Library Budgets

Starting in early July, 237 Indiana public libraries plan a budget. This will tell how the library spends money in the next calendar year. Library expenses are for services such as staff, materials, facilities and technology. These services are determined by the library community goals as outlined in their strategic plan.

Libraries in Indiana can levy a tax that results in revenue from property tax; the other money is received from miscellaneous tax such as sales tax, some local income tax, and revenue the library generates itself through fines and fees.

There are two authorities that oversee the library and its budget plan: the library board, and The Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF), a state agency. Each year the budget can grow according to a growth quotient, a number that is calculated from federal data based on the growth of personal income. The DLGF issues the growth quotient and the library board calculates the budget with input from library director. The budget estimate with the calculation results in a levy and a tax.

The budget approval process follows the budget calendar. First the public is given notice through two advertisements in September, then a public hearing is held for the plans approval by the library board. After approval, the plan is submitted to the DLGF by November 2. The budget order is issued in the New Year by the DLGF.

The public can see library budgets on the public side of the Budget Gateway found here Click on the link to view local budgets. Then select report, for example, select “Budget Estimate-Financial Statement-Tax Rate.” On this page you make several selections. Choose a county, unit (library) and the name of the unit. You can choose from the fund types available to see the budgets. The report gives the total budget estimate, the tax rate and the tax levy.

The public libraries work as good stewards to safeguard the money, monitor the cash flow, and provide the community with excellent library services.

For more information, view an eight minute video on “Public Library Budgeting in Indiana” found on the webpage This presentation is a budget primer for library staff and patrons.

This blog post was written by Karen Ainslie, Library Development Librarian and Professional Development Office Librarian. For more information, contact the Library Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or email