Appendix H

State Aid Requirements

520-2-2-.01 Purposes

The purposes of state aid funds are to support and improve existing libraries and library systems and to encourage the development of new library programs and services where needed.

520-2-2-.02 Definitions

(1) PUBLIC LIBRARY: A public library is a library established in accordance with the Code of Alabama for the purpose of providing free public library service to the population in its legal service area. Public libraries may or may not have BRANCHES (auxiliary service outlets with quarters separate from the central library, with no less than a basic collection of materials, a regular staffing level, and an established service schedule, but without a separate policy-making board of trustees). The following are types of public libraries:

(a) MUNICIPAL PUBLIC LIBRARY: A public library established and maintained by a city, town, or other municipality, whose policy-making board of trustees is appointed by the municipal authority.

(b) COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY: A public library established and maintained by a county for the use of the whole or a part of a county, whose policy-making board is appointed by the county commission.

(c) CITY-COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY: A public library established and maintained by joint contractual agreement or joint resolution between county and municipal governments, with a single policy-making board appointed in accordance with the agreements.

(d) DISTRICT LIBRARY: A public library serving a taxing district which has been authorized by legislative action and created by majority vote of the residents of the district, whose policy-making board is elected in accordance with the provisions of the legislative action.

(2) PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM: An organization composed of PUBLIC LIBRARIES and formed for the purpose of providing library services within a framework of written contracts; a public library system may also have contracts with county commissions or municipal governments for the system to provide library services to county or municipal residents who would otherwise be unserved.

(3) SYSTEM HEADQUARTERS: A site designated through contractual agreement to serve as administrative center for a PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM. A system headquarters may serve any function established by contract.

(4) LEGAL SERVICE AREA: The legal service area of a library is the population within the boundaries of the geographic area the library is established to serve. A library may contract, in writing, to provide service to population outside its legal service area at the discretion of the library board of trustees. The following describe legal service areas of different types of libraries:

(a) The legal service area of a MUNICIPAL LIBRARY is the area within the municipality's corporate limits, regardless of county lines.

(b) The legal service area of a COUNTY LIBRARY is the area within the county boundaries.

(c) The legal service area of a CITY-COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY is all of the area within the corporate limits of participating municipalities and within the county.

(d) The legal service area of a PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM consists of the legal service areas of the public libraries belonging to the system and any additional area(s) for which the system contracts to serve with the appropriate governing body.

(e) The legal service area of a DISTRICT LIBRARY is the area of the taxing district authorized by legislative action and approved by majority vote of the population within the district.

(5) STATE AID: Funds appropriated by the legislature as a supplement to local funds designated for the provision of library service.

(a) State aid funds are distributed quarterly by the Alabama Public Library Service on a per capita basis for the respective legal service areas and any area served contractually; population figures used are the most recently published Bureau of the Census population estimates.

(b) Where legal service areas overlap, as in the case where there is both a COUNTY LIBRARY and a MUNICIPAL LIBRARY serving the same population, state aid funds for that part of the population shall be distributed in accordance with the terms of an annually renewed written agreement between the library boards. In order for first quarter funds to be distributed on schedule, a current copy of the agreement must be on file at APLS by October 1. If no contract has been filed with APLS by the beginning of the second quarter, all state aid funds for the county population residing within the municipality will be divided equally between the COUNTY LIBRARY and the MUNICIPAL LIBRARY, with funds for first and second quarters distributed during the second quarter and with remaining funds distributed on the regular quarterly schedule.

(6) NON-CAPITAL FUNDS: Non-capital funds are those funds appropriated for normal/routine operations. They do not include funds specifically designated for the acquisition of and/or improvement to real property (buildings, land, etc.).

520-2-2-.03 Library Establishment, Policy and Service Requirements

To qualify for state aid, public libraries (whether or not they are members of systems) and public library systems must comply with the appropriate requirements as follows:

(1) A public library and a public library system must be legally established according to the Code of Alabama 1975, 11-90-(1-4). A copy of the ordinance or resolution establishing the public library and copies of public library system contracts must be on file with the Alabama Public Library Service (APLS).

(2) In order to receive state aid, a library board must:

(a) notify APLS of official board appointments and the terms to be served within 30 days of the appointment;

(b) meet a minimum of four times a year;

(c) have written bylaws governing its functions;

(d) approve written policies for the public library which cover the following:

1. Library objectives

2. Patrons

3. Personnel, including memberships in professional organizations, attendance at professional meetings, grievance procedures, job descriptions, performance evaluations, etc.

4. Cooperation with other libraries

5. Public relations

6. Materials selection policies

7. Regular services and special services to groups, the handicapped, non-resident borrowers, shut-ins, etc.

8. Overdue fines and other fees and charges

9. Gifts and memorials

  1. Physical facilities

11. Other;

(e) The public library must develop a written five-year, long range program of service which will be reviewed and updated each year. The program should include as a minimum but not limited to:

1. The community's information needs and services

2. Staff development

3. Collection development

4. Capital expansion.

(3) The public library must employ a head librarian qualified to serve the needs of the public. Library administrators should participate in APLS-sponsored in-service training programs (workshops, administrators' meetings, conferences, etc.). Directors of regional libraries must attend at least two administrators' meetings each year. Directors of member and non-member public libraries should attend at least one administrators' meeting each year.

