State Aid to Public Libraries & ARIS Web Blog

Does [fill in the blank] count as a materials expenditure and where do I report it on the ARIS form??

We get a lot of questions  as to whether this resource or that resource counts towards the materials expenditure requirement used to factor State Aid to Public Libraries. As we receive items from libraries around the state, Dianne and I have been 1) working to clarify whether the resource is or is not a materials expenditure and 2) determine where they best fit into the ARIS Holdings, ARIS Circulations and Financial Report categories.

Please Note: Not all the resources listed below count as a material expenditure and this list will be in effect beginning in 2013.

I’ve attached the list as an Excel file below.

Electronic Resources and Material Expenditure Requirement (Excel file)

Please let Liz Babbitt, liz.babbitt@state.ma.us (617)725-1860 x227  know if you have questions about these or other resources. I would be happy to add to the list.

This post was written by lbabbitt on June 10, 2013

Does it really take three years to get re-certified in the State Aid program?

We are sometimes asked if it takes three years to get re-certified in the State Aid program.

I am not quite certain where this time table originated, but I imagine it has something to do with the calculation of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) — the average of the prior three municipal appropriations to the library, plus 2 1/2 percent.

The answer to how long it takes to become certified again after lapsing depends on the reason that the municipality and its library were not certified as meeting the statutory and regulatory requirements in the State Aid program, and for how long.

  • If a library closes due to a decimated or eliminated budget from the city or town and is certified in the State Aid program at the time, the municipality is, as of the date of the closing of the library, decertified in the program.  The library must then be open a full fiscal year (assuming it meets all of the other requirements) before being eligible to again apply for State Aid to Public Libraries.  So, depending on the timing and duration of the closure, it could be 1 or more years.
  • If a library applies for a waiver of the MAR and is denied by the Board of Library Commissioners, the municipality and its library will not be certified as of the date of denial (the February Board meeting).  The library will be eligible to apply for State Aid in the next fiscal year as long as the other requirements are being met.  If a waiver of the MAR is again applied for, that application will be assessed by the Board at their January meeting and an action taken at their February board meeting.  If no MAR waiver is needed, the municipality and its library could be certified as soon as the first Board meeting at which municipalities are certified, November.

So, as you can see, it really depends on the reason for the loss of certification in the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

Please feel free to contact Dianne Carty or Liz Babbitt with any questions regarding the State Aid to Public Libraries Program.

This post was written by lbabbitt on March 15, 2013

If my library receives a waiver of the MAR, are we certified?

This is another oft asked question.

The short answer is, yes.

The waiver of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) is exactly that, a waiver of that statutory requirement for the current fiscal year within the guidelines approved by the Board of Library Commissioners, see  Determining Eligibility for a Waiver of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) Policy for the appropriate fiscal year, on the agency website page: Policies of the State Aid Program.

When the Board of Library Commissioners votes to approve waivers of the MAR (annually at their January Board meeting), the municipalities are then certified as meeting the statutory and regulatory requirements of the State Aid to Public Libraries program and awarded state aid to public libraries.

 

This post was written by lbabbitt on March 15, 2013

Why is the Municipal Appropriation Requirement an increase of 2 1/2% over the prior year?

Another point of confusion for some librarians.  The Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) is not an increase of 2 1/2% over the prior year’s budget.

The statutory Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) for the State Aid to Public Libraries Program is calculated as follows:

  • the prior 3 fiscal years’ appropriations to the library for operating (capital has always been excluded) are added together
  • the average of this sum is taken
  • the average is then multiplied by 1.025 to arrive at 2 1/2% over the three year average

Therefore, for each city and town the MAR is individualized and based on historical funding by the municipality for the provision of library services to the residents of the community.  It does not require a 2 1/2% increase over the prior year’s appropriation.

This post was written by lbabbitt on March 15, 2013

State Aid Awards–Actual versus Cherry Sheet

There are three awards that make up state aid to public libraries, Library Incentive Grant (LIG), Municipal Equalization Grant (MEG) and Non Resident Circulation Offset (NRC).

Each award has a different disbursement calculation:

  • The Library Incentive Grant is a straight per capita award
  • The Municipal Equalization Grant is based on the lottery formula

MEG  =   [( X/Y *  X ) /   ∑   ( X/Y * X)]  * SEG

MEG     = Municipal Equalization Grant for any given municipality
X          = municipal population as percent of state population
Y          = Municipal Equalized Valuation as percent of statewide equalization
∑          = sum of
SEG     = statewide equalization grant (total funds available for distribution)
For more details please see :  Municipal Equalization Grant (MEG) Disbursement Formula -Definition and formula of MEG  on http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/faqs/index.php

 

  • The Nonresident Offset is based on the number of eligible non-resident transactions reported by libraries on the ARIS, resulting in a per transaction amount.  Because the CSE is forward looking, the per transaction amount from the prior year award is used.

Each year either the population estimate or actual census is used.  Each year the population and equalized valuation (EQV) can change.  Each year the number of nonresident transactions that are reported does change and consequently the per transaction amount.  The MBLC is required to use the population and EQV numbers released by the DOR.

For FY2013 CSE, the 2010 census and the 2010 EQV was used.  For FY2014 CSE, the 2010 census and the 2012 EQV was used.  For FY2013 CSE, $0.1279 per NRC transaction  and for FY2014 CSE, $0.1261 per NRC transaction was used.

In October of each year, the NRC per transaction amount is updated from the CSE amount after the ARIS  nonresident data is verified. When a municipality and its library are certified, the actual award based on the three disbursement formulas is made and if any money is left in the state aid pot at the end of the round, it is redistributed to certified municipalities and their libraries.  For the last several years, the agency has divided each state aid payment into two based on the periodic allotment of state aid given to the MBLC.  The first is sent after the municipality and its library are first certified and the second is sent when we receive the rest of our allotment, usually in April.

Thus, not only will the CSE vary from year to year, but the actual award will vary from the CSE.  That is why the term ‘cherry sheet estimate’ is used.

 

This post was written by lbabbitt on January 30, 2013

Reference Transactions/Questions on the ARIS

We have had several questions about reporting reference transactions/questions on the ARIS.  Because we report this data to IMLS for the national data collection project, we use their definition:

A reference transaction is an information contact which involves the knowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction in the use of one or more information sources by a member of the library staff. It includes information and referral services. Information sources include printed and non-printed materials, machine-readable databases, catalogs and other holdings records, and, through communication or referral, other libraries and institutions and people inside and outside the library. The request may come in person, by phone, by fax, or by mail, electronic mail, or through live or networked electronic reference service from an adult, a young adult, or a child.
Do not count directional transactions or questions of rules or policies. Examples of directional transactions are “Where are the children’s books?” and “I’m looking for a book with the call number 811.2G.” An example of a question of rules or policies is “Are you open until 9:00 tonight?

We ask that you use your professional judgment as to whether a transaction fits this definition or not.  The important piece to remember is consistency for your own measurement from year to year.

Here is another national version of the definition from NISO:

An information contact that involves the knowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction in the use of one or more information sources by a member of the library staff. The term includes information and referral service.

Information sources include:

  1. Printed and nonprinted materials.
  2. Machine-readable databases (including computer-assisted instruction).
  3. The library’s own catalogs and other holdings records.
  4. Other libraries and institutions through communication or referral.
  5. Persons both inside and outside the library.

When a staff member uses information gained from previous use of information sources to answer a question, the request is reported as an information request even if the source is not consulted again. (Also known as Reference Transaction).

Note: It is essential that libraries do not include directional transactions in the report of reference transactions. A directional transaction is an information contact that does not involve knowledge, use, recommendation, interpretation, or instruction in the use of any information sources other than those that describe the library, such as schedules, floor plans, handbooks, and policy statements. Examples of directional transactions include giving instruction for locating, within the library, staff, library users, or physical features, and giving assistance of a non-bibliographical nature with machines.

 

This post was written by lbabbitt on January 18, 2013

FY2014 Budget Tips for State Aid to Public Libraries Program

As you enter into preparations for submission of your FY2014 budgets to municipal officials, here are a few activities to keep in mind:

  • Calculate your library’s FY2014 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR)
  • Calculate your library’s Materials Expenditure Requirement
  • Review all of the requirements for State Aid to Public Libraries
  • Review the State Aid to Public Libraries FY2014 Administrative Policies
  • If any line items in your library appropriation from the city/town have been moved to another town department for FY2014 (e.g., utilities are no longer in the town’s appropriation to the library) contact Dianne Carty or Liz Babbit for help adjusting your requirement.

Any and all questions are welcomed.

dianne.carty@state.ma.us

liz.babbitt@state.ma.us

617-725-1860 or 1-800-952-7403 (in-state)

This post was written by lbabbitt on December 7, 2012

Calculating Your Municipal Appropriation Requirement

This is the time of year when everyone is beginning to focus on the budget for the next fiscal year.  Many librarians have contacted us to verify their calculations for FY2014.

It is a simple process to calculate your MAR, but you should always feel free to contact me or Liz for help or to verify your numbers.

For FY2014 you will use the numbers for FY2011, FY2012 and FY2013.  The key point to remember is that “the” number that you will use is one of 2 numbers for each year.

For each fiscal year there are 2 numbers that you should have:

  • the actual appropriation to the library by the town and
  • the requirement for that year, the MAR.

You will use whichever number is higher for each year.

If you look on page 2 (the MAR worksheet) of the State Aid Application that you just completed and submitted to us:

  • the number to use for FY2011 will be on line B
  • the number to use for FY2012 will be on line E
  • the number to use for FY2013 will be on line I if you did not need a waiver for FY2013, or on line H if you did need to apply for a waiver of the MAR.

Now, all you need to do is this:

  • total the 3 numbers for FY2011, FY2012 and FY2013
  • divide the total by 3 to obtain the average of the 3 years
  • multiply the resulting number by 1.025 to obtain the average plus 21/2%, this is your FY2014 MAR

You should not hesitate to ask questions of me (dianne.carty@state.ma.us) or Liz Babbit (liz.babbitt@state.ma.us) or call us at 1-800-952-7403.

