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STATE LIBRARY
[Authorized: NDCC Chapter 54-24]

The North Dakota State Library has had a long and varied history. Established in 1862 (T. L. 1862, Ch. 86) the Territorial Library was under control of the Territorial Auditor. Custody of the Territorial Library was transferred to the Historical Society of Dakota in 1863 and a librarian was authorized by the Territorial Legislature in 1868. The Territorial Library was later transferred to the office of the Territorial Secretary in 1875. Throughout this period, the Territorial Library remained small and consisted primarily of law and reference books. In 1879 (T. L. 1879, Ch. 38) a sum of $200 was appropriated by the Territorial Legislature to pay for the rent of rooms for the Territorial Library.

A North Dakota State Library was created in 1890, (S. L. 1890, Ch. 166) and maintained by the Secretary of State. An appropriation of $4500 in 1890 and $1000 for each of the following years was provided by the State Legislature to support the state library. In 1907 the Public Library Commission was established (S. L. 1907, Ch. 243) and consisted of three members; the president of the North Dakota Library Association and the Superintendent of Public Instruction as ex-officio members and one gubernatorial appointee. The purpose of the Commission was to appoint the librarian and oversee the activities of the State Library including management of the traveling libraries, maintenance of the legislative bureau, and maintenance of an educational reference library. The State Library was also to assist communities in establishing free public libraries, promote additional libraries in the state, and to assist legislators with preparation of bill drafts. In 1909 membership of the Public Library Commission increased to five members including the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Secretary of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the President of the North Dakota Library Association, as ex-officio members, and two members appointed by the Governor (S. L. 1909, Ch. 156).

In 1915 the duties of the Public Library Commission were assumed by the State Board of Regents (S. L. 1915, Ch. 237).  The State Board of Regents had primary responsibility to control and administer state colleges and educational institutions. In 1919, the Board of Administration was given authority to manage the State Library and assumed the duties of the State Library Commission in 1927 (S. L. 1927, Ch. 261). The Board of Administration appointed an executive officer known as secretary and director of the Library Commission. In 1949, (S. L. 1949, Ch. 320) the Legislature authorized the State Library Commission to accept and disburse grants of federal funds, and in 1957, (S. L. 1957, Ch. 352) municipalities, political subdivisions, and agencies were given permission to establish a library fund and levy a tax to support local libraries and reading rooms. In 1965 the duties of the State Library Commission were expanded and included, promoting the formation and improvement of libraries, coordinating the efforts of librarianship throughout the state of North Dakota, and collecting reference and reading materials. Other duties included certifying librarians across the state, maintaining a collection of publications of state agencies and departments, and conducting statewide library planning efforts (S. L. 1965, Ch. 352). The Director of Institutions took over the duties of the State Library Commission in 1969 (S. L. 1969, Ch. 440), and in 1979 the State Library Commission was replaced by the Director of Institutions who received authority to appoint an executive officer known as the state librarian to  direct the activities of the state library (S. L. 1979, Ch. 550). In 1989 the State Library was placed within the Department of Public Instruction. Since then the State Librarian has been the administrator of the programs of the State Library and is appointed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The State Library operates under a separate budget and employs a professional library staff (S. L. 1989, Ch. 239; S. L. 1989, Ch. 314). To meet its responsibility, the State Library provides information by direct service to North Dakota citizens and their government through a network of established libraries.  It offers technical assistance to public, academic, school, and special libraries, creates continuing educational opportunities for librarians and trustees, and secures library service for the handicapped and disadvantaged. The State Library is charged to explore and recommend upgraded use of technology to increase library effectiveness. It maintains the state document depository program, develops and coordinates effective use of regional library resources, and administers state aid to public libraries and the Federal Library Services and Construction Act. The State Library is housed in the Liberty Memorial Building on the State Capitol grounds in Bismarck.

