Angels of Nottingham wall mural by Michael Loderstedt at the Cleveland Public Library’s Memorial-Nottingham Branch

Library Law

Types of Public Libraries in Ohio by 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

Senate Bill 321 Update

The recent enactment of Senate Bill 321 (SB 321) requires the State Library Board to review the boundaries of all public library districts within Ohio and amend, define, and adjust the boundaries to eliminate any overlapping library districts and prevent the occurrence of double taxation for library service. The State Library is currently working on the details of the processes and procedures necessary to fulfill the requirements of SB 321.

The majority of library districts in the state are well-established and do not have overlapping boundaries. However, some areas of overlap do exist and have resulted in double taxation. There are also potential areas of overlap which could result in double taxation in the future. These areas are typically the result of school district consolidations or school district and municipal boundary overlaps. Many, but not all, libraries have resolutions on file with the State Library defining their boundaries. After a final review of information in the State Library files we will communicate our best definition for each library boundary. Then each library will have the opportunity to either confirm, question, or disagree with that boundary definition. This will allow the State Library to identify and prioritize problem areas.

The State Library will also rewrite the Ohio Administrative Code Rules which outline the procedures for redefining library boundaries in order to reflect changes in the law and simplify current language. This rulemaking process is governed by Chapter 119 of the Ohio Revised Code. The process includes a review period with a public hearing and review of the rules by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR).

The redefining of library boundaries is also governed by Chapter 119 of the Ohio Revised Code and provides libraries ample opportunity to present their cases in boundary disputes through a legal hearing process. More information regarding that process will be forthcoming.

The State Library appreciates the library community’s patience as we work through the process of implementing SB 321. Please watch for further updates.


Photo: Angels of Nottingham is by Michael Loderstedt.  It was installed at the Cleveland Public Library’s Memorial-Nottingham Branch in 1995.  The work is about the site, including geography, biology and the development as an educational center, Villa Angela (The location was formerly an all-girls Catholic high school).

Artist’s statement on file in the archives at the Cleveland Public Library: It is composed of electrostatic computer prints, single color electrostatic prints , color laser prints, silver gelatin photographs, found fence ornaments, found beach glass, polyester resin, glass, lead, maple and oak wood hardware.  This is from the artist’s statement on file in the archives.