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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 2336 (April 27, 2024).

22 Pa. Code § 141.21. Local libraries.

§ 141.21. Local libraries.

 In approving and disapproving plans for the use of State funds by local libraries, decisions of the State Librarian will be determined by the following criteria:

   (1)  System participation. Whether the plan includes participation in a cooperative system of existing and new libraries organized around a district library center. For any plan to be approved, the library shall meet the minimum standards of system participation.

   (2)  Achievement of standards of services. Whether the plan leads toward the achievement of the following applicable standards:

     (i)   Structure and government of library service. The structure and government of library service shall conform with the following:

       (A)   The library shall have a clear legal basis for establishment, organization, and financial support, in the case of a library established at public expense under The Library Code (24 P.S. § §  4101—4503).

       (B)   Except where, pursuant to a home rule charter adopted pursuant to the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law (53 P.S. § §  1-101— 1-1309), a local library is governed by an agency other than a library board of directors, board members shall be appointed by the municipal officers of each municipality contributing to the support or aiding in the maintenance of a local library in accordance with section 411 of The Library Code (24 P.S. §  4411). A municipality is judged to contribute to the support or to aid in the maintenance of a local library when it appropriates to the library annually an amount of money which is equivalent to 15% or more of the yearly income of the library from all local municipal sources. In the case of a local library established prior to June 14, 1961, each municipality which contributes to the support or aids in the maintenance of the local library shall appoint a number of members to serve on the board of library directors as is mutually agreed upon by such municipalities, provided that no single municipality shall be required to appoint more than two board members, and provided, further, that the appointment of board positions agreed to by such municipalities shall be subject to the approval of the State Librarian.

       (C)   The library shall be an integral part of general local government.

       (D)   Each municipality which maintains a local library or which contributes to the support or aids in the maintenance of a local library within the meaning of clause (B) of this subparagraph shall pass an ordinance or resolution establishing or designating the library to be the agent of the municipality to provide library service in accordance with section 415 of The Library Code (24 P.S. §  4415). If the library was not established by the municipality, the library board shall pass a resolution accepting the designation.

       (E)   The public library shall report annually to the municipality.

       (F)   The library board shall commit the library, by resolution, to participation in the district library center cooperative program.

       (G)   The function of the library board and the librarian and staff shall be clearly differentiated in a written statement.

     (ii)   Service. Library service shall be as follows:

       (A)   The library shall maintain well-planned hours of service.

       (B)   The library shall establish a regular schedule of hours which permits all citizens of the community easy access to the materials and services of the library.

       (C)   The library shall be open for service weekly in accordance with the following minimums:

PopulationHours Per Week
Less than 25,00035
50,000 and more65

       (D)   The library shall complete and submit within the prescribed time limit the annual report form and other forms required by the Bureau of Library Development of the State Library.

     (iii)   Library materials. Library materials shall be governed by the following:

       (A)   The library shall have a written statement of policy covering the selection and maintenance of its collection of library materials.

       (B)   The library shall provide a well-balanced minimum collection of 1 1/2 currently useful catalogued and classified items per capita; provided that no library shall have a collection of fewer than 15,000 such items.

       (C)   The library shall receive a balanced collection of currently useful periodicals in accordance with the following minimums:

PopulationMinimum Titles
Less than 10,000 30
10,000—24,999 50
25,000—49,999 75
50,000 and more125

     (iv)   Personnel. The retaining of library personnel shall be in conformance with the following:

       (A)   The following definitions shall apply in this subparagraph:

         (I)   A staff member is a person regularly used in a year-round job, other than maintenance, which is customary and necessary for the provision of library service.

         (II)   Full time is at least 35 hours weekly. The time of several individuals who regularly work at least 5 hours weekly in year-round jobs excluding maintenance jobs may be added together and counted as being equivalent to full time or a fraction thereof.

         (III)   Qualified means that the staff member must have the training, skills and experience necessary to perform the tasks or carry out the responsibilities of the job to which he is assigned and can give evidence of such qualifications. To be qualified, a head librarian must be certified as specified in clause (C).

       (B)   The library shall have a written personnel policy.

