Photo showing revised code and artwork from Ohio State School for the Blind at the State Library

Library Law

Ohio law governs the formation of seven types of public libraries. One type, a Regional Library District, is allowed under the law, but has never been created. Another type, the Association Library, is not clearly dealt with in the law, but is eligible for Public Library Fund (PLF) funding under certain circumstances.


Governed by Articles of Incorporation

  • Taxing Authority is not set within Ohio Code.
  • Service area – sometimes vaguely established within the Articles of Incorporation. The State Library Board appreciates the opportunity to redefine boundaries or, when possible, consider applications for reorganization as county district libraries. Redefinition as county district libraries also sets the taxing authority.
  • Ohio Revised Code (ORC) – this type of library is not clearly dealt with in Chapter 3375 of the ORC, but information is found in Section 1713.28 “Organic rules may be prescribed in articles of certain corporations” of the ORC.
  • Number in existence – 19


Board of 6 members appointed by the Judges of the County Court of Common Pleas.

  • Taxing authority is the County Commissioners.
  • Service area is the county within which it is located, leaving out any areas being served by other libraries.
  • ORC Sections 3375.06 – 3375.08
  • Number in existence – 3

County Extension

Libraries that have been given permission to provide service outside their legal boundaries but not within another library’s boundaries.
Number in existence – 28

County District

Board of 7 members, 3 appointed by County Court of Common Pleas and 4 appointed by the County Commissioners.

  • Taxing authority is the County Commissioners.
  • Service area is set by resolution – usually all school districts within county currently not being serviced by another library.
  • ORC Sections 3375.19 – 3375.24
  • Number in existence – 58


Board of 7 members appointed by the legislative authority of the municipality.

  • Taxing authority is the legislative authority of the municipality.
  • Service area is city in which it is located, unless redefined by the State Library Board.
  • ORC Sections 3375.12 – 3375.13
  • Number in existence – 19

School District

Board of 7 members appointed by School District Board of Education.

  • Taxing authority is the School District Board of Education.
  • Service area is school district in which it is located unless redefined by the State Library Board.
  • ORC Sections 3375.15 – 3375.18
  • Number in existence – 148 (This sets us apart from other states; we have far more school district libraries than most other states.)


Board of 3 members appointed by the Township Trustees.

  • Taxing authority is the Township Trustees.
  • Service area is township in which it is located unless redefined by the State Library Board.
  • ORC Sections 3375.09 – 3375.11
  • Number in existence – 4

Regional Library District

This type of library would be created from two or more independent libraries in different counties desiring to merge. It is allowed for within the ORC, but there have never been any in Ohio.

  • ORC Sections 3375.28 – 3375.31
  • Number in existence – 0

Click here to view an interactive map of public libraries in Ohio and download a directory of Ohio public libraries.

Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3375 – Libraries

Below are links to sections of the Library chapter in the Ohio Revised Code









Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3375 – State Library Board

These are links to the Administrative Rules adopted by the State Library Board

Chapter 3375-1 Operation of State Library Board

The current process for reviewing library boundaries is outlined in chapter 3375-4 of the Ohio Administrative Code. In addition to detailing the application process for redefining or reaffirming a library boundary, this Administrative Code section gives all potentially affected libraries the opportunity to participate in a hearing process governed by the Administrative Procedures chapter of the Ohio Revised Code (Chapter 119). This gives the State Library Board adjudicatory powers which are ultimately appealable to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

The procedures for adjusting, defining or redefining public library boundaries are contained in OAC 3375-4.

The procedure for establishing a new County District Library is outlined in OAC 3375-4-01. This is the only way under law for a new library type to be established. It requires the library to change taxing and appointing authority. The law does not allow for other types of new libraries to be formed essentially capping the number of Public Libraries eligible for PLF funding at 251.

The procedures for adjusting, defining, redefining or reaffirming boundaries for any other situation is outlined in OAC 3375-4-05.

In addition to the procedure outlined in the appropriate OAC section, libraries applying for boundary determinations should also provide the State Librarian with the following:

  • Adopted resolution of the library board requesting a boundary determination
  • Documentation of current services to any new area in the proposed boundary
  • Documentation of planned services to any new area in the proposed boundary
  • A long-range plan of service for the library
  • Demographics of current and proposed areas
  • Library service statistics deemed relevant to the request; and Evidence of communication/cooperation with other libraries in the county or contiguous counties whose boundaries will be altered as a result of the proposed boundary.

When a proposed boundary change is received by the State Librarian, a recommendation to the State Library Board must be made within 60 days, unless the parties agree otherwise. At that time, all affected libraries are notified of the proposed boundary recommendation via certified mail. That notice also informs the libraries of their right to request a hearing within 30 days of the mailing of the notice. If a hearing is requested, the State Library Board sets the time and place for the hearing within 15 days but not earlier than seven days after the hearing is requested unless otherwise agreed to by the parties involved. A certified copy of the State Library Board’s final decision is sent to local boards of elections, taxing authorities, library boards and other appropriate state and local offices within 30 days of its passage.