CHAPTER 202

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 71, TITLE 14, DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO FREE PUBLIC LIBRARIES.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (three-fourths of all the Members elected to each House concurring therein):

Section 1. Subchapter I, Chapter 71, Title 14, Delaware Code, is amended to read:

SUBCHAPTER I. LIBRARY COMMISSION FOR

THE STATE OF DELAWARE

§ 7101. Continuation, composition, appointment, qualifications, terms and vacancies

The Library Commission for the State of Delaware hereinafter referred to as "Commission" in this Chapter, is continued. It shall consist of 9 members who shall be appointed by the Governor for the term of 3 years commencing on the 22nd day of May in the year of appointment. No member shall be reappointed to serve more than 3 consecutive terms. Three members shall be appointed in each year. Each vacancy on the Commission occurring prior to the expiration of a term shall be filled by the Governor for the unexpired term and until a successor is appointed.

§ 7102. Compensation of members

No member shall receive any salary or compensation for his services as a Commissioner.

§ 7103. Officers

The Commission shall elect annually one of its members to be President. The librarian employed by the Commission shall serve as Secretary of the Commission, but shall have no vote or voice in the acts and proceedings of the Commission.

§ 7104. Librarian and assistants

The Commission shall employ a qualified librarian and may also employ such other assistants as shall be required for the performance of the Commission's work, who shall serve under such conditions as the Commission shall determine.

§ 7105. (Omitted)

§ 7106. Powers and duties

(a) The Commission shall have general supervision over all public libraries in this State established or maintained under the provisions of this Chapter; may require of all District Library Commissions created as provided in this Chapter such reports as may be deemed proper; shall certify to the State Treasurer that any library is entitled to State aid as provided in this Chapter; and shall have all further and other powers necessary and proper for the general supervision of the libraries. The Commission may provide library services to such extent as it deems advisable and funds shall permit; provide for the circulation and distribution of books and other reading matter; and do such other acts tending to encourage reading and the use of library materials as it deems expedient. The Commission shall have the power to enter into contracts for any library service with any other library or with any governmental unit.

(b) The Commission shall draw up and administer a plan for the extension and development of public library services in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Library Services Act (70 Stat. 293) or any other federal act pertaining to aid to public libraries. Any funds available to the State under the terms of federal acts shall be paid to the State Treasurer for the use of the Commission in accordance with the terms of the acts.

§ 7107. Rules and regulations

The Commission may make such rules and regulations as it may deem necessary to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.

§ 7108. Annual report

In the month of January in each year, the Commission shall make a report to the General Assembly of its activities and recommendations.

Section 2. Subchapter II, Chapter 71, Title 14, Delaware Code, is amended to read:

SUBCHAPTER II. DISTRICT LIBRARIES

§ 7121. Definitions

As used in this subchapter--

(a) "School District" means all kind of school districts in this State, including those that are special school districts and those that are not special school districts.

(b) "Board" means local Board of Education or local Board of School Trustees.

§ 7122. (Omitted)

§ 7123. Establishment and maintenance of free public library

Any School District in this State may establish and maintain a free public library, with or without reading room, provided either, that such establishment be approved at an election as provided in this chapter, or that funds for the maintenance and support of the library be donated or guaranteed as provided in Section 7135 of this Title.

§ 7124. Classification of School Districts

(a) For the purpose of this subchapter, all the School Districts in this State are classified as follows:

(1) Every school district with a school population of 1,800 or more shall be deemed a district of the first class.

(2) Every district with a population less than 1,800 but not less than 1,000, shall be deemed a district of the second class.

(3) Every district with a population of less than 1,000 shall be deemed a district of the third class. The school population shall be determined from figures certified by the State Board of Education to the Commission.

§ 7125. Election to establish library

Every board shall submit the question as to the establishment of a free public library in the School District under the jurisdiction of the Board to the qualified electors of the school district, at a special election to be called by the Board whenever petitioned so to do by 20 or more electors of the district, or by the District Library Commission duly appointed as provided in Section 7136 of this Title. Such special election shall be called by the Board for a day not later than 60 days after the submission of the petition to the Board.

§ 7126. Notice of election

(a) The Board shall give notice of the day, place and purpose of the special election by printed or written advertisements posted in at least five public places in the School District at least ten days prior to the day of the election.

