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Board Member Orientation: Library Funding, Part 2

Library Budget Calendar

The city's and library's fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.  We must go through the process outlined to prepare the library budget and have it approved.

Once we have a library budget for the fiscal year, the library board has a great deal of power over it.  The power is stated in the library’s ordinance.

2.85.070 Powers and Duties

The board shall have and exercise the following powers and duties to:

(9) Have exclusive control of the expenditure of all funds allocated for library purposes by the council, and of all moneys available by gift or otherwise for the erection of library buildings, and of all other moneys belonging to the library including fines and rentals collected, under the rules of the board;

(10) Accept gifts of real property, personal property, or mixed property, and devises and bequests, including trust funds; to take the title to the property in the name of the library; to execute deeds and bills of sale for the conveyance of the property; and to expend the funds received by them from such gifts, for the improvement of the library

Points to Remember


  • Because the board has exclusive control of library expenditures, the library board has the power to move funds from one line item to another.

  • No library funds may be spent except by motion of the board.  Invoices and bills are sent to the city clerk, who prints the checks, but checks are mailed only after the approval of the board.

  • As you see in the ordinance, the library board has a lot of authority regarding the library budget.  However, we need to remember that as a public library we have certain obligations because we are dealing with public funds.

  • "Code of Iowa Excerpts Regarding Library Funding"

Iowa Code 384.20

This part of the code requires the city to keep separate accounts about all public funds collected, received, or expended for any city purpose.

In a nutshell, this means that although the library board has authority over the library budget, the library must still report all income and expenditures to the city.  Income includes donations to the library from private individuals.  Once the library receives funding from any source, it becomes public funding and is subject to the requirements of §384.20.

Amending the Certified Budget

What happens if we receive unexpected income?  We can spend only the amount budgeted within one fiscal year.


If the library receives additional income from any source, it cannot be spent unless our certified budget is amended to include this income.  No city agency, including the library, can spend more than has been budgeted unless the certified budget is formally amended by the city council.

Amendments must be approved and published by city officials before May 31 of the current fiscal year, the legal deadline for city budget amendments.  We work with the city clerk to present the library’s amendment at the city’s amendment hearing.  This is typically done around March or April.

Library Budget: Roles and Responsibilities (a handout from the State Library)

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