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A library district is an independent taxing district that provides library services for the people living within its boundaries. A district may choose to contract for services with an existing library, or create an independent district library.
With a desire to ensure library access to county residents, the Bonneville County Library District was created in May of 1980. County residents voted to fund library services through a household fee in 1981; this fee was then used to secure a service contract with the Idaho Falls Public Library to provide library access for all county residents.
For the last 40 years, a service contract has existed between the district and the city library, except for one year in 2003 when an agreement on the fee could not be reached.
During contract negotiations for the new 2022 contract, IFPL trustees proposed that the district would need to pay a percentage of the IFPL budget proportional to the amount of circulation used by county residents. In 2022, county residents account for 43% of all library circulation; a 43% fee of the budget would be $1,960,000 each year, increasing annually as the county grows and their circulation increases.
District trustees felt that nearly doubling the county household fee from $61.50 to $110 and raising the annual payment from $1,100,000 to $1,960,000 in one year was not reasonable. Trustees also feel that with county numbers steadily increasing, it is time to have ownership of materials and resources, jurisdiction over the location of branches, and general decision-making power in running library services. Therefore, district trustees voted in May 2022 to not renew the service contract with IFPL and to begin running the Bonneville County Libraries independently.