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Iowa bill gives city councils more control over public libraries. CB mayor calls it 'not a best practice'

Malvern Library screenshot
Posted at 6:30 PM, Feb 08, 2024

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — There have been several library-related bills introduced in the Iowa legislature this year. House Study Bill 678 would give city councils more control over public libraries and library boards.


Who picks the books in your library? Your neighborhood library could undergo massive changes if Iowa passes legislation to shift public library oversight from library boards to city councils.

I’m your southwest Iowa neighborhood reporter, Katrina Markel in Council Bluffs.

Legislation to put city councils in charge of public libraries, instead of volunteer library boards appointed by the council, moved forward in the house on Thursday.

The Iowa Library Association says the move would reduce the independence of local libraries.

The Iowa Library Association stated, in part: “The bill would allow councils to restructure appointed library boards and shift all policy making, collection development, and operational control to city councils.”

Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh isn’t a fan of the proposed change: “To put total control under the city council when they’ve got plenty on their plate already is, in my estimation, not a best practice.”

The bill was moved forward from a subcommittee hearing Thursday morning. We’ll follow it as it advances.

In Council Bluffs, your Southwest Iowa reporter, Katrina Markel