Through the work of the Montana State Library (MSL) the 2001 Legislature passed legislation that allowed for the creation of Public Library Districts codified as Montana Code Annotated 22-1-7. Public library districts are established through the electoral process and include dedicated mill levies to provide funding to support the operation of the districts. It is because library districts have the ability to generate dedicated funding that can be more secure and, can therefore offer more services to their patrons, that they are strongly encouraged by MSL.
In 2005, Stevensville created the first public library district known as the North Valley Library District. Since then several public library districts and one multi-jurisdictional library district have been formed, all in Western Montana.
While Montana has had its share of successful public library district campaigns (most recently in May with the creation of the Ronan District Library), over the past 12 years, the library community and MSL staff have identified problematic sections of Montana Code that make the creation and/or administration of public library districts challenging. With the aid of those most experienced with library districts, the Montana State Library seeks to evaluation potential improvements to the code that may be presented to the 2015 Legislature.