This post was written by lbabbitt on December 7, 2012

I have set up an Amazon Wish List for our library. If we receive donations via that route, does that count as part of our materials expenditure requirement? It would seem so to me since it is also a gift, but before I inform the public I would like to be sure.

According to the requirements the money must be part of your budget and the library must expend it.  In-kind book donations have never been allowed.  If you can report the donations to Amazon as non-appropriated gift income to your budget, then you can count the expenditures towards meeting the materials expenditure requirement.

Remember, that all expenditures must be reflected in your budget as operating income.

This post was written by lbabbitt on October 17, 2012

FY2013 MAR Waivers

Under statute and FY2013 budget language, the Board is authorized to grant as many waivers of the MAR as needed for one year “upon demonstration of fiscal hardship.”

The Board considers a reduction in the library budget beyond 10% when compared to the municipal budget to indicate that a significant gap exists between library funding and funding of other departments.  This gap signals the beginning of erosion of library services for residents of the community.

Continued reductions in a library’s budget seriously impair services provided to all residents of the community and create a challenge for the community and its library of regaining lost ground.

The State Aid to Public Libraries program is an integral part of the Board of Library Commissioners responsibility to support, develop, coordinate, improve and promote library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board also strives to provide every resident of the Commonwealth with full and equal access to library information resources regardless of geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background.

 

This post was written by lbabbitt on September 17, 2012

FY2013 Waiver Process

For those of you applying for a waiver of the FY2013 MAR:

  • The Petition for a Waiver of the MAR is due with a postmark of October 12, 2012.
  • The absolute postmark deadline is November 9, 2012 for the remaining four items of your MAR waiver application.
  1. Disproportionate Cut Worksheet-to be completed by the town accountant or treasurer.
  2. Supporting municipal budget document(s), listing the FY2012 and FY2013 total operating and departmental budgets for the municipality.  This can be a top level summary spreadsheet–it does not have to be the entire budget.  This documentation provides back-up for the numbers reported on the Disproportionate cut Worksheet.
  3. Letter from the library describing the budget process. The letter can be from the library director or trustee chair, or both.
  4. Letter from the municipality describing the budget process.  The letter can be from any municipal official-finance committee member, select person, etc.

Regardless of how close your municipality comes to meeting the FY2013 MAR, if your municipality is not meeting the FY2013 MAR, by statute your municipality and library must apply for a waiver of the FY2013 MAR.

Even if the library has not been disproportionately cut,  a complete MAR waiver application must still be submitted.

Only those waiver applicants where the library’s budget was cut 10 percentage points or more beyond any change in the town’s budget need appear before the Board at its January 3, 2013 meeting.  If the gap is between 5% and 9.99%, the town and the library are not required to appear before the Board of Library Commissioners at its January 2013 meeting.

All waiver applicants will be informed about their status with regards to the 10% threshold when initial review of the applications is complete.

Here are a few key points to remember as you prepare your letters for the MAR waiver application and your in-person presentations for a Waiver of the FY2013 Municipal Appropriation Requirement to the Board of Library Commissioners.  Prior to the Board meeting in January, the Commissioners will receive a packet containing materials that you submitted with your petition.

Your letters/presentations should address the following key questions:

  •  How close are you to meeting the FY2013 MAR?
  • What efforts were made to meet this requirement?
  • Are there any extenuating circumstances about which the Commissioners should be aware?
  • Why should your municipality be granted a waiver of the FY2013 MAR?
  • How have library services been affected by reductions in the library’s budget?  In particular, hours of service and expenditures for materials.

Calendar of  the FY2013 State Aid to Public Libraries program:

  • October 12, 2012         Financial Form pdf, State Aid Application and MAR waiver petitions are due.
  • November 1, 2012      First group of municipalities meeting requirements will be presented to the Board and state aid awards will be made.
  • November 9, 2012       All submissions to complete FY2013 MAR waiver applications are due.
  • December 6, 2012        Second group of municipalities meeting requirements will be presented to the Board and state aid awards will be made.
  • January 2, 2013            A list of communities not certified for State Aid is available and updated at the end of the grant round.
  • January 3, 2013            All FY2013 MAR waiver applicants will be reviewed by the Board.  In-person presentations (above the 10 % threshold) will be made made.
  • February 7, 2013        The Board will act on FY2013 MAR waiver petitions.
  • March 7, 2013              The Board hears any appeals of denial of the FY2013 MAR waiver.
  • April 4, 2013                 The Board acts on any appeals of denial of the FY2013 MAR waiver.
  • FY2013 State Aid to Public Libraries program is completed.

Please feel free to contact me or Liz Babbitt (liz.babbitt@state.ma.us) if you have any questions.  Also, visit our website http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/index.php

This post was written by lbabbitt on August 16, 2012

Reporting Franklin NRC for ARIS 2012

Reporting Franklin NRC for ARIS 2012
We were recently asked how to count Franklin residents in regards to Non-resident Circulation Offset (NCR) statistics on the ARIS forms for 2012. As you recall, Franklin was denied a waiver by the Commission at the February 2nd meeting but granted a waiver at the April 5th meeting based on their March 2012 appeal.

The regulation (605 CMR 4.01 (6)) that defines the statute (MGL, c.78, s.19B(6)), states:
(b) ‘Extend privileges to the holders of cards issued by other public libraries in the Commonwealth on a reciprocal basis’ means that all public libraries participating in the direct state aid program must be willing, on a reciprocal basis, to extend direct access and services to non-residents who are card holders in other libraries participating in the state grant program and on the same basis as accorded to residents of the municipality in which the library is located.”

Based on the regulations, Libraries should attempt to remove the statistics for Franklin for the two months that Franklin was without certification from the numbers they report for NCR on the ARIS 2012 form.

Please let Dianne Carty dianne.carty@state.ma.us (617)725-1860 x222 or Liz Babbitt liz.babbitt@state.ma.us x227 with further questions.

This post was written by lbabbitt on June 18, 2012

Clarification: Materials Expenditure Requirement and Laptops, E-Readers…

I have heard rumblings that we can purchase and circulate laptops in the library and include the price as part of our materials requirement.  Is this the case?  Also, in the same vein, can eReaders also be included in this if we circulate them to the public?  Any info is appreciated.

Good question.

Materials purchased for circulation to library users count towards the materials expenditure requirement–so laptops that circulate and e-readers that circulate also count.

Clarification:  Please remember that laptops used by patrons in the library (even if “circulated”) instead of  a stationary computer are considered equipment.  If however, the laptops are circulated for use outside the library as other materials are, then the expense is a creditable materials expenditure.

As stated in the definitions for the Financial Report:

“Do not include equipment such as public use computers, copy machines, furniture, artwork that does not circulate, etc”

This post was written by lbabbitt on March 19, 2012

I have a question about the requirement to extend direct access and services to non-residents.

I am unclear on what, exactly, are considered “services.” Is programming a service? Are libraries allowed to restrict programs such as story hours to residents of their own towns? I have heard conflicting interpretations of this requirement.

This is a good question.

The regulation (605 CMR 4.01 (6)) that defines the statute (MGL, c.78, s.19B(6)), states:

(b) ‘Extend privileges to the holders of cards issued by other public libraries in the Commonwealth on a reciprocal basis’ means that all public libraries participating in the direct state aid program must be willing, on a reciprocal basis, to extend direct access and services to non-residents who are card holders in other libraries participating in the state grant program and on the same basis as accorded to residents of the municipality in which the library is located.

 Since 1972, the interpretation and application of this regulation on the statewide level has been that nonresidents from municipalities certified for state aid to public libraries cannot be charged for direct access and borrowing privileges or other services for which residents are not charged a fee.  In addition, nonresidents from certified communities may not be totally excluded from library programming.  Residents, however, may be given attendance preference.

Please remember, a library should have a Program Registration Policy that is approved by its Board of Trustees.

This post was written by lbabbitt on March 8, 2012

Does access count towards the materials expenditure requirement?

Question

Here’s the situation:  Our library received a grant to digitize our town’s newspaper; the digitization is from 1935 to 1990.  The digitized newspaper is now a database. The grant paid for the digitization and the installation as a database accessible from our website.  The grant does not cover the ongoing cost of hosting the database.

Therefore, here’s the question: Could the ongoing annual cost of hosting the database be considered part of the cost of materials for the purpose of meeting the materials requirement in our budget?

Answer

There two parts to this question.  The cost of digitizing and the ongoing access (hosting) cost.

As far as the materials expenditure requirement of the State Aid to Public Libraries program is concerned, all expenditures for materials, both physical and e-content, count towards meeting the requirement. Expenditures for access to materials do not count towards the expenditure requirement.

Please remember that expenditures for materials from all sources of income (municipal and other income) to the library can be used to meet this requirement.

 

This post was written by lbabbitt on December 21, 2011

FY2012 MAR Waiver Process

For those of you applying for a waiver of the FY2012 MAR:

  • The Petition for a Waiver of the MAR is due with a postmark of October 14, 2011.
  • The absolute postmark deadline is November 12, 2011 for the remaining four items of your MAR waiver application.
  1. Disproportionate Cut Worksheet–to be completed by the town accountant or treasurer.
  2. Supporting municipal budget document(s), listing the FY2011 and FY2012 total operating and departmental budgets for the municipality.  This can be a top level summary spreadsheet–it does not have to be the entire budget.  This documentation provides back-up for the numbers reported on the Disproportionate cut Worksheet.
  3. Letter from the library describing the budget process. The letter can be from the library director or trustee chair, or both.
  4. Letter from the municipality describing the budget process.  The letter can be from any municipal official–finance committee member, select person, etc.

Here are a few key points to remember as you prepare your letters and your in-person presentations for a Waiver of the FY2012 Municipal Appropriation Requirement to the Board of Library Commissioners.  Prior to the Board meeting in January, the Commissioners will receive a packet containing materials that you submitted with your petition.