() In case the Board shall neglect or refuse to give such notice, any qualified elector of the district may do so and the notice so given shall be as effectual as though given by the Board.

§ 7127. Election procedure

The Board shall appoint the persons to conduct the election, but if the Board shall neglect or refuse to make the appointment, the electors assembled at the polls may do so. All persons in the School District eligible to vote at a school election in the School District shall be eligible to vote at such election. The voting shall be by paper ballot, on which shall be written or printed the words "for a free library" and the words "against a free library". A majority of the votes cast at such election shall determine the question. The persons conducting the election shall certify the result of the election to the Board of the district.

§ 7128. Subsequent elections

If a majority of the ballots cast shall be against the establishment of a free library, the question as to such establishment may again be submitted at special elections to be called as provided in this subchapter, provided that not more than one special election for such purpose shall be called in any one school district in any one year.

§ 7129. Taxation to establish and maintain libraries

(a) If at any election, the qualified electors shall, in the manner provided in this subchapter, declare in favor of the establishment of a free library in the School District, the Board of the School District in which the election was held shall levy and raise by taxation, in each year, for the purpose of the establishment of such a library therein, and for the maintenance, increase and support of the library, such sum of money as the District Library Commission of the district shall certify to the Board as proper or necessary for the expenses of the library for the year in which such sum is to be levied and raised, provided that the sum so certified shall be not less than $1,000 nor more than $45,000 if the School District be a district of the first class; not less than $500 nor more than $10,000 if the School District be a district of the second class; and not less than $250 nor more than $5,000 if the School District be a district of the third class. The class to which the School District belongs shall be determined by the classification as set forth in Section 7124 of this Title.

(b) All sums authorized to be levied and raised by taxation under this chapter shall be levied, raised and collected as provided in this Chapter.

§ 7130. Assessment list and capitation tax

The Board shall cause to be made from the assessment records of the county in which the district is located a list of all the taxables of the district showing the property assessed against such taxables and the assessment of such property. There may be also added a capitation tax on all persons 21 years of age and upwards, residing in the district, of such amount as shall be determined by the Board.

§ 7131. Assessment list; posting, hearing and correction

A copy of the assessment list shall be posted in a public place of the district for inspection, and the Board shall advertise such posting in at least 5 public places in the district, giving notice that such list is posted and where, and the day, hour and place (not less than 5 days thereafter) of its sitting to hear objections. Upon such hearing, the Board shall make such corrections and additions as shall be right and proper.

§ 7132. Tax rate

Upon the completion of the assessment, the Board shall fix the rate sufficient to raise the amount determined to be raised at the time with an addition of 10 percent added thereto for delinquencies and costs of collection. The Board shall then execute and deliver its warrant, with a duplicate of the assessment list, to the collector specially appointed by the Board.

§ 7133. Collector of library tax

A collector shall be appointed by the Board and shall be required to give such bond as shall be required by the Board. The Board may appoint as such collector the official whose duty it is to collect county taxes in the county wherein the district is situated, and in such case, such official shall act as the collector for the district. In collecting the tax, the collector shall proceed in the manner and have all the powers of the collector of county taxes. He shall pay over all monies collected by him to the Board, as collected, and shall finally account to the Board when required to do so. The Board shall, in such final accounting, allow such delinquencies and errors as are right and proper to be allowed and shall pay such collector a proper compensation for his services. The monies raised by such levy shall be paid over to the treasurer of the District Library Commission of the district.

§ 7134. Failure to perform duty; penalty; jurisdiction

(a) Whoever, being a collector appointed by any Board or being a member of any Board, fails, neglects, or refuses to perform all or any of the duties imposed upon him by this chapter, shall be fined not less than $10 and not more than $100.

(b) Justices of the Peace shall have jurisdiction of offenses under this section.

§ 7135. Establishment of library; donation or guarantee

Whenever any Board shall be guaranteed, for the maintenance and support of a free public library in such School District, a sum equal to the minimum amount required to be raised by a district of its class under Section 7129 of this Title, for one year, the Board of such district shall declare a free public library to be established therein, and shall petition the resident Judge of the Superior Court of the State of Delaware for the county in which such School District is located to appoint a district library commission as provided in Section 7136 of this Title. Such guarantee may be by gift or devise of money or securities, or other valuable property, or by subscription lists, or by other plan approved by the Library Commission for the State of Delaware, provided that the guarantee has the sanction of the Commission.

