Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 2005 NO. 5 > Apr 5 2005

1.  A public library organized under RCW 27.12 may not charge “user fees” for public access to library materials.  2.  A public library has authority to assess and collect reasonable fines as a penalty for keeping loaned library material beyond its due date.

AGO 1992 NO. 31 > Dec 30 1992

1.  RCW 27.12.010 (3) defines library as a free public library supported in whole or in part with money derived from taxation.  RCW 27.12.270 provides that a library shall be free for the use of the inhabitants of the governmental unit in which it is located. 2.  With certain specific statutory exceptions a library cannot charge residents a fee for library services.  However, the library can charge a fee to nonresidents.  The library can also charge for nonlibrary services that are provided at the library as a convenience for the public.

AGO 1957 NO. 36 > Mar 20 1957

The trustees of the A. E. Larson Library trust fund for the benefit of the city of Yakima may expend monies from the fund for the rental of temporary library space and moving of books, while a new regional library is being constructed so long as the benefits accrue to the Yakima Public Library.

AGO 1959 NO. 66 > Sep 15 1959

Section 2, chapter 133, Laws of 1959, prohibiting public library board members from serving more than two consecutive terms applies to terms served prior to the effective date of the 1959 enactment.

AGLO 1973 NO. 67 > Jun 15 1973

(1) A person is not required to be an inhabitant of a rural county library district in order to serve as a member of a board of trustees thereof under the provisions of RCW 27.12.040.
(2) RCW 42.12.010 does not operate to cause a vacancy in the office of rural county library district trustee to exist where, by reason of the annexation of a portion of the district to an adjacent city or town, a particular library trustee ceases to be an inhabitant of the district.

AGO 1957 NO. 99 > Jul 17 1957

Publicly owned land within a library district is subject to the district tax levy beginning on the next assessment date following passage of title into private ownership, provided such land is not included within the corporate limits of a city on March 1 of the assessment year.

AGLO 1974 NO. 101 > Dec 2 1974

The board of trustees of a library district established pursuant to chapter 27.12 RCW has the power to dispose by sale of surplus property belonging to the library district.

AGO 1956 NO. 290 > Jun 26 1956

Existing state law presents no legal impediment to the location by the capitol committee of the proposed state library (1) on the site of the parking lot immediately south of the present Social Security Building, or (2) on one of the lots directly east of the Labor & Industries Building and west of Capitol Way.