Your letters/presentations should address the following key questions:

  •  How close are you to meeting the FY2012 MAR?
  • What efforts were made to meet this requirement?
  • Are there any extenuating circumstances about which the Commissioners should be aware?
  • Why should your municipality be granted a waiver of the FY2012 MAR?
  • How have library services been affected by reductions in the library’s budget?  In particular, hours of service and expenditures for materials.

Regardless of how close you come to meeting the FY2012 MAR, if you are not meeting the FY2012 MAR, by statute you must apply for a waiver of the FY2012 MAR.

Even if the library has not been disproportionately cut, you must still submit a complete MAR waiver application.

Only those waiver applicants where the library’s budget was cut 10 percentage points or more beyond any change in the town’s budget need appear before the Board at its January 5, 2012 meeting.  If the gap is between 5% and 9.99%, the town and the library are not required to appear before the Board of Library Commissioners at its January 2012 meeting.

All waiver applicants will be informed about their status with regards to the 10% threshold when initial review of the applications is complete.

Here is a calendar of events for the FY2012 State Aid to Public Libraries program:

  • October 14, 2011         Financial Form pdf, State Aid Application and MAR waiver petitions are due.
  • November 3, 2011      First group of municipalities meeting requirements will be presented to the Board and state aid awards will be made.
  • November 12, 2011    All submissions to complete FY2012 MAR waiver applications are due.
  • December 1, 2011        Second group of municipalities meeting requirements will be presented to the Board and state aid awards will be made.
  • January 3, 2012          A list of communities not certified for State Aid is available and updated at the end of the grant round.
  • January 5, 2012          All FY2012 MAR waiver applicants will be reviewed by the Board.  In-person presentations (above the 10 % threshold) will be made made.
  • February 2, 2012        The Board will act on FY2012 MAR waiver petitions.
  • March 1, 2012              The Board hears any appeals of denial of the FY2012 MAR waiver.
  • April 5, 2012                The Board acts on any appeals of denial of the FY2012 MAR waiver.
  • FY2012 State Aid to Public Libraries program is completed.

Please feel free to contact me or Ned Richards (ned.richards@state.ma.us) if you have any questions.  Also, visit our website http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/index.php

 

This post was written by lbabbitt on October 5, 2011

Income and Expenditures on the Financial Report–There seems to be some confusion…

The FY2012 State Aid Workshops concluded last week.  At all six of the statewide workshops we noticed some confusion about income and expenditures as reported on the online Financial Report.

Here is an explanation that I hope will be helpful.

INCOME 

All income reported on the Financial Report should only be income to the library–income that the library has control over and may expend. 

Operating 

Appropriated–Money appropriated by the municipality to the library for operations. Two sections: FY2011 and projected FY2012.

Non-Approrpiated–All other non-municipal sources of income to the library for operations. FY2011 only.

Capital

Appropriated–Money appropriated by the municipality to the library for capital.  FY2011 only.

Non-Appropriated–All other non-municipal sources of income to the library for capital. FY2011 only.

EXPENDITURES– during Fy2011 only

Operating expenditures

By the library from its total operating budget (Personnel, Materials, Other).  Sources of income include both appropriated and non-appropriated.

By another town department (Personnel, Other). Expenditures for Personnel and Other only if the money was not expended by the library but by another town department such as HR or DPW.

By the Friends, Foundation or Trustees (Materials only).  Expenditures for library materials by Friends, Foundations or Trustees on behalf of the library.  This section allows the library to count these expenditures to help with the materials expenditure requirement.

Capital Expenditures by the library only.

As always contact me, Dianne Carty, or Ned Richards if you have any questions.

 

This post was written by lbabbitt on October 4, 2011

FY2012 State Aid Payments

The FY2012 State Aid to Public Library payments will this year again be disbursed in two half payments.  The municipality and its library will receive half of the award after the Board of Library Commissions certifies the municipality and its library.  The second half will be disbursed in the Spring when the Board of Library Commissioners receives the final allotment of the State Aid appropriation.

State Aid applications and print copies of the Financial Report are due with a postmark of October 14th.

The first group of completed applications (libraries meeting all requirements) to be received and vetted at the agency will be presented to the Board of Library Commissioners for approval at their November 3, 2011 meeting.

If all applications (libraries meeting all requirements) are complete and vetted by staff in time for presentation, the second and final group will go before the Board at their December 1, 2011 meeting.

All applicants for a waiver of the FY2012 MAR will be presented to the Board at their January 5, 2012 meeting and the Board will act on all applications at their February 2, 2012 meeting.  The earliest certification date for any library and its municipality requesting a waiver of the FY2012 MAR is February 2, 2012.

This post was written by lbabbitt on September 21, 2011

I am still uncertain how to figure out my materials expenditure requirement for the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

Some of the confusion you are experiencing is because the method of deriving your requirement changed a few years back.  After a regulatory hearing with the library community, the regulation changed.

Method to calculate the number of dollars that your library needs to expend on library materials for your patrons to use:

At the beginning of the fiscal year take the total appropriation to your library from your town and multiply it by the percentage that your library (based on the municipality’s population) must expend by June 30.

total municipal appropriation to library x percent requirement = dollars to spend on library materials

$                       x                  %                        =                            $

The dollars are expended from the library’s total operating budget. This means any source of income to the library’s operating budget.

 

Any questions should be directed to Dianne Carty (dianne.carty@state.ma.us) or Ned Richards (ned.richards@state.ma.us) at the Board of Library Commissioners. 617-725-1860 or in-state 1-800-952-7403.

 

This post was written by lbabbitt on September 21, 2011

I am confused about the materials expenditure requirement. Can you please review it for me?

I can understand why it might be a little confusing, the regulations covering this requirement changed a few years back.

In 2009, after the required regulatory process, including comments from the library community, 605 CMR 4.01(5) was changed as follows:

  • the calculation of the requirement–multiply your community’s  municipal appropriation to the library by your percentage requirement (based on the population).  This is the requirement for the current year’s expenditure’s for materials for library patrons to use.  Thus, for Fy2012, multiply the FY2012 municipal appropriation by the required percentage  and that is the target dollar amount that must be expended by June 30, 2012 for materials.
  • the population groupings for the materials expenditure and the hours open requirements were made consistent.  Thus the group 2,000 to 4,999 was added.  The percentage requirement for that group is 19.5%.
  • language was added,   “All sources of income to the library’s operating budget may be used to meet the materials expenditure requirement.”  605 CMR 4.01(5)

It is important to remember that the Board of Library Commissioners do not have statutory authority to grant waivers of the materials expenditure requirement.  There is however an administrative Accommodation Policy that is reviewed annually by the Board.  This policy has been in place since 2003 and allows a library to be certified in the State Aid program while meeting the materials expenditure requirement at either a 80% or 90% level.  If the accommodation policy is used, the library receives a reduced state aid award.

All materials that are intended for patron use can be counted towards the materials expenditure requirement.  This includes that part of a Network membership that goes for e-content.

As always, Ned Richards and I are available to answer your questions about the State Aid program.

98 North Washington Street, Suite 401
Boston, MA  02114
tel:  617-725-1860 x 222
1-800-952-7403 (in state)
fax:  617-725-0140

This post was written by lbabbitt on July 5, 2011

The override in my town has failed and will result in a 94% cut in my library budget. Because I cannot imagine receiving a waiver of the FY2012 MAR, when am I officially not certified in the State Aid program?

Some background first.  The state aid program is an annual voluntary program.  When a municipality and its library apply for state aid and are certified as meeting the statutory and regulatory requirements, the municipality and its library remain certified from one fiscal year state aid application approval to the next approval, unless one of the following four events occurs:

  1. The library is closed due to lack of municipal funding–the municipality is decertified as of the date of closing.
  2. The library is ineligible to apply because the materials or the hours open requirements are not met–as of January 1 of the application fiscal year, the municipality and its library are no longer certified.
  3. The library does not apply– as of January 1 of the application fiscal year, the municipality and its library are no longer certified.
  4. A waiver of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) is applied for and denied by the Board of Library Commissioners–as of the February of the application fiscal year, the Board of Library Commissioners meeting (usually the third Thursday in the month), the municipality and its library are no longer certified.

Thus, applying these facts to your library:

If the library closes due to the budgetary constraints, decertification is as of the date it closes.

If the library remains open and if you do not apply for FY2012 State Aid, because your municipality and its library are currently certified in the State Aid program, you will remain certified until January 1, 2012.

You indicated to me that the library met the hours open and the materials expenditure requirements in FY2011, therefore you are eligible apply for FY2012 State Aid in October.  Obviously, because you will not be meeting the FY2012 MAR, you would need to apply for a waiver of the FY2012 MAR.  If you apply for state aid and a waiver of the MAR, you will maintain your current certification until at least the 2012 February Board meeting.  Because the reduction in your municipal appropriation is so severe, the likelihood of the Board granting a waiver of the FY2012 MAR Waiver at their February meeting is slim.

One footnote here, in order to be once again certified as meeting the state aid requirements, the library must be open the minimum hours (Labor Day to Memorial Day) and expend the minimum materials expenditure amount (as of June 30)in the fiscal year preceding the state aid application year.

This post was written by lbabbitt on June 24, 2011

Can library assets held by the town be included as an appropriation to the library for compliance with the statutory local funding requirement (municipal appropriation requirement, MAR) in the State Aid to Public Libraries program?

Good question.  The short answer is no.

Now for a little background.  The State Aid to public libraries program is a voluntary program with statutory and regulatory requirements.  The municipality and its library must apply annually and show compliance with the requirements.  There has been a state aid program with a local funding requirement since 1890.  The Board of Library Commissioners are allowed by statute to grant up to ten waivers of this requirement each year.  For the last several years, budget language signed by the Governor has given the Commissioners the ability to grant as many waivers of this requirement as needed for eligible municipalities.

