In Iowa, a public library is established by an ordinance adopted by the city council. It is important to be acquainted with the library ordinance because it is the “law” under which the library exists. The library ordinance is part of the city code; if you have not been provided with a copy of the ordinance, request one from your library director. In the ordinance you will find:
- the number of board members, how they are appointed and their terms of office
- the powers and duties of the library board including its authority to set the librarian’s salary and control the library’s expenditures
- procedure for budgeting and approving bills
- reports required from the library to the city council
Most of Iowa’s public libraries are established by an ordinance very similar to the sample ordinance in the appendix of this handbook. Libraries established after Iowa’s Home Rule Act (1972 Acts, chapter 1088), may have an ordinance similar to the sample ordinance or it may be substantially different.