Libraries are at the center of their communities in providing information and recreation. Now, thanks to funds provided through the Legacy Amendment, we will be providing arts and cultural experiences in our libraries. The Legacy Amendment was approved by 56% of Minnesota voters in November 2008. This Amendment raised the state sales tax 3/8 of 1% (starting July 1, 2009 and lasting 25 years) to generate money for four funds: Clean Water, Outdoor Heritage, Parks and Trails, and Arts and Cultural Heritage.
Libraries were included in the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the legislation*, which will receive 19.75% of the sales tax generated each year. This Fund will be divided among many recipients, including the following:
- Board of Arts (with opportunities for partnerships with libraries and schools)
- Regional Public Library funding for arts and arts education programs (will receive $4.25 million in FY 2010 and $4.25 in FY 2011)
- Minnesota Digital Library (will receive $500,000 in FY 2010)
Public Library funding for arts and arts education programs will be allocated to the 12 regional public library systems according to the current regional library basic system support (RLBSS) grant formula. The Department of Education will administer this funding. In addition to our local programming, ECRL will participate along with the other regional public library systems to fund a state project to bring arts and culture into libraries.
The funding from the Legacy Amendment must be used to supplement, not supplant, traditional sources of funding. Recipients of the funding will need to prove that their use of the money was “supplemental” in nature—not a supplanting of current funding.
At its August 10th meeting, the ECRL Board of Directors authorized a committee to oversee the use of ECRL’s portion of the Legacy Funds. We will also be participating in a statewide project of arts in libraries.
*Minnesota Session Laws 2009, Chapter 172, Article 4, Section Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, Subdivision 3
Barbara Misselt, Director