In the case of a public library in Massachusetts, in order to meet the Municipal Appropriation Requirement, the municipal appropriation is the town’s legally allocated sum of money provided by local tax revenue. The source of the municipal appropriation may not be from state, private, or any other type of funding.

If the town is holding assets of the library, then those monies cannot be ‘appropriated’ to any other town department.  However, when the town appropriates funds from the sum provided by local tax revenue, it is choosing the town department and setting its priorities.  This is the principle behind the local funding requirement of the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

This post was written by lbabbitt on April 6, 2011

How long does it take to be certified again after losing state aid certification?

I am writing to answer the questions that you asked about certification in the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

Let me begin by stating that the State Aid to Public Libraries program is a municipally based annual program.  Libraries apply each year in October.  At their November meeting the Board of Library Commissioners certifies the first group of libraries meeting the statutory and regulatory requirements.  The state aid award is sent to the municipality to be spent by the library without appropriation.

If a municipality is not meeting the municipal appropriation requirement (MAR)-the statutory local funding requirement-the municipality and its library must apply for a waiver of the MAR.  The Board reviews the applications for waivers at their January meeting and acts on the waivers at their February meeting.

There are several situations that result in a municipality not being certified or being decertified in the state aid program.

1.       A public library does not apply for state aid-a library must apply annually and be meeting the statutory and regulatory requirements in order to be certified by the Board of Library Commissioners to receive a state aid award.  If there is no application, then the municipality cannot be certified.

2.       A public library applies but is ineligible-a library must be meeting at least the accommodated hours open and materials expenditure requirements in order to be eligible to apply for the state aid program.  There are no waivers for these requirements.  The municipality is not certified if ineligible.

3.       A municipality is not meeting the MAR and does not receive a waiver-if a municipality does not meet the MAR and applies for a waiver, but the cut to the library was so severe that the Board of Library Commissioners does not grant a waiver of the MAR, then the municipality is not certified.

4.       The library is closed due to budget cuts-if the appropriation from the town is drastically reduced or eliminated and causes the library to be closed, certification is rescinded if the municipality applied and was certified in the program.  The municipality is decertified.

How does a municipality and its library regain certification?  How long does it take?

Simply, the library, if meeting the requirements, may apply for state aid in the next fiscal year, the next state aid round– state aid applications are due mid-October.  The length of time required before a municipality can expect to be certified in the state aid program depends on the reason that the library was not certified.  There is no set time period–it will take as long as the library needs to come back into compliance with the requirements.  Remember, compliance with the hours open and materials expenditure requirements is based on the library’s performance in the fiscal year preceding the application year.  The MAR compliance is based on the current year.  For example, in the FY2011 State Aid to Public Libraries round that just ended, hours open and materials expenditure in FY2010, and the FY2011 appropriation to the library were measured for compliance.

1.       If the library has not applied for state aid in several years-as long as the hours open, materials expenditures and MAR are met the library is eligible apply during the next application period.

2.       If a library was ineligible in the last fiscal year-as long as the library is meeting the hours open and materials expenditure requirements, the library is eligible to apply during the next application period.

3.       If a municipality was not granted a waiver of the MAR-as long as the library is meeting the materials expenditure and hours open requirements, the library may apply during the next application period.  The municipality may also apply for a waiver of the MAR , if needed.  The criteria used for granting a MAR waiver request remain the same-the Board will assess whether or not the library budget was disproportionately reduced when compared with the overall town budget.

4.       If a library was closed-the library will not be eligible to apply for state aid in the next fiscal year because the hours open requirement was not met during the period that the library was closed.  Depending on the length of time that the library is closed and when during the fiscal year(s), at the very least it will take one year before the library is eligible to apply for state aid.

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 25, 2011

The State Aid Application Process

In response to several questions about the process for applying to State, here are the critical steps in the process (refer to the State Aid 101 post for details):

  1. Calculate the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR)–the statutory municipal funding requirement–before submitting your budget request to the town for the next fiscal year.  Usually winter or early spring, but you should be ready ahead of your town’s request.  You should know whether or not you will meet this requirement before submitting your budget request to your town and certainly before submitting your State Aid Application.  Contact the State Aid Unit to verify your calculations– Dianne Carty, or Ned Richards
  2. Complete the online Annual Report Information Survey (ARIS)–available after July 1 and due around Labor Day.
  3. Complete the online Financial Report–available at the end of August and due mid October.
  4. Complete and submit the paper State Aid Application–mailed out in August and due mid October.
  5. Complete and submit the paper MAR waiver petition and application, if needed–mailed out in August and petition due mid October.  Complete application and documents are due mid November.

State Aid acronyms:

  • LIG–Library Incentive Grant
  • MEG–Municipal Equalization Grant
  • NRC–Nonresident Circulation Offset Grant
  • TAMI–Total Appropriated Municipal Income (the municipality’s appropriation to the library)
  • MAR–Municipal Appropriation Requirement  (the statutory requirement)

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 10, 2011

How do I set filters in the reports tool of the LibPAS (Counting Opinions) system?

I have had several questions about the “filter” setting function in the reports setting screen.

There has been some confusion about setting filters.  During the workshops we did in November I showed you the filter feature so that you could select municipalities for comparison.  To protect the integrity of the report templates that we have created at the state level, the functionality has changed slightly.

To be able to select your communities, or other filters, you must first save the template as a new report–use the “save as a new report” button.  The report will then appear in your report folder and after you open the report, you can then set your filters and change the report to your liking.

This post was written by lbabbitt on December 7, 2010

Share your ideas about creating reports.

Please feel free to share your ideas about creating reports through the LibPAS data management system from Counting Opinions.

After two more workshops this week, we will be finalizing the Fy2010 data and the reports of this data.  Please be advised that you will receive information when this data is vetted and complete.

In addition we are working on prior year’s data to be certain that you can view it correctly in the reports area.  We expect that the FY2010 data will be up and available in January 2011.

This post was written by lbabbitt on November 16, 2010

Income and Expenditures on the Financial Report

We have been receiving a fair number of questions both at our workshops and in the office regarding how and what to report on the Financial Report.

Information provided by you on the Financial Report is what you use when completing the State Aid Application and Compliance Form.

Here is the outline of data being collected on the Financial Report that you are currently completing:

Actual Income for FY2010 (July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010):

  1. Appropriated–Money appropriated by the municipality to the library (separated into operating and capital)
  2. Non-appropriated–Income to the library from all other sources (separated into operating and capital)

Projected Income for FY2011 (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011)

  1. Money appropriated by the municipality to the library (operating only)

Actual Expenditures for FY2010 (July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010)

  1. From the Library Budget–Personnel, Materials and Other Operating–all expenditures from every source of income to the library reported in the both the appropriated and non-appropriated Income sections of the Financial Report
  2. On Behalf of–Outside the Library Budget–Personnel and Other Operating–all expenditures paid by the Town or City from funds not appropriated by the Town or City to the library (these figures are not mandatory, but are used in the National Public Library Data Collection project)

This post was written by lbabbitt on September 17, 2010

How do I enter my FY2010 financial data into the online Financial Report?

Instructions for data input using the web based tool LibPAS

  • Go to http://mblc.countingopinions.com
  • Click on Login
  • Enter your Username and Password
  • Click on Data Input in the upper left
  • Click on  Financial Report from the Collection drop-down menu
  • Click on FY2010 Period drop-down menu (Usually the latest, correct Fiscal year is chosen by default.)
  • Enter your library’s data
  • Save your work frequently
  • Click on the Submit/Lock button when all of your data is entered, saved and you are ready to submit
  • Click on Print in the upper right-hand corner of the input form ( in the green band) and a pdf version of the online form will appear

Print the pdf form, sign the signature page and mail the entire printed form to:
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
98 N. Washington Street
Suite 401
Boston, MA, 02114
Attn. Uechi Ng

  • You are done!

Tips for Navigating through the Data Input Form :

  • Click on the Review button to display the entire form on one web page.
  • Select the section to be filled out from the navigation bar on the upper left side of the screen.
  • Use the Next and Previous buttons to move through the form, one section at a time.
  • Move from field to field on the form by clicking on a field. Or, you can use the Tab or Enter key to proceed through fields one at a time.

Entering Data

The Data Input forms have many features for ensuring quality and integrity of data.

  • Field length limits – ensure that entered values are within a certain number of characters.
  • Drop down menus – limit guesswork by providing data entry options in a drop down menu format
  • Pre-filled values – Information that doesn’t change often, such as addresses and phone numbers, will be pre-filled in the online form.
  • Previous year’s data – if available, will be displayed to the right of the data input field.

Adding Notes to Questions

  • Pass the mouse over a question, and a short definition will pop up, if available.
  • By clicking on a question, you can view more information, including complete definitions or instructions.
  • Click on a question, and a note field appears where notes may be entered that may be helpful in answering that question in the future. For example, these notes might explain anything that would assist users in filling out the form in the future (who gave me those circulation numbers, etc.), or for others who may be viewing the form at your library for any reason.
  • Make as many notes as needed.
  • Each Note is date and time stamped for future reference.

Adding Notes to Explain Data Using the Notes Icon

  • Notes can be added for data values by clicking on the small, notepad/pen icon.
  • Notes can be used to help in understanding and interpreting data and should be used whenever the data is unusual (i.e. when the data changes significantly from year to year)
  • Providing notes is helpful to your library and to those who collect the information at the MBLC.

Locking and Approving Data

  • When you have completed the form, please Lock your survey.
  • Once locked (and approved if necessary), you will not be able to change any values.
  • If a change is required after the data set is Locked, please contact Ned Richards or Dianne Carty in the State Aid unit at the MBLC to either unlock the data set or request that any required changes be applied on your behalf.

