New Library Directors Handbook

Information Access Montana Act

State aid to public libraries is provided through the Information Access Montana Act (IAMA) passed by the Montana Legislature in 1989. The act is designed to broaden access to existing information by strengthening public libraries, augment and extend services provided by public libraries, and permit new types of library services based on local need. The Montana State Library Commission administers IAMA.

IAMA funds may not take the place of general operating funds. The law allows the Commission to withhold these funds when there is a reasonable link between the reduction in local funding and the receipt or expectation of IAMA funds. In such cases, the reduced funding from a mill levy or local government appropriation must be less than the average amount the library had received from these sources the preceding three fiscal years.

IAMA has four major components:

Per capita and per square mile. This aid is based on a population distribution formula. When Montana's population increases, the funds per person are less. These funds are distributed annually, and the local libraries receive the money by the end of September.

Statewide interlibrary resource-sharing program. The commission shall establish a statewide interlibrary resource-sharing program. The purpose of the program is to administer funds appropriated by the legislature to support and facilitate resource-sharing among libraries in Montana, including but not limited to public libraries, public library districts, libraries operated by public schools or school districts, libraries operated by public colleges or universities, tribal libraries, libraries operated by public agencies for institutionalized persons, and libraries operated by nonprofit, private medical, educational, or research institutions.

Statewide library access program. This section of the act gives the Commission the authority to develop a program whereby a participating library may allow access to the library's materials and services by patrons registered and in good standing with another library. This program was a recent addition to the Information Access Montana Act and has not been developed.

Base grants. Each public library receives a base grant to support the cooperative activities and services of the six library federations in the state. The federations may use the grants to fund projects that maintain or improve cooperative library services and activities, or they can pass the funds on to the individual public libraries to support the cooperative activities and services of the federation.