State Aid for Public Libraries

About State Aid

About State Aid

N.C. Gen. Stat. 125-7 provides for NC public libraries to receive funds appropriated annually by the State Legislature. These grants are available to any public library, including municipal libraries, that establishes its eligibility according to the Rules and Regulations for the Allocation of State Aid to Public Libraries. The State Library's role in State Aid is to determine eligibility annually. It is also charged with receiving this funding from the legislature and allocating it to all eligible libraries based upon a formula approved by the North Carolina Library Commission. The North Carolina State Aid to Public Libraries is allocated among all eligible NC public libraries according to a formula:

  • 50% of the total State Aid to Public Libraries appropriation is allocated in equal block grants to each eligible county, plus an additional block grant to each multi-county regional library. 

  • The remaining 50% of the State Aid fund is allocated as per capita income equalization grants. 

In other words, both the library's service area population and per capita income have an impact in determining the amount of State Aid allocated to your library. These factors recognize that if you have more people or poor people, then you need more money to provide library service. State Aid grant amounts are recalculated each year to take into consideration changes in population and per capita income.

Another factor impacting the amount of State Aid the library may receive is Maintenance of Effort (MOE). More information about MOE is available on the FAQ tab.




State Aid eligibility is codified in North Carolina Administrative Code 07 NCAC 02I .0201 Qualifications for Grant Eligibility

Libraries requesting funding from the Aid to Public Libraries Fund shall submit annually to the State Library of North Carolina an application for State Aid and supporting documentation including financial and statistical reports and shall meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Be established consistent with the provisions of Article 14, Chapter 153A of the North Carolina General Statutes; 
  2. Provide library services in compliance with applicable State and Federal law to all residents of the political subdivision(s) supporting the library. Public library services shall be provided from at least one designated facility with a cataloged collection that is open to the public a minimum of 40 hours per week;
  3. Employ a full-time library director having or eligible for North Carolina public librarian certification. Full-time means working a minimum of 35 hours per week;
  4. Secure operational funds from local government sources at least equal to the average amount budgeted and available for expenditure for the previous three years. A grant to a local library system from the Aid to Public Libraries Fund shall not be terminated but shall be reduced proportionately by the Department if the amount budgeted and available for expenditure by local government is below the average of the previous three fiscal years. State funds shall not replace local funds budgeted and available for expenditure for public library operations;
  5. Secure aggregate operational funds from local sources which are at least equal to state aid;
  6. Expend funds as authorized in the budget adopted by the Board of Trustees of a Regional Library, a County, or a Municipality. Any library having an unencumbered operational balance of more than 17 percent of the previous year's operating receipts shall have the difference deducted from its state allocation;
  7. Pay salaries for professional positions funded from the Aid to Public Libraries Fund at least at the minimum rate of a salary grade of 69 as established by the Office of State Personnel;
  8. Provide to the State Library of North Carolina an annual audit of the political subdivision(s) funding the library consistent with generally accepted accounting principles;
  9. Submit annually to the State Library of North Carolina a copy of the bylaws of the library system's Board(s) of Trustees;
  10. Submit annually a current long-range plan of service to the State Library of North Carolina. A long-range plan of service is a plan of at least five years. Upon request, the library shall submit an assessment of a community's library needs to the State Library of North Carolina;
  11. Submit a copy of the agreement establishing the library system, if composed of more than one local governmental unit; and
  12. Meet the following stipulations when establishing a new library or re-establishing eligibility for the Aid to Public Libraries Fund:
    1. meet all requirements of this Section on July 1 of the year prior to the fiscal year that the library plans to receive state aid;
    2. continue to meet all requirements of this Section from July 1 to June 30 of that year, which shall be known as the demonstration year; and
    3. file a full application for state aid by the June 30 deadline at the close of the demonstration year in order to receive state aid in the next fiscal year.
How to Apply

How to Apply

Application for State Aid is required annually.  Application packets are sent in July by the State Library. Completed forms are due mid-September and should be submitted to with the subject line: State Aid.

Besides an annual audit, which is required when applying for State Aid, several other documents must be included in a State Aid submission.  To view a sample checklist of required documents, please click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered a Long Range Plan?

A long-range plan of service is one of several eligibility requirements for State Aid. Libraries may consider applying for an LSTA planning grant in order to work with an independent consultant on a strategic planning process while some libraries decide to manage the planning process in-house. Resources on strategic and long-range planning are available on the Public Library Standards libguide. You can find more information about the application process for the LSTA Planning Grant on the State Library's LSTA webpages.

What is NC Public Librarian Certification?

One of the requirements for State Aid Eligibility is that the director holds the North Carolina Public Librarian Certification. In North Carolina, the standards for certification of public librarians are set by the North Carolina Public Library Certification Commission, as authorized by General Statute 143B-67. If you don't already hold this certification, it's critical that you submit an application for certification within your first year as library director.

  • Already hold certification? 

Please let us know and we can confirm your eligibility using our database of certificate holders. It is not necessary to provide us with a copy of your Certificate.

  • Need to apply for certification? 

The Certification Commission meets quarterly to consider applications for certification. You may submit your application online or by mail. An official transcript is also required to demonstrate your mastery of the core librarianship courses required for certification.

Visit North Carolina Public Librarian Certification for more information.

What is Maintenance of Effort?

Maintenance of Effort (MOE) demonstrates that your local funders are maintaining or expanding their support of the cost of local library service. MOE is based on the average of the previous 3 year total local support. Each local funder must report the library's budgeted allocation on the Declaration of MOE form. The State Aid packet will include Declaration of MOE for each of the library's previously reported local funders. The total of all the funders (from the declaration forms) is reported on the Average MOE form. The State Aid packet will include the form with the previous 3 year average the total must meet or exceed. If the budgeted MOE for the upcoming fiscal year is less than the average of the previous 3 years the library's allocation of state aid will be reduced according to the percentage loss.