This post was written by lbabbitt on August 16, 2010

How do I enter my ARIS online? Instructions and Tips for Using the Online LibPAS Online Data Mangaement Tool

Instructions for data input using the web based tool LibPAS

  • Go to http://mblc.countingopinions.com
  • Click on Login
  • Enter your Username and Password
  • Click on Data Input in the upper left
  • Click on ARIS or Financial Report from the Collection drop-down menu
  • Click on FY2010 Period drop-down menu (Usually the latest, correct Fiscal year is chosen by default.)
  • For libraries with branches, it will be necessary to also select Branches and Bookmobiles from the Collection drop-down menu and fill in the information requested
  • Enter your library’s data
  • Click on the Submit/Lock button when all of your data is entered, and you are ready to submit
  • Click on Print and a pdf version of the online form will appear

Print the pdf form, sign the signature page and mail the entire printed form to:
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
98 N. Washington Street
Suite 401
Boston, MA, 02114
Attn. Uechi Ng

  • You are done!

Tips for Navigating through the Data Input Form :

  • Click on the Review button to display the entire form on one web page.
  • Select the section to be filled out from the navigation bar on the upper left side of the screen.
  • Use the Next and Previous buttons to move through the form, one section at a time.
  • Move from field to field on the form by clicking on a field. Or, you can use the Tab or Enter key to proceed through fields one at a time.

Entering Data

The Data Input forms have many features for ensuring quality and integrity of data.

  • Edit Check Pop Up Windows – ensure that entered values are within a usual range of possibilities. (i.e. if $100,000,000 instead of $10,000 for book expenditures). Otherwise the form prompts the user to explain why the data may be out of the usual range.
  • Field length limits – ensure that entered values are within a certain number of characters.
  • Drop down menus – limit guesswork by providing data entry options in a drop down menu format
  • Pre-filled values – Information that doesn’t change often, such as addresses and phone numbers, will be pre-filled in the online form.
  • Previous year’s data – if available, will be displayed to the right of the data input field.

Adding Notes to Questions

  • Pass the mouse over a question, and a short definition will pop up, if available.
  • By clicking on a question, you can view more information, including complete definitions or instructions.
  • Click on a question, and a note field appears where notes may be entered that may be helpful in answering that question in the future. For example, these notes might explain anything that would assist users in filling out the form in the future (who gave me those circulation numbers, etc.), or for others who may be viewing the form at your library for any reason.
  • Make as many notes as needed.
  • Each Note is date and time stamped for future reference.

Adding Notes to Explain Data Using the Notes Icon

  • Notes can be added for data values by clicking on the small, notepad/pen icon.
  • Notes can be used to help in understanding and interpreting data and should be used whenever the data is unusual (i.e. when the data changes significantly from year to year)
  • Providing notes is helpful to your library and to those who collect the information at the MBLC.

Locking and Approving Data

  • When you have completed the form, please Lock your survey.
  • Once locked (and approved if necessary), you will not be able to change any values.
  • If a change is required after the data set is Locked, please contact Ned Richards or Dianne Carty in the State Aid unit at the MBLC to either unlock the data set or request that any required changes be applied on your behalf.

This post was written by lbabbitt on June 24, 2010

ANNUAL REPORT INFORMATION SURVEY (ARIS) IS NOW ONLINE

This summer, for Fiscal year 2011, the Annual Report Information Survey (ARIS) will be conducted online, instead of in its traditional, paper format.

All survey information will now be entered using the online Counting Opinions survey and data management tool.

Some of you are already familiar with the Counting Opinions tool. The MBLC tested the tool successfully last year, with the generous help of dozens of volunteer libraries across the state. Many thanks go out to our volunteers who helped us last summer.

Feedback from those who tested the online survey showed that it was simple to use, and had features that made it easier to fill out than the print survey.

For instance:

  • When a user clicks on a survey question, instructions & examples appear
  • The online ARIS form automatically adds figures for the user
  • It allows the user to make notes about each question (either for their own reference or to further explain survey answers to the MBLC)

In addition, the online survey tool will give the user the ability to run custom library statistic reports, that will include information about staffing, services, funding, expenditures, etc. The reports will come in standard formats that include graphs and bar charts, or as an Excel spreadsheet.

You should have received a flyer to sign up for one of six workshops to be held statewide in June.  These workshops will explain the Annual Report Information Survey and how to fill it out using the online form.

For further questions, please contact Ned Richards at 800-952-7403 x227 or email him at ned.richards@state.ma.us

This post was written by lbabbitt on May 18, 2010

What is the difference between a waiver and accommodation?

Waiver refers to a waiver of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR).  The ability to grant waivers of this requirement is given to the Board of Library Commissioners in statute and reiterated or changed in budget language each year.  The process for waivers is outlined in Board administrative policy.

Accommodation refers to the lessening of the minimum standards of hours open and materials expenditure to either 80% or 90% levels.  Because there are no waivers of these minimum standards, a library is ineligible for state aid if the library performance falls below the 80% level for either standard. The details of accommodation are contained in Board administrative policy.

Because the State Aid to Public Libraries program is an integrated program, the minimum standards of hours open and materials expenditures work in concert with the Municipal Appropriation Requirement.  Thus, a library must maintain hours open and materials expenditures above the 80% level in order to be eligible to apply for State Aid to Public Libraries and a waiver of the MAR.

If accommodation is used, the municipality and its library receive a reduced state aid award (see the policy).  If a municipality and its library apply for and receive a waiver of the MAR, the state aid award is not affected.  A municipality and its library are certified in the State Aid to Public Libraries program if they receive a waiver of the MAR.

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 9, 2010

We are anticipating that our library may not meet its MAR for FY 2011. If we don’t get our minimum Municipal Appropriation, and have to apply for a waiver, does this mean our FY 2011 State Aid grant would be lost or reduced or, because of the waiver, remain the same as if we met the MAR? and if so, how is an adjustment calculated?

Good question.

Receiving a waiver of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) does not result in a reduced state aid award.

If, however, the library did not meet the full standard for hours open or materials expenditure and must use the Accommodation Policy for either one or both of these requirements, then the state aid award will be reduced.

For details please refer to the FY2011 Accommodation Policy.

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 9, 2010

Clarification on State Aid to Public Libraries in FY2011

To Public Library Directors and Trustees:

Last Friday (January 22) Governor Patrick addressed the annual conference of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. He discussed his intent to preserve general local aid and education aid in the budget he proposes for FY2011. He also issued an email to local officials in which he mentioned “a number of new tools to support cities and towns.” One of those new tools was listed as

  • Relief from library “maintenance of effort” requirements and decertification rules.

We very quickly determined from administration staff that this was simply a reference to the budget language we have in FY2010 and that the Governor has proposed again for FY2011 that provides waivers as needed of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) in the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

The Board of Library Commissioners has a booth at the MMA conference trade show, and on Saturday almost every local official who stopped by asked about the meaning of the Governor’s bullet point. Since local officials were asking us about this, I am certain they will be asking you as well.

It is important that you know that this bullet item does not mean that the MAR is being revoked or that communities cannot lose their certification in the library state aid program. There is no change in the program rules for FY2011.

A similar statement appears in the Governor’s budget released on Wednesday, January 27. In the narrative section titled Unrestricted General Government Aid under New Initiatives for Fiscal Year 2011 there is a bullet stating

  • Relief from library “maintenance of effort” requirements and decertification rules (also provided for fiscal year 2010).

You need to know that the language in the State Aid line item in Governor Patrick’s FY2011 budget remains unchanged from FY2010. It states:

“Public Libraries Local Aid
For aid to public libraries; provided, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, no city or town shall receive any funds from this item in any fiscal year when the appropriation of the city or town for free public library services is below an amount equal to 102.5 per cent of the average of the appropriations for free public library service for the 3 fiscal years immediately preceding; provided further, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the board of library commissioners may grant waivers in excess of the waiver limit set forth in the second paragraph of section 19A of chapter 78 of the General Laws in fiscal year 2011 for a period of not more than 1 year; provided further, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, of the amount by which this item exceeds the amount appropriated in chapter 194 of the acts of 1998, funds shall be distributed under the guidelines of the municipal equalization grant program and under the guidelines for the library incentive grant program and under the guidelines for the nonresident circulation offset program; and provided further, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, any payment made to a city or town from this item shall be deposited with the treasurer of the city or town and held in a separate account and shall be expended by the public library of the city or town without further appropriation.”

Please contact Dianne Carty (Dianne.carty@state.ma.us ) or Ned Richards (ned.richards@state.ma.us ) with questions about any aspect of the State Aid to Public Libraries program and follow the State Aid Blog at http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/blog/ for updates and answers to your questions throughout the year.

From Rob Maier, Director, Massachusetts Board of Library Directors

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 9, 2010

Review of compliance with the hours open requirement in the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

We receive many questions regarding the requirement for hours of service in the State Aid program.  This post will cover some of the most common questions.

Compliance with statutory (MGL, c.78, s. 19B (3)) and regulatory (605 CMR 4.01(3)) requirements is based on:

  • the population of the municipality (see post about population calculations).
  • the information reported to the Board of Library Commissioners on the annual State Aid Application.
  • what the library actually did in the last fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).
  • the compliance period of Labor Day to Memorial Day.
  • the week during the compliance period with the fewest number of scheduled hours.

Please remember that compliance is not based on an average of hours open.

A library is still in compliance if closed for a holiday (but not an extended holiday break of a week), weather related emergency, or other emergency.

For a discussion of furloughs please refer to the post, Furloughs Redux.

This post was written by lbabbitt on January 28, 2010

My town is taking the custodian’s salary out of my library budget–how does this affect my MAR?

Good question.

The Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) for your municipality will be recalculated.  You will be asked to supply the custodian’s salary figures for the prior three years.  These amounts will be subtracted from the appropriation figures for those prior years.

For example, the town tells you that for the FY2011 library appropriation the custodian’s salary is being pulled out and put in another town budget line.  You should let us know the custodian’s salary amounts in the library’s appropriations for FY2010, FY2009 and FY2008.  Those amounts will be subtracted from the appropriations reported to us for those years and  your FY2011 MAR will be recalculated based on the new figures for FY2010, FY2009 and FY2008.