       (C)   The library shall be administered by a head librarian certified as follows, except that no library shall be deprived of State aid because of having a noncertified head librarian appointed prior to January 15, 1970:

Required Certification
Populationof Head Librarian
0—9,999Library Assistant
10,000—19,999Provisional Librarian
20,000 and moreProfessional Librarian

       (D)   The library shall have a qualified staff member, full time or equivalent, for each 3,500 persons in the direct service area; provided that no library shall use fewer than one full time staff member. In the case of a library which fulfills this standard by use of only one full time staff member, that person must be certified as at least a library assistant in accordance with §  133.6 (relating to library assistant).

   (3)  Extension of time. Whether an extension of time is needed beyond five years in which to achieve applicable standards of library service. A library may request such extension of time from the State Librarian in accordance with the provisions of section 304 of The Library Code (24 P.S. §  4304). In approving or disapproving a library’s request for an extension of time and continuation of State aid, the State Librarian shall consider the following factors:

     (i)   Possible enlargement of the service area of the library so as to increase its local financial effort and the amount of State aid for which it would be eligible.

     (ii)   Possible merger or cooperative agreement with a district library center, a county library, or a nearby local library or group of libraries with which it can share books and other materials, staff services or physical facilities.

   (4)  Library services to the whole community. Whether the library services are being developed for the community as a whole, rather than for any particular group or age level, the following shall apply:

     (i)   For a plan to be approved, any local library which provides direct service to schools in the form of bookmobile visits or deposits of classroom book collections shall be required to describe such service in its plans for use of State funds and indicate the percentage of its total expenditures which is devoted to such service to schools.

     (ii)   In the first year of application for State aid, a library may qualify when it expends more than 20% of its total operating expenditures on direct service to schools only when it submits a plan to reduce its expenditures for direct service to schools to an amount not exceeding 20% of its total operating expenditures within six years of participation in State aid.

   (5)  Standards of library expenditures. Whether the financial support is adequate to provide the applicable standards of service to its direct service area. Such support shall be measured by an amount equal to or exceeding the local financial effort of $.0005 times market value, or $2.00 per capita, whichever is less, in addition to all State aid to which the library is entitled. Since State aid is intended to supplement and not to substitute for local financial effort, no plan for the use of State funds shall be approved which projects the reduction of the local financial effort for normal, recurring, operating costs from a previous level unless evidence of substantial curtailment of financial ability of the community is accepted by the State Librarian. In the case of a library which has participated in the aid program for more than 5 years, no plan will be approved which projects operating expenditures of less than $15,000 in State and local money.

   (6)  Expansion of service area. Whether the library should expand the service area to which it gives all its services free of charge. For any plan to be approved which includes projected expansion of direct service area, the plan of the library shall be accompanied by a copy of the agreement with the municipal authorities that the municipality or municipalities be included in the direct service area of such library. Any municipality which is added to a direct service area of a library shall be considered part of that area for a period of not less than 10 years, except when any of the following apply:

     (i)   Special approval is granted by the State Librarian for excluding such municipality or municipalities from such direct service area.

     (ii)   The municipal authorities of such municipality or municipalities resolve to withdraw from such direct service area.

     (iii)   The municipality or municipalities are included in another library service area through merger of two or more libraries or by contractual agreement.

   (7)  Reduction of service area. Whether the library should reduce the direct service area to which it gives all its services free of charge. For any plan to be approved which includes reduction of service area, the library’s plan shall be accompanied by a copy of the library’s notification to the municipal officers of the municipality or municipalities affected and to the county library board of directors if one exists within the same county. Plans for the use of State funds which include reduction of service area shall not be approved unless the library also plans to cease to give free library service to the residents of the municipality or municipalities affected.

   (8)  Economical use of public funds. Whether the public funds are used economically and efficiently.

   (9)  State aid to supplement or stimulate local support. Whether State aid is planned to supplement or stimulate local pride, responsibility, initiative and support, rather than to substitute for them.

   (Editor’s Note: The Library Code (24 P.S. § §  4101—4503) was repealed by the act of November 1, 2012 (P.L. 1683, No. 210) and replaced by 24 Pa.C.S. Chapter 93 (relating to Public Library Code).)


   The provisions of this §  141.21 amended through May 22, 1981, effective May 23, 1981, 11 Pa.B. 1800. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (56585).

Cross References

   This section cited in 22 Pa. Code §  141.25 (relating to basic standards for local libraries); 22 Pa. Code §  141.26 (relating to basic standards for local library members of a library system); and 22 Pa. Code §  141.28 (relating to basic standards for bookmobiles).

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