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The community is well served by a library that is appropriately funded and transparently administered to best meet community needs.


Colorado public libraries are supported primarily by local tax revenues. The Library Governing Authority seeks and secures funding from public and private sources and monitors and expends these funds with integrity and to support the goals in the library’s strategic plan.

Many libraries have a separate Friends organization and/or Foundation with a 501(C)(3) status to manage donations for library projects, programs, or services. All fund-raising, grants, and donations shall be considered supplemental to local tax revenue.

Library districts follow fiscal procedures consistent with state law in preparing, presenting, and administering the budget. Unless exempted by state law, an annual audit of the library’s financial records is required. All libraries should have a financial plan.

Libraries earn the public trust by being accountable and transparent about the use of public money. Libraries are proactive in these responsibilities and demonstrate transparency by distributing and making information available on a consistent, reliable basis.

Checklist: Basic

  1. Develop an annual financial plan/budget based on the library’s goals and objectives for approval by the Library Governing Authority.
  2. Develop a long-term finance plan (minimum five years) in conjunction with the library’s strategic plan to identify resources that are available to address future needs of the community. The plan should include categories and amounts.
  3. Prepare and review monthly financial statements that include comparison to budgeted amounts and make financial information available to the public to ensure responsible and transparent use of funds.
  4. Commission and accept an independent annual audit as required by law for library districts. Other library types participate in audits with the Library Governing Authority.
  5. Library Governing Authority reviews and approves the budget (in the case of governing boards) or reviews the budget (in the case of advisory boards).
  6. Follow financial management guidelines that include, at a minimum, policies on budgeting, audits, capital assets, investments, purchasing, contract approval and borrowing, and follow fiscal procedures consistent with federal and state law and local government requirements.
  7. Explore local, state, and national fund-raising opportunities, sponsorships, partnerships, grants, donations, and gifts for special projects or as a supplement to local funding.
  8. Use group purchases and collective bargaining opportunities as a way to expend funds effectively and efficiently.

Checklist: Future-Focused

  1. Develop fund balance policies to ensure appropriate levels of fund balances at all times; develop policies to address situations when targeted fund balances are not achieved.
  2. Encourage community financial contributions through friends, foundations, philanthropists, and other organizations.