Two important things to remember:

  1. let us know as soon as possible about the changes in your appropriation
  2. only the current year MAR will be recalculated

This post was written by lbabbitt on January 28, 2010

Updated FY2010 Municipal Appropriaion Requirement (MAR) Waiver Process

For those of you new to the MAR waiver process…

First a little background.  Aside from the materials expenditure and the hours open requirements in the State Aid to Public Libraries program, the other major component is the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR)–a local funding requirement.

When a municipality does not appropriate sufficient funds to its public library to meet the requirement, the municipality and its library must apply for a waiver of the MAR.  In statute, the Board of Library Commissioners are allowed to grant up to ten waivers of this requirement–the number can be and is changed through annual budget language.  For FY2010, the commissioners may grant as many waivers of the MAR as needed.

FY2010 MAR waivers:

  • The applications were due on October 16, 2009.
  • All applications will be presented to Board on January 7, 2010 at the Thomas Crane Library in Quincy.  The Board meeting begins at 10 am.
  • Those municipalities whose libraries received a reduction beyond 10% when compared to the rest of the municipality’s operating budget must present their petition in person to the Board in January.
  • The Board will act on the petitions at their February 4, 2010 meeting.
  • The Board will hear appeals of  denials of a waiver of the FY2010 MAR waiver at their March 4, 2010 meeting.
  • The Board will act on the appeals at their April 1, 2010 meeting.

When presenting an application for a waiver of the MAR in person:

  • Representatives from the library (typically Director and Trustee Chair) must attend.
  • Representatives from the municipality (can be select person, town administrator, finance committee member) must attend.

Points to cover in your presentation:

  • How close are you to meeting the FY2010 MAR?
  • What efforts were made to meet this requirement?
  • Are there any extenuating circumstances about which the Commissioners should be aware?
  • Why should your municipality be granted a waiver of the FY2010 MAR?
  • How have library services been affected by reductions in the library’s budget? In particular, hours of service and expenditures for materials.

This post was written by lbabbitt on December 10, 2009

Furloughs Redux

My town has proposed shutting down the library for two weeks during the holidays for furloughs.  How does this affect certification in the State Aid to Public Libraries program?

Let me begin by saying that the Board of Library Commissioners’ Policy on a library closing is very specific:  “The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners considers any municipality that closes its main public library or ceases offering library service to the public for any reason other than

  • the undertaking of a project to improve library services (such as construction, automation preparation or inventory) or
  • the occurrence of a natural catastrophe (including a limited emergency closing due to illness or death)

to be, as of the date of that termination of service, no longer a certified participant in the State Aid to Public Libraries program.”

See the entire policy at:  http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/policies/sa_closure_policy2010.php

Cities and towns are trying to cope with extreme fiscal constraints.  However, closing the library due to lack of funding is not an option in the State Aid to Public Libraries program.  Certainly there has been and will be discussion of furloughs or unpaid leave for library staff along with other cost reduction activities.  These provisions however cannot be an excuse to close the library.  There are ways to spread furloughs over a period of time so as not to affect compliance with the minimum standards of hours of opening.

This post was written by lbabbitt on November 18, 2009

H1N1 Virus and State Aid Requirements–If I have to close the library or curtail hours for a period of time will that affect my certification in the state aid program?

Quite simply,  no.  The occurrence of a natural catastrophe (including a limited emergency closing due to illness or death) does not affect compliance with the state aid to public libraries program.

We do ask that you report to us in writing the period of time during which the library was closed or hours curtailed due to H1N1 illness.  Both you, the library director, and the trustee chair should sign the letter/memo.  This information will be placed in your file as backup documentation.

This post was written by lbabbitt on October 27, 2009

FY2010 MAR Disproportionate Cut Worksheet: As we add in our Revolving Fund to our appropriation do we also add in other Dept.’s revolving funds? Ours is new this year, others are long-established but not reported…

Good question.

When your town accountant completes the Disproportionate Cut Worksheet for the Library’s budget and for other town departments, the revolving fund does not need to be included on the worksheet for the library or for other town departments.

Just be certain that the FY2009 and FY2010 library’s appropriation figures (less the revolving fund) match the FY2009 and FY2010 municipal appropriation figures (less the revolving fund) that you are reporting on the FY2010 Financial Report.

The Revolving Fund will still be included as part of your Total Appropriation for MAR compliance on your FY2010 State Aid and Compliance Form.

This post was written by lbabbitt on September 16, 2009

Why is the Cherry Sheet Estimate (CSE) on my FY2010 Financial Report almost 30% lower than my FY2009 State Aid award?

Good question.

The FY2009 State Aid appropriation was $9,989,844 and the FY2010 State Aid appropriation is $7,107,657.  That is a decrease of 28.85%.  Taking into account the change in population figures, the EQV and the nonresident circulation transactions from FY2009 to FY2010 (state aid award disbursements are based on these factors), a municipality and its library could well receive 30% less in State Aid to Public Libraries this fiscal year.

This post was written by lbabbitt on September 11, 2009

No Question Too Obvious–No Voice Too Small

We hope that you have been reading this blog and have had your questions answered and your issues heard.

Please know that you can also telephone or email Ned Richards or me with your questions, issues and concerns.

We are here to help with your questions about State Aid to Public Libraries and how the state aid program works through statute and regulation.  Time is important when we are talking about meeting the requirements for state aid–sooner is much better than later.  And I must say it is not always bad news, there are many flexibilities in the state aid program.  However, we cannot help or address your problems if the clock has run out.

We are just regular folk and really do enjoy talking with you.  We understand that sometimes it is difficult to pick up the telephone, so may I suggest email or even snail mail?

We have tried to put as many tools as possible on the agency website and in this blog.  If there is something missing, please let us know.

These next several weeks in September Ned and I will be out and about doing the annual State Aid to Public Libraries workshops.  Questions that come up at these workshops will be posted on the blog.

These are difficult times for everyone.  Take heart and keep doing your incredible work–it is so very much appreciated.

This post was written by lbabbitt on August 31, 2009

What is my FY2010 State Aid Award going to be?

At this point I cannot tell you the exact amount, only an estimate.

Annually the Department of Revenue asks us to prepare estimates–Cherry Sheet Estimates–for each of the budgets (if the State Aid to Public Libraries appropriation is different) as they appear during the budget cycle.  House One or the Governor’s version, the House version, the Senate version, the Conference Committee version, and the final budget signed by the Governor.

“Named for the cherry colored paper on which it was originally printed, the Cherry Sheet is the official notification by the Commissioner of Revenue to municipalities and regional school districts of estimated state aid to be paid and charges to be assessed over the next fiscal year. Cherry Sheets are usually issued each spring, following enactment by the Legislature of the state budget for the following year.”

You may go to the Department of Revnue’s website to view current and past Cherry Sheets.

There are three separate disbursements included in the State Aid to Public Libraries award made to a municipality when the municipality and its library are certified for state aid.  The amounts for  the Library Incentive Grant (LIG) and the Municipal Equalization Grant (MEG) are calculated once the appropriation to the MBLC for state aid is finalized.  The third component, the Nonresident Circulation Offset (NRC), is not finalized until all the public libraries have submitted their nonresident circulation data.  Once the data is received and verified, then the actual NRC awards can be calculated.  This happens in time for the Board of Library Commissioners meeting in November when the first group of municipalities meeting requirements are presented to the Board for certification.

In summary, you can always see the current Cherry Sheet Estimates on the Department of Revenue’s website.  However, the actual State Aid award cannot be calculated until November.  And just to add a little more complexity, if at the end of the state aid grant round there is money left in the State Aid line for any given year, a second payment, above and beyond the calculated amount may go out to the already certified communities.

This post was written by lbabbitt on July 28, 2009

Frozen Positions & the ARIS form

A number of people have contacted the State Aid Unit asking about whether or not to report “frozen” positions on the ARIS form. Frozen positions are any position that is vacant and that the municipality will not allow the library to fill (usually a result of layoffs or a hiring freeze).

Please remember that it is very important not to report frozen positions on the ARIS form.  This allows the data to show important changes in library staffing from year to year.

Here’s an example. Let’s say the number of  positions in Massachusetts libraries decreased in the past year due to layoffs and hiring freezes (frozen positions). By not including these frozen positions on the ARIS form,  the number of library positions will show a drop from the previous year.  By showing that drop, we get an accurate idea of how layoffs and hiring freezes may have affected library staffing.

This post was written by lbabbitt on July 15, 2009

What do we need to do when our director leaves the library?

Good question.

There are three things you must do when a permanent director leaves.

  • Submit a verification form that the permanent director is leaving.
  • Appoint an acting director while you begin the search for a new permanent director.
  • Submit a verification form for the appointment of the acting director.

As you know a permanent library director must meet an educational requirement as one of the requirements for State Aid to Public Libraries.  However, the acting director does not need to meet the educational requirement.  The acting director can be in place up to three years.   (605 CMR 4.01 (4): ” A municipality will be considered ineligible for direct state aid if the library has had an acting chief librarian for three or more years from the date that the position became vacant.”)

When a permanent director has been appointed you must:

This post was written by lbabbitt on July 9, 2009

Changes to State Aid Regulations in Effect as of June 26, 2009

The regulatory changes went into effect on June 26, 2009 for the FY 2010 grant round.

Because the FY 2010 grant round will measure compliance for materials expenditures and hours open based on the actual library activity during FY 2009, these regulatory changes do affect the FY2009 fiscal year.

The regulatory changes affect three aspects of the State Aid to Public Libraries program: the calculation of the Materials Expenditure Requirement, the percentage requirements of the Materials Expenditure Requirement for certain population groups, and the number of hours open for the Hours Open Requirement for certain population groups.

