In 1965, acting on the idea of State Librarian of Kansas, LeRoy Fox, to levy a tax on rural property in exchange for providing library services to rural residents, the Kansas Legislature established seven regional systems of cooperating libraries. In 1967, a group of active citizens, who had been working together since the System legislation had been passed, hired the first CKLS Administrator, and the System program was underway. From that time, through successive changes in administration and staff, CKLS has grown and developed, never losing sight of the purposes for which it was created.
The System is like a municipality, as such it has the authority to levy property taxes for the support of the System. The System tax is levied on property that is not otherwise taxed for the support of a local public library in 16 counties. The board of the Central Kansas Library System consists of 54 members appointed by the boards of local public libraries and 16 members appointed by the governor from the rural areas of the counties that levy the system tax. This board meets twice a year to conduct the business of the System, to approve the budget, any resolutions, the System Plan, and elect members to the Executive Committee. The Executive committee meets monthly at various System library locations, to conduct the general business of the System.