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Library Services FAQ

There are still many questions and misconceptions about library services and why residents of Brandon and Rowley (within city limits) don't currently receive library services. Please read this FAQ. If you still have questions, call Laura at 334-2470!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Library Services for Buchanan County Cities without Libraries


Haven’t these cities been paying for library services?

Will county residents continue to receive library services?

Since we’ve received library services in the past, why are you requesting funding from the cities without libraries now?

How much is being requested for library services?  How does this compare to funding from other sources?

I live in Brandon/Rowley and am in the Independence Community School District.  Why don’t my children receive library services?

Have you talked with the cities without libraries about the request for funding?

How much is being requested for library services? 

Are cities without libraries in other counties expected to pay for library services?

Is my city locked into a long term contract if we sign this contract?

What should we do if we want to continue to receive library services?

If my city decides not to sign the contract, can I purchase a card for library services? How will library services change for me if my city decides not to sign the contract?

How will library services change for me if my city decides not to sign the contract?

Can I just go to another nearby library outside of Buchanan County for library services? 

Haven’t these cities been paying for library services?  How does this compare to funding from other sources?

Public libraries in Iowa are typically funded by their own city, county, state, and through small revenues like fines and fees.  Each city with a library allocates funding to the city library to pay for services for the residents of that city.  The county allocates funding to pay for library services for county residents in Buchanan County.  The county funding covers only rural residents, not those who reside within city limits.

Funding for library services from a city without a library usually comes with an agreement or contract with a library, city or agency for that purpose.  Some of the cities in Buchanan County have paid for library services in the past and some have given a donation.  However, all the cities without libraries have not consistently paid for library services.  The Cities with Libraries in Buchanan County (CLBC) have requested that all cities without libraries pay for library services at a level of $5.00 per capita for the ’15 fiscal year (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015).  Contracts for library services are due June 1, 2014.  Hazleton, Quasqueton, and Stanley currently contract for library services, but the cities of Rowley and Brandon have chosen not to contract for services.


Will county residents continue to receive library services?

Yes, Buchanan County pays for library services.  Rural residents of the county will continue to receive library services and will not be affected by the new library services agreement.  It is those who reside within the city limits of a Buchanan County City without a library who are affected.  There are currently (04/14) no contracts with Brandon or Rowley, which means there are not circulation or computer services for those residents.  All may still attend library programs and come to the libraries to browse and read at the library.

Brandon and Rowley are part of the Independence Community School District.  However, none of the taxes for the school are received by the public library.  The public libraries have completely different funding streams, being funded through their respective city and county (allowing for services to the rural residents).  When it comes to funding, the public libraries and the schools are completely separate entities.

Since we’ve received library services in the past, why are you requesting funding from the cities without libraries now?

Libraries and the people who work in them are geared towards serving people.  We enjoy helping people, and do not want to turn people away from the library.  It was easier not to address the issue and provide services, but it wasn’t feasible to continue to provide these services without funding.  The enforcement of signing a library services contract for cities without libraries has been in effect since July 1, 2011. 

How much is being requested for library services?

The contracts being offered by the Cities with Libraries of Buchanan County began at $2.00 per person and have increased $1.00 per year thereafter, not to exceed 75% of the average city support per capita.  The amount for July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015 is $5 per person.  The request started out very low to allow cities to build up to the capability of paying a larger dollar amount for services.  75% of the average paid by the cities is a rule of thumb recommended by the State Library of Iowa.

The cities of Aurora, Fairbank, Independence, Jesup, Lamont and Winthrop have libraries and each respective city allocates funds to support their library.  The average city support per capita (person) in 13-14 for library services was $44.21.  The average for Buchanan County library services funding for rural patrons is $12.18 per capita. 

I live in Brandon/Rowley and am in the Independence Community School District.  Why don’t my children receive library services?

Brandon and Rowley are part of the Independence Community School District.  However, none of the taxes for the school are received by the public library.  The public libraries have completely different funding streams, being funded through their respective city and county (allowing for services to the rural residents).  When it comes to funding, the public libraries and the schools are completely separate entities.
 

Have you talked with the cities without libraries about the request for funding?