The changes are as follows:

  • For all libraries, the Materials Expenditure Requirement will be based on the beginning of the year municipal appropriation to the library. If the municipal appropriation is reduced during the fiscal year, the materials expenditure requirement would go down accordingly. If the municipal appropriation increases during the fiscal, the materials expenditure requirement would instead still be based on the initial appropriation.
  • A new population group for the Materials Expenditure Requirement has been created for communities with populations between 2,000 and 4,999. This population group’s Materials Expenditure Requirement as a percentage of the Total Municipal Appropriation is 19.5%
  • A new population group for the Hours Open Requirement has been created for communities with populations between 25,000 and 49,999. This population group’s Hours Open Requirement is 59 hours per week.
  • All sources of income expended by the library for library materials may be used to meet the requirement. Sources will include competitive grant funds previously excluded from meeting the requirement (e.g. LSTA grants, Arts Lottery, etc).

Your library’s FY 2010 State Aid to Public Libraries Application & Compliance Form, to be distributed this summer and due October 16th, will reflect these changes because the new regulations will be in effect.

The policies for Accommodation and for Material Expenditure calculation have been revised to reflect these changes and have been approved by the Board of Library Commissioners.

This post was written by lbabbitt on July 9, 2009

Board Approves Requirement Regulation Changes

Please know that The Board of Library Commissioners approved several important changes to the regulatory requirements of the State Aid to Public Libraries Program at its meeting June 4, 2009 meeting. These changes will go into effect by July 1, 2009, in time for the FY 2010 grant round. Since the FY 2010 grant round looks at library activity during FY 2009, these regulatory changes affect the requirements for the current FY ’09 fiscal year.

The approval of the changes was based on a public hearing and public comment period regarding the proposed changes.

The regulatory changes affect three aspects of the State Aid to Public Libraries program: the calculation of the Materials Expenditure Requirement, the percentage requirements of the Materials Expenditure Requirement for certain population groups, and the number of hours open for the Hours Open Requirement for certain population groups.

The changes are as follows:

  • For all libraries, the Materials Expenditure Requirement will be based on the beginning of the year municipal appropriation to the library. If the municipal appropriation is reduced during the fiscal year, the materials expenditure requirement would go down accordingly. If the municipal appropriation increases during the fiscal, the materials expenditure requirement would instead still be based on the initial appropriation.
  • A new population group for the Materials Expenditure Requirement will be created for communities with populations between 2,000 and 4,999. This population group’s Materials Expenditure Requirement as a percentage of the Total Municipal Appropriation will be 19.5%
  • A new population group for the Hours Open Requirement will be created for communities with populations between 25,000 and 49,999. This population group’s Hours Open Requirement will be 59 hours per week.
  • All sources of income expended by the library for library materials may be used to meet the requirement. Sources will include competitive grant funds previously excluded from meeting the requirement (e.g. LSTA grants, Arts Lottery, etc).

These regulatory changes will go into effect when they are published in the Massachusetts Register, most likely on June 26, 2009. The changes will apply to the FY 2010 State Aid to Public Libraries Program grant round that looks at library activity during FY 2009.

Your library’s FY 2010 State Aid to Public Libraries Application & Compliance Form, to be distributed this summer and due October 16th, will reflect these changes because the new regulations will be in effect.

This post was written by lbabbitt on June 5, 2009

Do you know when the Board might take action on the 3 proposed changes to the minimum standards?

The Board will vote on the proposed changes at their meeting this Thursday, June 4.  If approved, the changed regulations will be submitted to the Secretary of State’s office.  When published in The Register on June 26th, the regulations will take effect.

Public library directors will be notified when the changed regulations are published and in effect.

This post was written by lbabbitt on June 1, 2009

How do you define a ‘nonresident’ / ‘resident’?

I often have this question posed to me in the context of the nonreisdent (NRC) offset award of the state aid program and sometimes as a piece of the reciprocity aspect of the state aid program.

The regulations defining Nonresident Circulation, 605 CMR 4.03, state:

“Nonresident is a Massachusetts resident who is not a resident of the reporting municipality.  Nonresident status is defined by the local municipality but cannot be more restrictive than the U.S. Bureau of the Census definition of resident in effect at the beginning of the reporting period.”

Quoting from the Bureau of the Census website regarding residency:

“Planners of the first U.S. decennial census in 1790 established the concept of “usual residence” as the main principle in determining where people were to be counted. This concept has been followed in all subsequent censuses and is the guiding principle for Census 2000. Usual residence has been defined as the place where the person lives and sleeps most of the time. This place is not necessarily the same as the person’s voting residence or legal residence. Also, noncitizens who are living in the United States are included, regardless of their immigration status.”

Use this Census link to find rules about the various cases of residency determination:

http://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/resid_rules.html

As an example of a Census rule: “People who own more than one residence – Counted at the residence where they live most of the time.”

To reiterate,  for the State Aid to Public Libraries program,  nonresident status  is determined locally but the local definition cannot be more restrictive than the Bureau of the Census.

This post was written by lbabbitt on May 28, 2009

Can you tell me chances are good for me to get a waiver in FY2010 or how can I determine that now?

I can not tell you what will happen or even where your library stands until I see  the FY2010 completed MAR Waiver Worksheet (check out the Worksheet for FY2009 for a preview of the FY2010 form) and your FY2010 State Aid Application.

The key to the process for the MAR waivers is the review of the library’s appropriated budget and its reductions when compared to the overall municipal budget.

The largest cut for which the Board has granted a waiver has been 29%, in FY2009. See the blog post,  “Largest Library Budget Reduction to Receive a Waiver of the MAR.”

Here is the time table for the waiver process:

  • Petitions for an MAR waiver are reviewed by the Board of Library Commissioners at their January meeting.
  • If the net reduction in the library budget was more than 5% when compared to the adjusted municipal budget (as reported on the Total Municipal Operating Budget Worksheet), then the budget will be considered “disproportionately reduced.” The municipality and its library must present their waiver petition in person to the Board of Library Commissioners at their January board meeting.
  • The Board of Library Commissioners review MAR Waiver Petitions based on:
    a. evidence of municipal fiscal hardship, and
    b. demonstration by the municipality that the library’s budget was not disproportionately reduced
  • The Board of Library Commissioners vote on the petitions for MAR waivers at their February meeting.

This post was written by lbabbitt on May 21, 2009

What is the “Library Spending Waiver” ?

Just today I have received several emails asking about the following language that appears on page 23 in a report from The Special Commission on Municipal Relief that was released last Thursday.:

Library Spending Waiver
“Public libraries are required to meet certain spending levels each year in order to receive state aid. Under the current system, a municipality must fund its library at 2.5% above the average preceding three years‟ budgeted amounts. This is in order to provide balanced funding responsibilities within inter-library loan programs and continuity of library services from year to year. If a library cannot meet this requirement, it may petition for a one year waiver from the Board of Library Commissioners, but there are only 10 waivers issued per year.

In this fiscal climate, many municipalities across the Commonwealth will have difficulty meeting this spending requirement.  In order to prevent unnecessary reductions in state aid, the Commission would allow all communities to waive the spending requirements in fiscal year 2010 without approval from the Board.  Communities choosing this option would be required to restore library  spending to required levels within 24 months, and no waivers would be available to those communities who do not meet this stipulation.”

The The Special Commission on Municipal Relief was chaired by Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg and  Representative Paul J. Donato.

Other commission members include:  Senator Cynthia Stone Creem, Senator Benjamin B. Downing, Senator James B. Eldridge, Senator Michael W. Morrissey, Senator Steven C. Panagiotakos, Senator Anthony W. Petruccelli, Senator Bruce E. Tarr, Representative John J. Binienda, Representative Jay R. Kaufman, Representative Paul Kujawski, Representative Charles A. Murphy, Representative Vincent A. Pedone, Representative Alice H. Peisch, and Representative George N. Peterson, Jr.

This post was written by lbabbitt on May 13, 2009

Largest Library Budget Reduction to Receive a Waiver of the MAR–updated 7.14.2010

I am having trouble finding some information that I could swear was on the blog.  I have a memory that something was said about the MBLC not ever approving a waiver over a certain percentage cut.  28% seems to stick in my mind.  Can you help me with this or am I totally imagining that I saw this?

Good question.  I too thought I had put something on the blog.  At any rate…

In FY2002 the Board of Library Commissioners first approved the current MAR waiver process (developed in conjunction with the Division of Local Services at the Department of Revenue).

As you can see from the brief summary below, the largest cut for which the Board has granted a waiver has been 29%, in FY2009.

Year Total MAR Waiver Applicants Total MAR Waivers Granted Granted MAR Waiver ‘with reservation’ (net reductions to library budgets) Denied MAR Waiver (net reductions to library budgets) Withdrew Request, received additional funds to meet MAR
FY2002 5 3 0 0 2
FY2003 11 9 0 0 2
FY2004 70 65 12 [6% (2), 7% (2), 8%, 9%, 10%, 11% (3), 20%, 28% 0 5
FY2005 50 44 3 [7%, 15%, 27%] 0 6
FY2006 31 28 3 [6%, 14%, 27%] 0 3
FY2007 22 17 2 [9%, 11%] 1 [52%] 4
FY2008 18 13 1 [12%] 1 [28%] 4
FY2009 29 24 11[6% (2), 7% (2), 8% (3), 10%, 14%, 26%, 29%] 2 [33%, 69%] 3
FY2010 103 97 4 [10%, 12%, 18%, 21%] 1 [58%] 5

This post was written by lbabbitt on May 12, 2009

YA Programs and YA Program Attendance

Starting with Fiscal Year 2009, The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently asked the State Aid Unit to provide the number of Young Adult Programs and Young Adult Program Attendance at libraries across Massachusetts.

The ARIS form that will be sent out this summer will have Additional Information Survey questions concerning Young Adult Services. Two of those questions will ask for the number of YA programs during FY 2009 as well as total attendance at those programs. In following years the ARIS form will always ask for the number of Young Adult Programs and Young Adult Program Attendance.

Data taken from these survey questions will provide useful information concerning the implementation of library services geared toward Young Adults across Massachusetts.

YA programs will be considered those geared toward 12-18 year olds.