§ 7136. District Library Commission; composition, appointment, term, and vacancies

(a) The general administration and supervision of each free public library established under the provisions of this chapter shall be vested in a District Library Commission which shall be composed of five members appointed from the residents of the School District wherein such library is established by the Resident Judge of the Superior Court of the State of Delaware for the county in which the School District is located. In case a district is located partly in each of two counties, the appointments shall be made alternately from the two counties by the Resident Judge of the county in which the greater number of residents of the School District live. Upon the establishment of a new library, the Resident Judge shall appoint one member for the term of one year, one member for the term of two years, one member for the term of three years, one member for the term of four years, and one member for the term of five years.

(b) The Resident Judge shall fill all vacancies in the District Library Commissions caused by the expiration of a term of office or otherwise. The term of office of a member of a District Library Commission shall be five years, and no person may be appointed to serve more than three consecutive terms. A vacancy occurring from any cause other than expiration of the term of office shall be filled by the Resident Judge for the unexpired term. The Library Commission for the State of Delaware shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Resident Judge in the appointment of District Library Commission members, and the Resident Judge shall make report of his appointments to the District Library Commission within 30 days thereof to the Library Commission of the State of Delaware. A District Library Commissioner may be removed from office by the Resident Judge of the Superior Court of the State of Delaware for the County in which said district is located, for misconduct, incapacity or neglect of duty. No one shall be appointed to a District Library Commission if he is or would be in any manner subject to its authority.

§ 7137. Officers of District Library Commission

A District Library Commission shall organize by electing annually from its members a president, secretary and treasurer. The secretary and treasurer may be one and the same person.

§ 7138. Meetings

The District Library Commission shall meet at least quarterly in each year. Failure to hold four formal meetings shall at the option and request of the Library Commission for the State of Delaware, necessitate the appointment of a new District Library Commission as provided in Section 7136 of this Title. The District Library Commission may adopt a rule that the failure of any member to attend a specified number of meetings of the District Library Commission shall create a vacancy in the office of such member.

§ 7139. Librarian and other employees

The District Library Commission shall select a librarian and other employees necessary for the proper conduct of the library. The District Library Commission may fix the compensation of its employees.

§ 7140. Powers of District Library Commission

(c) The District Library Commission shall have the custody and management of the library and all property owned or leased, or donated, relating thereto. All money raised by the district or donated for the establishment and maintenance of its library, or paid by the State Treasurer, as provided in Section 7146 of this Title, shall be placed in the care and custody of the Commission to be expended or retained by the Commission for and in behalf of the district for the foundation and establishment, and for the maintenance and increase of its free public library.

(d) The District Library Commission may procure and maintain suitable quarters for the library with the consent of the Board, use any school room or rooms for that purpose; purchase or accept donations or gifts of printed matter; employ employees; and shall have such further and additional powers as may be necessary for the foundation and establishment, and the support and maintenance of a library.

(e) The District Library Commission shall have the power to take and hold in the name of the District Library Commission real and personal property by deed, devise, bequest, gift, grant, or otherwise, except by eminent domain, and to alien, sell, transfer and dispose of as an occasion may require, and the proceeds thereof to reinvest in other property, funds, or securities for the benefit of the District Library.

(d) The District Library Commission shall have the power to enter into contracts for any library service with any other library or with any governmental unit.

(e) All deeds of real estate and bill of sales and contracts shall be executed on behalf of the District Library Commission by the President and Secretary of the District Library Commission.

§ 7141. Reports

(a) The District Library Commission shall make a detailed report to the Board annually of all its receipts and expenditures, and of all the property of the district in its care and custody, including a statement of any unexpended balance of money and of any bequests or donations in behalf of the district, and of any sum or sums received from the State as provided in Section 7146 of this Title, with such recommendations as is deemed desirable.

(b) The District Library Commission shall also make such reports to the Library Commission of the State of Delaware as the Commission directs. The Library Commission for the State of Delaware may withhold certification for State aid to a District Library Commission, unless such reports are rendered.

