Is Your Public Library Municipal or Non Profit Corporation?

Stephen Mirsky

Believe it or not there is a difference! Some libraries in Connecticut are fully funded by a line item in the town budget. Others are non profit corporate entities fully governed by their own boards and missions independent of town government.

Nearly half of public libraries in Connecticut are nonprofit “association libraries”. Whether fully municipal or an “association” all municipalities in CT consider it a principal public library serving “its residents through its outlet or outlets without charging a borrower’s card fee and which receives its financial support in whole or in part from local tax funds” [C.G.S. Sec 11-24a(2)].

Communities that have designated an association library as the principal public library have several options of supporting the library financially. In many cases it is in the form of a grant or some other contractual arrangement usually outlined in the town charter.

So the differences between these 2 types of libraries aren’t readily apparent upon walking through the doors. It’s the subtleties like fundraising and how that money is spent that can matter most to you.