North Dakota Advisory Council on Libraries
[Authorized: Public Law 98-480 and Public Law 99-159]
Since 1971 the head of the State Library has also served as executive secretary of the North Dakota Advisory Council on Libraries. Established by Executive Order 1969-50, the North Dakota Advisory Council on Libraries consisted of fifteen members appointed by the Governor for four year terms. The Governor was to appoint at least seven members (the number of members varied from year to year). Comprised from a variety of libraries and library users from across the state, the membership was to advise the State Librarian on the development of policy matters, provide advice for libraries within the state, and promote improvement of libraries and information services. The Council was to survey statewide library needs, evaluate public library programs, encourage cooperation between libraries, and make recommendations to the Governor and State Librarian regarding the improvement of library services to the residents of the state. In 1997 the Library Coordinating Council replaced the Advisory Council (S. L. 1997, Ch. 433). The ten member Council included eight who were appointed by the Governor. The ex-officio members were the State Librarian, the president of the North Dakota Library Association, and a representative from the special libraries, public and private higher education institutions, and school libraries. Additionally, two representatives were selected from public libraries, the disabled, economically disadvantaged, and the minority population. A citizen selected at large who is not a librarian also served as a member of the Council. In 2001 a second citizen member was appointed (S. L. 2001, Ch. 486). The selection process recognized the need for members to represent all geographical regions of the state. With the exception of the two citizens at large the appointees had to be practicing librarians (S. L.2005, Ch. 493). The powers and duties of the Council include assisting in planning, coordinating and evaluating the services and programs of libraries within the state, serving as the state advisory council on libraries, and approving of the distribution of grants to qualified local libraries. The Council facilitates the development of a statewide on-line library catalog, is involved in resource sharing with libraries across the state, and provides support for projects of electronic networking. It also works to strengthen the State Library with the coordination and enrichment of providing library service within the state, to support and strengthen cooperative ventures between libraries, and to promote equitable access to information resources and library services to all persons in the state.

CHRONOLOGY

1862       Creation of the Territorial Library under the Territorial Auditor (T. L. 1862, Ch. 86).

1863       Custody of the Territorial Library was transferred to the Historical Society of Dakota.

1875       The Territorial Library was transferred to the Territorial Secretary.

1879       Territorial Legislative Assembly appropriated $200.00 to rent rooms for the Territorial Library. The sum of $23.50 was paid to George Hand for shelving (T. L. 1879, Ch. 38).

1889       After statehood, all territory north of the seventh standard parallel became known as North Dakota (S. L. 1889, Ch. 99).

1890       The North Dakota State Library was created and managed by the Secretary of State (S. L. 1890, Ch. 166).

1907       Creation of the State Library Commission consisted of three members (S. L. 1907, Ch. 243).

1909       The State Library Commission increased to five members who served six year terms and had to be confirmed by the Senate (S. L. 1909, Ch. 156).

1915       The duties of the Public Library Commission were assumed by the State Board of Regents (S. L. 1915, Ch. 237).

1919       The Board of Administration was created.

1927       The Board of Administration was given authority to manage the State Library and assumed the duties of the State Library Commission (S. L. 1927, Ch. 261).

1949       The State Library Commission accepted and disbursed grants (S. L. 1949, Ch. 320).

1959       Counties and municipalities could levy taxes to help to provide library services to the residents of the state. The State Library Commission could enter into contracts with municipalities, political subdivisions, and with state agencies (S. L. 1959, Ch. 352).

1965       Legislation required all state departments, offices, and agencies to deposit ten copies of all state publications with the State Library (S. L. 1965, Ch. 352).

1967       The State Library offered related services to municipalities, governmental subdivisions, and agencies in North Dakota and other states (S. L. 1967, Ch. 289).

1969       The Director of Institutions assumed the duties from the Board of Administration (S. L. 1969, Ch. 440).

1971       Legislation requiring state departments, offices, and agencies to deposit copies of all state publications was amended (S. L. 1971, Ch. 503).

1979       The Director of Institutions appointed an executive officer who served as State Librarian. The State Library Commission is eliminated (S. L. 1979, Ch. 550).

1989       The Director of Institutions no longer managed the administration for the State Library. It was placed within the Department of Public Instruction with the State Librarian responsible for administrating the programs of the State Library. The Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction appointed the State Librarian (S. L. 1989, Ch. 239).

1997       The Library Coordinating Council replaced the advisory committee ( S. L. 1997, Ch. 453).

2001       The Library Coordinating Council increased to eleven members (S. L. 2001, Ch. 480).

2005       All members of the Coordinating Council had to be practicing librarians except for two who served as citizens at large (S. L. 2005, Ch. 493).

2007       Legislation required that the State Librarian compile statistics on all public libraries within the state (S. L. 2007, Ch. 465).

SERIES

31063    Director’s Correspondence. 
31064    Miscellaneous Files.
31065    Ledger.
31066    Book Accession Record.
30345    Architectural Drawings of the Liberty Memorial Building.
31726    Library Commission Biennial Report Drafts.
31735    Prairie Public Television Spin Indexes. 
32106    Administration. News Releases.

SOURCES

Gray, David P.  Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.
Laws of Dakota Territory.
North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.
 

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