In Wisconsin, libraries are primarily funded through taxes. Bekkum Library receives the greater part of our funding from the City of Westby. We also receive funds from Vernon, Monroe & Crawford Counties as well as a yearly amount from the State. (A small part of our income is from fines we collect, or the used books for sale at our entrance.)
How do you receive money from the county?
Wisconsin State Statute 43.12 requires Counties whose township residents use a municipal library to reimburse that library for the use. Counties are required to reimburse libraries in their own county as well as all adjacent counties, except those with a consolidated county library. In order for this to work, the Library is responsible for keeping accurate usage statistics (this is one reason we ask you where you live!) and reporting these statistics in an Annual Report to the State of Wisconsin-Department of Public Instruction. These statistics are also then reported to the county in which the library resides as well as each adjacent county where reimbursement is sought.
The nonresident reimbursement figures are determined by dividing the total operating expenditures reported by the library (minus capital and federal funding) by the total annual number of items the library checked out in the same year. That gives the library a Unit Cost, or cost to circulate one library item. That Unit Cost is then multiplied by the number of check-outs to nonresidents in each county. State statues require that counties reimburse municipal libraries for 70% of that cost. The county clerk may request access to all documents and records used to determine reimbursement figures.
For example, in 2014, Bekkum Library checked out 54,431 items to our customers, and our Operating Expenses totaled $ 132,212, giving us a unit cost of $2.429. We had 27,398 check-outs to non-residents: 27,398 x 2.429=66,549.742 Multiply 66,549.742 by 70% and you get $46,585.00 (rounded) which is the amount of money Bekkum Library will receive from County governments in 2016. Most of this is from Vernon County.