(4) The public library must not deny service to anyone on the basis of age, race, sex or creed.

(5) A public library must be open to serve the public at least the specified number of hours per week based on the following scale:

Minimum hours open for population served:


50 over 100,000

45 50,000-100,000

40 25,000- 49,999

30 10,000- 24,999

20 5,000- 9,999

16 under 5,000

(6) If a public library system headquarters provides direct patron services on-site (as opposed to extension services provided off-site), the system headquarters must be open the number of hours required in (5) above, based on the population of the county in which the system headquarters is physically located.

(7) Each library must strive to have a well-balanced collection of not less than one volume per capita and not less than 1.5 currently useful items per capita. The term "item" is intended to include books, non-book materials such as recordings, films, filmstrips, prints and cassettes.

520-2-2-.04 Fiscal Requirements

(1) A public library must have a current budget, and the participants of a public library system must have a cumulative total current budget, based on locally-appropriated non-capital funds, of not less than the amount of state aid for which the library or system is eligible nor less than the previous year's budget. Locally-appropriated non-capital funds may include a combination of municipal or county funds appropriated to the library or system budget and in-kind funds expended directly by local governments for public library services.

(a) If locally appropriated funds received are not sufficient to match for state aid and/or if the locally appropriated funds received are reduced from the previous year, the amount of state aid for the current fiscal year will be reduced by an amount equal to the difference between the current locally appropriated funds received and the average of the locally appropriated funds received for the previous two (2) fiscal years.

Example of the effect of a local budget reduction, assuming a population of 10,000 and $1 per capita state aid:
Local budget: 1990 $18,000 State aid: $10,000

Local budget: 1991 $20,000 State aid: $10,000

Local budget: 1992 $18,000 State aid: $ 9,000*

Local budget: 1993 $18,000 State aid: $10,000**

* (State aid is reduced by the $1,000 difference between the $19,000 average of the previous two years and the $18,000 amount budgeted for 1992).

** (State aid reverts to total eligible amount because the state aid amount is matched and there is no further local budget reduction.)

(b) A multi-county regional library can qualify for the total state aid amount for which it is eligible even if any county or municipality within the region is unable to match for its share, provided that supplementary local appropriations from other member counties or municipalities are available to match for the necessary amount of state aid. State aid funds received by a regional library by this method can only be used in the counties or municipalities providing the supplementary funds.

(c) No more than fifty percent (50%) of a library's state aid funds will be used for salaries during any fiscal year.

(d) No state aid may be used for construction, remodeling or alteration of buildings. If state aid funds are used for a non-allowable expense, such funds must be replaced with local money, or the amount must be returned to APLS.

(2) Where a public library system exists, all state aid funds for libraries or governmental units contracting to participate in the system will be forwarded to the system headquarters, providing that copies of the annually reviewed contracts are sent to APLS prior to receipt of state funding.

(3) State aid funds will be distributed directly to eligible public libraries which are not in systems.

(4) Changes in the distribution of state aid can only be made at the beginning of the APLS fiscal year and under the following conditions:

(a) A public library that wishes to change its status as a state aid recipient by either joining or withdrawing from a system must file written notification with APLS and the system headquarters by July 1 to insure provision of state aid by October 1.

(b) A public library that is not currently receiving state aid, but wishes to do so, must file written notification with APLS, and submit documentation that it meets the requirements of 520-2-2-.03 above, by August 1 in order to receive state aid by October 1.

520-2-2-.05 Audit Requirements

(1) A library must have an annual external audit of state aid funds made by a licensed public accountant and must file this audit with APLS by January 2 of each year.

(2) Audits will be conducted in compliance with generally accepted auditing standards including, but not limited to, verification that prorated expenditures are allocated correctly among appropriate funds sources.

(3) The auditor should stress the "compliance" aspect of the audit and his "unqualified" opinion is an objective which the library strives for in the administration of its financial affairs.

(4) Because many libraries provide audits for users other than APLS, we suggest the auditor be instructed to include a consolidated statement of all cash receipts, disbursements and encumbrances.

520-2-2-.06 State Aid Documentation Requirements

All documentation required for the receipt of state aid must be filed with APLS by the deadlines specified below or within 30 days of mailing of forms from APLS. Filing of documentation with APLS after a deadline may result in delay in receipt of state aid funds.

Required documentation

July 1





(1) Notification of change in system membership status:






(2) Documentation of new eligibility to receive state aid:






(3) State aid application form:






(4) Projected state aid expenditure form:






(5) Copies of contracts from public library systems:






(6) Copies of contracts between county and municipal libraries:






(7) Annual statistical report form:






(8) Audit:







520-2-2-.07 Appeal Process

(1) A public library or public library system that fails to meet any of the Rules and Regulations for State Aid may request special consideration by writing the Director of the Alabama Public Library Service.

(2) Any and all of these rules and regulations may be waived by a majority vote of the Executive Board of the Alabama Public Library Service.


Author: Eugene C. O'Donnell, APA Secretary

Statutory Authority: Code of Alabama 1975, Section 41-81-(1-8)

History: Adopted October 1, 1982

Adopted March 12, 1992

Effective October 1, 1992