Director Beth Fox watches as the Texas Legislature votes to create library districts in 1997.
Library districts in Texas may be created by the vote of community residents in areas without a municipal public library under provisions of Local Government Code 326 (SB 1674, 1997).
Library districts operate within defined geographical boundaries and are supported by a percentage of local sales and use tax. They are stand-alone governmental entities, political subdivisions of the state, and special purpose districts.
Library districts are governed by a five-member unpaid elected Board of Trustees who serve two-year staggered terms. Elections are called once a year, but they may be cancelled if candidates are unopposed. Most library districts have paid staff to run their libraries and a Director who oversees all aspects of operation.
Library districts are subject to the Open Meetings Act, the Public Information Act, the Public Funds Investment Act, and various other laws pertaining to ethics, elections, purchasing, and employment.
Westbank Community Library District, created in 1998, was the first library district in Texas. There are currently 15. Library districts meet twice per year to share information and undertake trainings.