicounty and Equalization Grants is less than $31,999,233, then grants are prorated among eligible libraries.
Multicounty Library Grants:
Multicounty Library Grants are available to provide additional support to counties that qualify for Operating Grants and choose to join together to provide library service to their residents. Multicounty Library Grants shall be used to support multicounty services and are distributed in the following way:
1. Multicounty Library Grants are made available to those libraries that meet the eligibility requirements for Operating Grants and that meet the following criteria:
(a) The library has been designated as the single library administrative unit by more than one county; and
(b) The counties served have a combined population of 50,000 or more and Uthe library Userves two or more counties, at least one of which qualifies for an Equalization Grant.
2. Multicounty Library Grants have two components:
(a) A match on local expenditures. Grants match up to $1 million in local funds expended centrally by the library for its operation and maintenance during the second preceding fiscal year using the formula outlined in Section 257.172(1)(a)-(e), Florida Statutes.
(b) In addition to the portion of the grant that matches local expenditures, a multicounty library is eligible to receive a base grant. The base grants are outlined in Section 257.172(2), Florida Statutes.
3. Multicounty Library Grants are fully funded each year.
The program is an incentive program, designed to encourage local governments to provide library service to their residents and to provide funding to support that library service. Grant formulas are based largely on local funds invested in library service. The original intent was based on the concept that the more local money spent on library services, the higher the grant amounts earned under the State Aid to Libraries Grant Program. If a county or municipality reduces its expenditures for library service, the grant amounts will decrease proportionately two years later.
A library shall meet the following requirements in order to be eligible to receive a State Aid to Libraries Grant:
A. A county or municipality shall designate one of the following eligible political subdivisions as the single library administrative unit:
1. A county that establishes or maintains a library or that gives or receives free library service by contract with a municipality, nonprofit library corporation or association within such county;
2. A county that joins with one or more counties to establish or maintain a library or that contracts with another county, a special district, special taxing district, or one or more municipalities in another county to receive free library service;
3. A special district or a special taxing district, that establishes or maintains a library and provides free library service; or
4. A municipality that establishes or maintains a library or that gives or receives free library service by contract with a nonprofit library corporation or association within the municipality.
B. Once an eligible political subdivision has been designated by a county or municipality as the single library administrative unit, that eligible political subdivision shall designate a governing body to provide service. That governing body shall be:
1. The governing body of the county or another county;
2. A legally established administrative board established by the eligible political subdivision for the purpose of governing the library;
3. The governing body of a special district or special taxing district;
4. The board of a nonprofit library corporation or association; or
5. A municipality.
C. When two or more participating local governments join to establish a library, contracts or interlocal agreements outline the decision-making power given to the library’s governing body and the power retained by the participating local government. Consolidated library and public library cooperative are the two types of library governance that can be established through those agreements.
Interlocal or other agreements for a public library cooperative shall clearly outline:
1. How the single administrative head will be selected or designated as required by Section 257.17(2)(a), Florida Statutes for the public library cooperative and the powers, duties and responsibilities of that position;
2. The role that each participating local government and its library shall have in the development and implementation of the long-range plan;
3. The way in which funds will be paid to the public library cooperative from participating local governments to support activities carried out by the public library cooperative on behalf of the participating local governments; and
4. Agreement by all participating local governments to spend funds in accordance with the public library cooperative’s long-range plan, annual plan of service and budget for those funds a public library cooperative will report on a State Aid application as having been expended centrally, whether such funds are maintained and expended at the local level, or by the public library cooperative’s governing body.
D. The library shall have a single administrative head employed full time by the library’s governing body, with authority to manage or coordinate the operations of the library.
1. The library’s governing body shall adopt a position description for the single library administrative head.
2. The single administrative head shall have completed a library education program accredited by the American Library Association and shall have had at least two years of full-time paid professional experience, after completing the library education program, in a public library that is open to the public for a minimum of 40 hours per week.
3. The single administrative head is responsible for the overall management or coordination of the library within the framework established by interlocal or other agreements, plans, policies and budgets. Responsibility for managing or coordinating the following activities may not be delegated through interlocal or other agreements:
(a) Development of a single long-range plan for all library outlets;
(b) Development of a single annual plan of service;
(c) Development of a budget;
(d) Implementation of the long-range plan, an annual plan of service and the budget; and
(e) Preparation of reports on behalf of the library.
E. The library shall expend its funds centrally. To meet the requirement for central expenditure:
1. Requirements for activities of the single administrative head listed in Section V, Subsection D.3 shall be met; and
2. All State Aid to Libraries Grants in a consolidated county or municipal library and a single county public library cooperative shall be expended by the library’s single administrative head; or
3. If the library is a multicounty public library cooperative, Operating and Equalization Grants may be expended by the individual county awarded these grants. Multicounty Library Grants shall be maintained and expended by the library’s single administrative head; and
4. Funds from local sources shall be expended in one of the following ways:
(a) Under the control of the library’s single administrative head; or
(b) By participating local governments, with authority for such expenditure delegated by the library’s governing body through an interlocal or other agreement.
5. All local funds, including donations, shall be expended through the library’s budget in order to qualify as local expenditures for State Aid Grants. Only these local funds may be used in the calculations of the grants.
F. All public libraries within a county that receives Operating Grants shall extend borrowing privileges without charge to residents of each other’s service areas. Borrowing privileges must apply to all materials in a fixed physical format that are available to be borrowed by residents of the library service area receiving an Operating Grant. Agreements for interlibrary loan do not meet this requirement. The reciprocal borrowing requirement only applies to a county and the independent municipal libraries within the same county that are applying for State Aid.
G. The library shall provide free library service. At a minimum, free library service requires that a library loan library materials that are made available for circulation free of charge and provide reference and information services free of charge.
H. All public libraries within a county that receive Operating Grants shall participate in joint planning for the coordination of library services to residents.
I. The library shall provide access to materials, information and services for all residents of the area served.
J. At least one library, branch library or member library shall be open 40 hours or more each week.
K. The library shall have a long-range plan, annual plan of service and an annual budget.
L. The designated governing body of a library that has established public library service for the first time during the two previous years shall report in the State Aid application the total amount of local funds appropriated for the operation and maintenance of the library in the year for which the application is made and shall certify that such amount will be:
1. Expended centrally;
2. Expended on operation and maintenance of a library and not for the purchase or construction of a library building or library quarters;
3. Appropriated for expenditures through the library’s budget; and
4. Expended in accordance with the accounting control procedures provided for in any interlocal or other agreements, the library’s long-range plan, Chapter 257, Florida Statutes and the State Aid to Libraries Grant Guidelines.
Applications must be submitted on or before October 1, 2017, 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
Additional documents must be submitted on or before December 1, 2017.
Watch a recording of Marian Deeney's webinar on State Aid to Libraries Grant Application Overview: Utilizing the New Department of State Grants System:
Guidelines, Applications, and Forms:
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Florida Department of State
Division of Library and Information Services
R. A. Gray Building
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250
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