Massachusetts Public Library Trustees Handbook
Table of Contents
- Supplemental Public Library Funding: MBLC Policy Statement
- Public Library Trust Funds: MBLC Policy Statement
- Establishing a Public Trust or Foundation
- Selected Fundraising Terms
- Friends of Libraries
- Fundraising Committee Responsibilities
- Hiring a Fundraising Consultant
- Bond Issues and Overrides
- Nonprofit Incorporation
"Massachusetts cities and towns have a responsibility to ensure that residents have access to public library services.
The city or town public library is essential to community life. Through the modest investment which the public library represents, a community has access to books and other library materials which are necessary to support education, economic development, and personal growth. Public libraries offer access to their collections and services for all members of the community without regard to race, citizenship, age, educational level, economic status, or any other qualification or condition. In every city and town, public libraries are essential to ensuring equal opportunity and the free exchange of ideas which is critical to a democracy.
As the forms of information change and expand, the challenge of making the widest possible range of information accessible to all increases. In today's emerging information society the need for municipalities to provide adequate public library service is greater than ever. Without municipal financial support for public library services, residents would be denied access to books and other library materials that make education, economic and personal growth possible, support equality of access to information, and maintain our democratic society.
In acknowledging the responsibility of cities and towns to make public library services available to community residents, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners also recognizes that many libraries utilize supplemental funding sources to enhance and enrich public library service. Supplemental funding sources include: individual or corporate gifts given directly to the library; funds from local library trusts, foundations, or endowments; funds raised by friends of the library; and grant awards from state and federal governments or private foundations.
These sources help finance enhanced collections, new technologies, expanded or renovated facilities, enriched library programming, and innovative demonstration projects. Supplemental funding may also play a key role in supporting municipal funding initiatives, but cannot replace funds allocated annually by a city or town for public library service.
In light of the great need for enhancement and enrichment of library services in every community, large or small, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners encourages every public library in the commonwealth to develop and utilize supplemental funding sources.
The development of supplemental funding sources should be specified within the framework of the library's long range plan, and the use of supplemental funding should always support the library's goals and objectives."
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
Policy Approved October 6, 1994
Most public libraries in Massachusetts are funded primarily through municipal appropriations. This source of funding usually covers essential service costs such as personnel, purchase of library materials, and maintenance of the library property. The majority of public libraries also derive income from trusts and endowments, capital campaigns to fund specific major projects, and donations from private citizens and corporations. Many libraries are fortunate to have Friends of the Library groups which help with funding to enhance library services. Some libraries have an established foundation which conducts major fund raising on behalf of the library.
There are many organizations which can provide supplemental funding sources to the library. The common element among these various organizations is the desire to assist the library board in its duty to provide adequate funding for the library, and the willingness to put in a great deal of effort in realizing their goals. Fundraising is a time consuming and never ending responsibility, but the rewards are great and often quite visible. A new library building, an expanded and improved children's collection, a renovated public meeting room, or a new wing to the library are all examples of projects in which the community can take great pride.