A library director from Buchanan County met with the various city councils to let them know that requesting money for their residents to continue to have library services would most likely be coming down the pike.  The library directors voluntarily assigned themselves to a city, asked to be on the agenda, and attended one of their city council meetings.  This happened during the winter of 2008-2009. 

The next communication was a letter addressed to the mayors, city councils and city clerks.  The invitation was sent the middle of March, 2010, to each city hall in the county.  It was an invitation to the joint meeting held for all city officials in the county to discuss library services and contracts at a meeting scheduled in April, 2010. 

The joint meeting took place at the Winthrop City Hall on April 13, 2010.   All mayors, city clerks and city councils were invited...both those with and those without libraries.  During that meeting there was a lot of discussion about library services and payment for them.  One speaker was a library director for Dubuque County who told how things happened when her county went through a very similar process.

The cities with libraries then developed and entered into a 28E (joint) agreement to become the Cities with Libraries in Buchanan County (CLBC).  The 28E outlines and gives CLBC the right to contract with cities without libraries. 

In November, 2010, all cities without libraries were mailed a letter and a contract.  The letter outlined the agreement and requested that each city sign the contract and pay $2.00 per capita in order for their city residents to continue to receive library services.  That amount goes up $1.00 per year until it reaches a cap of 75% of the average city funding for libraries within Buchanan County. The initial contracts were due by June 1st, 2011. 

For all the cities without libraries, we began the process early and sent the contracts out before the cities were deep into budget discussions for the next fiscal year.  The CLBC has made every attempt to be fair and to communicate fully about the process and expectations.
 

Are cities without libraries in other counties expected to pay for library services?

Over 200 cities in Iowa contract with other cities for library services.  This is considered a fair share contract, with cities paying a fair share in order for the residents to benefit from library services.   According to the Iowa Code, all cities are obligated to provide support for library services to their community.  

256.69 Local financial support.
Commencing July 1, 1977, each city within its corporate boundaries and each county within the unincorporated area of the county shall levy a tax of at least six and three-fourths cents per thousand dollars of assessed value on the taxable property  for the purpose of providing financial support to the public library which provides library services within the respective jurisdictions.
 

Is my city locked into a long term contract if we sign this contract?

No.  The contract automatically renews, however, a city may terminate the agreement prior to a fiscal year by notifying the Cities with Libraries of Buchanan County Agency (CLBC) by Jan. 31st preceding that fiscal year.  If a city would decide to establish their own library, for instance, they could notify us in January of 2012 and open their new library in the summer of 2012. 
 

What should we do if we want to continue to receive library services?

If library services are important to you, you should talk with the people who will make the decision about whether to sign the fair share contract.  Those are the city council members and mayor of your city.   You may want to speak with your elected officials individually, or you may decide to organize a group of residents for this purpose.  Council meetings are probably the most likely forum for this; however, each city is different in the way they handle public comments.  It would be best to check ahead of time to see how and when you can make your voice heard.
 

If my city decides not to sign the contract, can I purchase a card for library services?

The choice to continue or discontinue services will be made by each city when they decide whether or not to participate in the Fair Share Contract.  According to Iowa Code 256.69, all cities are obligated to provide support for library services to their community. 

Free public libraries (tax-supported libraries) strive to give service to anyone who walks through the door, regardless of income, background, gender, age, occupation, or ethnicity.  Of course, the city or county in which that person resides must provide funding for that library for this to remain true.  If libraries were to begin to accept money from individuals in return for a library card, then public libraries would no longer be able to provide services regardless of income or financial status.  This would be compromising one of the core values public libraries have been founded on…equal access to information.  Therefore, library cards will not be available for purchase.
 

How will library services change for me if my city decides not to sign the contract?

You will be able to come to the library and browse, read at the library, participate in programs and events, or meet with others.  You will not be able to do anything that requires your library card.  Services that would no longer be provided would include checking out books, DVDs, audio CDs and other materials from the collection, using the computers, using online subscription services provided by the library, and downloading ebooks and audiobooks from the library’s online sources. 
 

Can I just go to another library outside of Buchanan County for library services?

Public Libraries are all in the same situation as far as being tax-supported entities.  Across the state, over 200 cities without libraries contract for library services.  If your city does not contract with anyone for library services, then it is likely that you will not be provided library services from other libraries in the state.