Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1955 No. 131 -
Attorney General Don Eastvold


1. Regional Libraries may erect a library building on lands owned by a city.

2. Regional Libraries may contract with a city to build a building to be jointly occupied.

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                                                                 August 30, 1955

Miss Maryan E. Reynolds
State Librarian
Temple of Justice
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 131

Dear Miss Reynolds:

            You have requested the advice of this office on the following questions:

            1. Does a Regional Library made up of a city and an inter-county [[intercounty]]rural library district have the authority to erect a building on property owned by the city?  The funds for such a building would be raised by the inter-county [[intercounty]]rural library district and the city.

            2. Does a Regional Library have the authority to combine funds with the city to provide a combined city hall and public library building?  Funds are to be raised by the inter-county [[intercounty]]library district and the city.

            In our opinion both questions must be answered in the affirmative.


            RCW 27.12.190 provides that the management of a library (Regional or other) shall be vested in a board of five trustees.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]   RCW 27.12.210 sets forth the powers and duties of the said trustees.  RCW 27.12.210 (2) provides:

            "Have the supervision, care, and custody of all property of the library, including the rooms orbuildings constructed, leased, or set apart therefor;" (Emphasis added)

            Sub‑section (3) of said section provides

            "Lease, purchase, orerect an appropriate building for library purposes, and acquire such other property as may be needed therefor;" (Emphasis added)

            It is apparent from the statute that the trustees of a Regional Library do have the authority to construct a library building.

            Your attention is further invited to the language of RCW 27.12.080 which provides that when regional libraries are founded the agreement "must provide for the apportioning of expenses".  This is consistent with the plan appended to the statement of your first question.  The fact that the ground on which it is contemplated the library will be built is owned by the city involves no particular problem.  The rights of the Regional Library may be adequately protected by agreement between the library and the city since both are recognized entities.

            In considering the second question it is noted that both cities and regional libraries have the right to construct buildings for the purposes of carrying their official duties.  Since both are municipal and public corporations, such a combination of efforts would not involve a violation of the constitutional provision against the loaning of credit or money.  It is our opinion that a contract between the city and the regional library could be so drawn as to adequately protect the interests of both parties.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General