§ 7142. Rules and regulations

The District Library Commission may make such rules and regulations for the conduct of the persons employed by it, and for the care and use of the books, newspapers, magazines and reviews in the library by the persons having authority to use the library, and also concerning the conduct and deportment of all persons while in or about the library or reading room, as the Commission shall or may from time to time deem proper and advisable. The use of the library and reading room or the contents thereof shall be free to the district, or to any person outside the district who owns real estate assessable for the school of the district. The rules and regulations made by the Commission may be enforced by a suitable penalty including fines as may be set by the Commission.

§ 7143. Penalties for infraction of rules and regulations

(c) The District Library Commission may suspend the privileges of the library for any infraction of its rules and regulations, including non-payment of fines.

(d) All fines collected shall be used as other money of which the District Library Commission has the custody and care as provided in Section 7140 of this Title.

§ 7144. Non-resident's use of library

In addition to its other powers, the District Library Commission may permit persons living without the corporate limits of the district, to enjoy and use the library or library and reading room exactly as though residents of the district, upon the payment to the Commission for the use of the library of such fee or fees as the Commission deems proper.

§ 7145. Consolidation of districts

Any two or more School Districts may unite for the purpose of obtaining the benefits of this chapter. Whenever any Board or two or more districts shall be petitioned therefor by at least five qualified electors thereof, the Board shall arrange with the Board of any other of the districts for the holding of a special election to determine the question of consolidation. At such election, any person who would be eligible to vote at a school board election in any of the districts proposed to be consolidated shall be entitled to vote at the special elections. If a majority of the votes cast shall be in favor of uniting and establishing a free library for the districts, the consolidation shall be effected. The districts consolidated shall then be a single district for the purposes of this chapter, and the total school population in the consolidated districts shall be used to determine the class to which the consolidated district belongs.

§ 7146. State funds for library purposes

(a) Whenever the Library Commission for the State of Delaware certifies to the State Treasurer that any School District in this State has established a free public library therein, and has raised by taxation, subscription, gift or otherwise, a sum not less than the minimum sum prescribed by Section 7129 of this Title for the class to which such district belongs, for the support and maintenance of the library for the year then next ensuing such establishment, the State Treasurer shall pay to the District Library Commission of any such School District a sum equal to one-half of the sum certified by the Library Commission for the State of Delaware. Each year thereafter, the State Treasurer shall pay to the District Library Commission a sum equal to one-half of the sum certified to the State Treasurer by the Library Commission for the State of Delaware as having been raised by taxation, subscription, gift or otherwise during the year, in which the State Treasurer is to make such payment for the maintenance and increase of the library for such year. The State Treasurer shall not in any one year pay to any District Library Commission any sum in excess of $3,000 if the district belongs to the first class, nor in excess of $1,500 for a district of the second class, not in excess of $1,000 for a district of the third class. All such sums, paid to any District Library Commission by the State Treasurer, shall be expended by such District Library Commission for books. A list of such books must be submitted before purchase to the Library Commission for the State of Delaware for approval. If any District Library Commission neglects or refuses to expend all monies received by such District Library Commission from the State Treasurer for books approved by the Library Commission for the State of Delaware, then and in such event the Library Commission for the State of Delaware may refuse to issue a certificate to the State Treasurer for any further or other payment to the District Library Commission neglecting or refusing as aforesaid.

(b) The payments shall be made quarterly in four equal installments. Each payment shall be made on certification of the Library Commission for the State of Delaware.

§ 7147. Dover Library

The District Library Commission as established in the Dover Special School District is continued. Its members shall be appointed as other District Library Commissions.

§ 7148. Corbit Library

The free library known as the "Corbit Library" provided for under Chapter CCCCXVI of Volume 11 of the Laws of Delaware shall continue to be School District Library for the purpose of receiving all benefits provided in Section 7146 of this Title. For the purpose of ascertaining what appropriation the library shall receive under such section from the State Treasurer, the Corbit Library shall be taken to be a library established under the provisions of this Chapter in a School District of the third class. In all other respects the Corbit Library shall remain and continue as though this Chapter had not been passed.

Section 3. Section 7163, Title 14, Delaware Code, is amended to read:

§ 7163. Submission of resolution to voters

The District Library Commission shall submit the question of the approval or rejection of the resolution to the qualified voters of the district at a special election called for the purpose.

Section 4. The provisions of this Act shall not affect the right of any appointee to complete the term of office to which he was appointed prior to the effective date of this Act.

Approved December 23, 1963.