Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 17 >> Lemurs to Lied Von Der Glocke >> Library Laws and Legisla

Library Laws and Legisla Tion in the United States

libraries, north, virginia, york, carolina, nebraska and minnesota

LIBRARY LAWS AND LEGISLA TION IN THE UNITED STATES. As in the case of education, each State has complete control of the library situation within its bound aries. In many States the libraries have re ceived great assistance and encouragement from the State administration; in many others, on the contrary, they have been neglected and sometimes discouraged. State library legisla tion has concerned itself mainly with the fol lowing topics: (1) Founding of libraries; (2) their administration and supervision by library commissions, etc.; (3) development of school libraries; (4) of country and rural libraries; (5) of traveling libraries. Legislative refer ence bureaus and provision for popular lectures and for educational extension by means of the library arc more or less liberally provided for by certain States.

1. The laws regarding the foundation of libraries arc universally permissive and not mandatory. That is, a community is empow ered to vote an appropriation for the establish ment and support of a public library. The method of obtaining the endowment differs in different States, the usual one, however, being the addition of a small percentage (one-half to five mills on the dollar) to the tax rate. In other cases a popular subscription up to a cer tain amount is authorized, which, in a very few cases, is supplemented by an additional fund from the State treasury. Virtually all of the States have library enabling or foundation acts in some form or other.

2. Less unanimity is discoverable regarding the laws for administration and supervision, 11 of the States having no legislation on that sub ject. It is not surprising furthermore to find that these States arc the ones in which library facilities arc least developed. In those States which have enacted laws on this subject there is considerable difference of method in obtain ing the desired end. In general, however, a State library commission is provided for, which has oversight and direction of the libraries. In the case of California and of Virginia, the State library has the functions of a library commission, while in New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Utah, the State Board of Edu cation has control, acting through special com missions or representatives. In Alabama the

State Department of Archives and History has the function of a library commission. Colo rado provides for two library commissions, one of which has direction of the traveling libraries.

The following States have laws providing for a library commission or some other form of direction and control: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Penn sylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennes see, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washing ton, Wisconsin (37).

3. The following States make provision in their laws for school libraries: Alabama, Ari zona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Dela ware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mas sachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Da kota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyom ing (43).

4. The following States have laws provid ing for the extension of library facilities to counties and rural districts: California, Dela ware, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wiscon sin, Wyoming (17).

5. Traveling libraries are provided for in Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ver mont, Virginia and Wisconsin (11) ; and leg islative reference bureaus in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin (13). Pen sions for library employees are provided for in Illinois and Nebraska (2) and Kansas provides for libraries in penitentiaries.