ESTABLISHMENT OF LIBRARY DISTRICT. Letter, May 7, 1973, to Hon. Lyle E. Eckhart, Mayor, Logan.

By letters dated April 25, you each inquire concerning the establishment of a library district pursuant to K.S.A. 12-1236 et seq., comprising Towanda and Logan townships in Phillips County, and West Union and Lincoln townships in Norton County. The former county participates in the Central Kansas Library System, whereas Norton County is a member of the Northwest Kansas Library System.

K.S.A. 12-1236, under which the proposed district is sought to be organized, commences thus:

"Any one or more cities of the third class is hereby authorized to join with any one or more townships or portions of one or more townships in one or more counties in the creation of a library district, upon the presentation to the board of county commissioners, of the county in which such proposed library district and requesting the formation of such library district."

The first question presented is whether the proposed library district may lawfully include territory presently a part of two regional library systems created under K.S.A. 75-2549b. K.S.A. 75-2550 states in part thus:

"Any taxing district which regularly levies one-fourth mill or more of tax for the support of a public library, and which taxing district has been included in a regional system, may petition to be excluded from the regional system. Such petition shall be make and presented tot he state commission. The state commission shall consider any such petition and if such taxing district meets the requirement for making such a petition and if excluding the taxing district from the regional system will do not manifest harm thereto, the state commission may enter its order excluding and detaching such taxing district from the regional system and making such adjustment to the organization of such regional system as may be appropriate to continue the operation of the regional system without interruption."

Any of the townships in question may petition to be excluded from the regional system as a "taxing district" under K.S.A. 75-2550 if it is included in a regional system, and if it regularly levies one-fourth mill or more for the support of a public library. If, however, any of the townships in question do not meet these prerequisites, it is ineligible to petition for exclusion from the regional system.

Nonetheless, there does not appear to be any inhibition in K.S.A. 12-1236 et seq., against the creation of a library district thereunder, notwithstanding the proposed district includes territory within the area of one or more regional systems.

It is further inquired whether a library district formed under K.S.A. 12-1236 et seq., may include townships in more than one county. The express language of K.S.A. 12-1236 appears to permit such a district. However, other substantive provisions of the act refer to "the county within which such library district is located." Where provision is made for any action by the board of county commissioners or county clerk of only one county shall act, and that county will be that in which the district is located. For example, the sufficiency of a petition is to be determined only "by the board of county commissioners." K.S.A. 12-1236 states in part thus:

"The board of county commissioners of the county in which such proposed library district is located shall, at its regular meeting following the filing of such petition, examine said petition and determine its sufficiency."

Numerous similar provisions may be cited, as instances wherein the act contemplates that a district created thereunder shall be located in but one county. On March 14, 1969, the office of Attorney General Kent Frizzell so advised a Mr. Stephens, then State Librarian, in response to a letter dated March 6, 1969, concluding that townships located in the territory of more than one county may not form a library district under the authority of K.S.A. 12-1236.

- Quoted from Kansas Public Library Laws, Attorney General’s Opinions and Rules and Regulations, State Library of Kansas, March 1979.


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