Colorado Has a Variety of Legal Bases for Public Libraries

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) provides definitions for 7 specific types of legal bases for public libraries: municipal, county/parish, city/county, multijurisdictional, association, school district, and library district. 98.5 percent of public libraries in the United States can be classified under one of these headings. With the exception of association libraries, each type is represented in Colorado. In fact, Colorado has a relatively even distribution of the specific types of libraries, with two categories—municipal and library district—each comprising slightly over one-third of the state’s public libraries. County libraries also make up a significant portion, weighing in at more than 16 percent. By contrast, in every state that shares a significant border with Colorado, more than 50 percent of the public libraries fall under one specific legal type, primarily municipal (see Table 1 in full report). The exception is Wyoming, where all of the libraries in the state fall under the jurisdiction of its 23 counties.

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