Children’s programs will be considered those geared toward children under the age of 11.

We realize that many libraries do not currently collect or maintain information about YA programming. However, if at all possible, please provide this information on the ARIS form.

As always, thanks go out to all of you who help us collect information that helps promote libraries across Massachusetts and the rest of the US.

This post was written by lbabbitt on May 6, 2009

What (the heck) is a Municipal Appropriation?!?

We’ve all been talking quite a bit about Municipal Appropriations lately (e.g. “my appropriation is too small”, or, believe it or not, “my municipal appropriation is too big!”, and, “what would we base our materials expenditure requirement on?”.

We thought it would be a good idea to provide everyone with a definition of a Municipal Appropriation.

A municipal appropriation is a town’s legally allocated sum of money for a given department. Appropriations are determined annually for the following fiscal year, which is the 12-month period for which revenues are collected and spent for public purposes. In Massachusetts, the fiscal year runs from July 1 through the following June 30. Town meeting must vote to approve all appropriations for the upcoming fiscal year. With the exception of the school operating budget, town meeting may vote a department’s budget on a line-item basis, in which case each separate line item constitutes a separate appropriation within that department’s overall budget. Alternatively, town meeting may vote appropriations more generally and thereby afford department heads a measure of flexibility in expending funds to operate their departments. (From A Guide to Financial Management for Town Officials, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Division of Local Services, Navjeet K. Bal, Commissioner Robert G. Nunes, Deputy Commissioner & Director of Municipal Affairs. http://www.mass.gov/Ador/docs/dls/publ/misc/TOWN.PDF)

In the case of a public library in Massachusetts, in order to meet the Municipal Appropriation Requirement, the municipal appropriation is the town’s legally allocated sum of money provided by local tax revenue. The source of the municipal appropriation may not be from state, private, or any other type of funding.

This post was written by lbabbitt on May 1, 2009

My question is: the pros/cons of charging a user fee to residents of towns that are decertified (or who close a library).

This is an interesting question to put out there for library directors.  I invite you to share your comments on this issue.

Remember,  borrowing privileges for residents of communities that are outside of the State Aid program is a local issue for boards of trustees to decide.

Let me just point out the semantics of certification.

  • A municipality and its library are certified in the State Aid to Public Libraries program  when the annual application is filed and compliance with the statutory and regulatory requirements is vetted.
  • A municipality and its library are not certified when:    (1) the annual application for state aid is not submitted,   (2) the library is ineligible due to non-compliance with the minimum standards (hours open or materials expenditures), or   (3) a waiver of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) is denied by the Board of Library Commissioners.
  • If a  municipality and it s library are currently certified in the state aid program and if the library closes, then the municipality and its library are decertified as of the date of closure.

If a library is either not certified or decertified, the municipality and its library are outside the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

This post was written by lbabbitt on May 1, 2009

Begin Counting Library Attendance – Win a Prize!

Is your library looking for a great way to show how important the library is to its community?

In these tough economic times, do you need to show your select board or city council that library use is going up, up, up….so you can keep your municipal appropriation from going down, down, down?

At town meeting do you hear the phrase “aawwhh, no one ever uses the library anymore!”

Then….

Count Attendance!

By counting attendance and reporting it on the FY 2011 ARIS form…..

  • You will be able to demonstrate how many people come through your doors, making it easier to show just how important your library is to your community.
  • your library will contribute crucial statistical information at the state and national level and help promote libraries not only in Massachusetts, but across the United States.

Attendance figures are the most popular service output measure in the library world!  Most Library Journal readers polled say that library visits are the most “telling” statistic about library use (Library Journal 3/15/09).

Despite that, did you know that 33% of Massachusetts libraries do not count attendance!?!? Some of our busiest libraries do not track attendance!

Attendance figures are a core library statistic that can serve as proof that libraries are an essential part of democracy and an indispensable resource to our communities, our state, and to our country. Please consider providing attendance figures if your library is not already. The library you save may be your own!

Begin Counting by July 1st 2009!!! The time to start planning is NOW!

If you haven’t started counting attendance at your library already, then it’s the perfect time to get started! If your library starts counting as of July 1st, 2009, and you continue counting through FY 2010, your attendance figures can be entered into the FY 2011 Annual Report Information Survey! AND, upon receipt of attendance figures on that ARIS form, your library will be eligible to win a prize!**

If your library doesn’t have a gate counter, follow these simple instructions to sample attendance….

First,

Select one week each in the months of July, October, January, and April during which the library staff will count all persons who entered the library’s outlets (main + branch + bookmobile). At the end of each of the weeks, the library will have the actual number of persons who entered the library and its outlets (main + branch + bookmobile) one week in each quarter of the fiscal year.

Then,

To calculate an estimate for the fiscal year ….

Multiply each quarterly one-week sample by 13 and total the estimates.

OR

Add the four quarterly one-week samples together and multiply by 13.

It’s that simple!

So start counting..today!

**Prizes to be announced as of October 1, 2010.  Prizewinners will be announced after October 15, 2010. Entrants must submit attendance figures on the ARIS form in order to win a prize. No other form of entry will be accepted.  All libraries who provide attendance figures are eligible.

This post was written by lbabbitt on April 15, 2009

FY 2010 ARIS Workshop Registration

Once again, it’s time to register for ARIS workshops. As usual, the workshops will assist you with the print ARIS form. This year, the workshops will also introduce you to the new Online ARIS form under development.

These workshops will be helpful if ….

  • you are a new director
  • you are responsible for completing the survey
  • or even if you are an old hand at the ARIS form

An ARIS workshop will help you….

  • Get a peek at the new ONLINE ARIS survey being developed!
  • Learn how to fill out the print ARIS form
  • Receive tips for using reports compiled from the survey

*Please help us test the online ARIS form being developed for use in FY 2011. All libraries will still be required to submit a print form for FY 2010. All we ask is that you type your library’s ARIS answers from the print form into the online form, and submit it. Feedback about your experience using the online form would be greatly appreciated. Your extra effort will help make the online ARIS form easier to and faster to use when it is implemented. *

Dianne Carty, Head, State Aid & Data Coordination, & Ned Richards, State Aid Specialist, will conduct the workshops.

Each library’s personalized print ARIS form will be mailed in mid-June.

The print ARIS form must be completed and submitted by all libraries by August 28, 2009.

Schedule of ARIS and Online Data Collection Workshops

Region Workshop Date, Type & Time


Location
Western

Region

June 3, 2009

Print ARIS Form 10:00-12:00; Online ARIS Form 1:00-3:30

WMRLS Office, Whately, www.wmrls.org
Northeast Region June 9, 2009

Print ARIS Form 10:00-12:00; Online ARIS Form 1:00-3:30

NMRLS Office, Danvers

www.nmrls.org

Central Region June 10, 2009

Print ARIS Form 10:00-12:00; Online ARIS Form 1:00-3:30

CMRLS Office, Shrewsbury

www.cmrls.org

Cape Cod June 22, 2009

Print ARIS Form 10:00-12:00; Online ARIS Form 1:00-3:30

Brewster Ladies Library

www.brewsterladieslibrary.org



Southeast Region June 25, 2009

Print ARIS Form 10:00-12:00; Online ARIS Form 1:00-3:30

SEMLS Office, Lakeville, www.semls.org
Metrowest Region June 29, 2009

Print ARIS Form 10:00-12:00; Online ARIS Form 1:00-3:30

MMRLS Office, Waltham, www.mmrls.org

Please register by May 15, 2009 by emailing your name, library, and workshop preference to uechi.ng@state.ma.us

Please note that registration is open to all and not determined by your regional affiliation.

This post was written by lbabbitt on April 14, 2009

Can monies from a town’s stabilization fund count towards the Municipal Appropriation Requirement?

According to the Department of Revenue,  the stabilization fund is “a fund designed to accumulate amounts for capital and other future spending purposes, although it may be appropriated for any lawful purpose (MGL, Ch.40 s.5B).”

Therefore, yes, because these funds can be appropriated by the town for any lawful purpose they may count towards the Municipal Appropriation Requirement of the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

This post was written by lbabbitt on April 14, 2009

I noticed in the language of the Governor’s budget that the Commissioners have been given “unlimited” waivers–does everyone get a waiver next year?

Good question.

As you pointed out for FY2010 the Governor’s budget provides authorization for the Board of Library Commissioners to award waivers of the M.A.R. “in excess of the waiver limit set” in statute (no limit).

This does mean (if this language is in the final FY2010 budget) that the Board of Library Commissioners may grant as many waivers of the FY2010 MAR as needed to eligible libraries that apply for state aid and a waiver of the MAR.

This does not mean every applicant for a waiver of the FY2010 MAR will automatically receive a waiver of this requirement.

This post was written by lbabbitt on April 9, 2009

Hi Dianne– I never knew there was a process to appeal decertification. Can you let me know where I can find that information?

There has been an appeals process for as long as I have been at the Board of Library Commissioners.  [No, I will not divulge how long that has been!]

The form for an appeal is mailed out each year with the state aid application and is posted on our website.

The appeal is for the denial of an MAR waiver by the Board of Library Commissioners.  Beginning in FY2010, in addition to being included in the annual state aid packet, the form will also be mailed with each denial of an MAR waiver. The form will continue to be on the website with the other state aid forms.

There is no appeal of decertification because only when a library is closed is the result decertification by the Board of Library Commissioners.

There can be no appeal if a library does not apply for state aid or is ineligible due to noncompliance with the minimum standards because there is no Board action associated with a library that does not apply for state aid or is ineligible to apply.

This post was written by lbabbitt on April 7, 2009

What about the proposed changes to the current State Aid regulations?

You should soon receive in the mail a notice of a hearing for a few changes to the current regulations for the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

You are invited to send written comment in electronic format (email or email attachment ) to dianne.carty@state.ma.us or ned.richards@state.ma.us by Friday, May 8,2009.

Here is some information:

  • There are 3 proposed changes that emanated from the State Aid task force that met last summer as a follow-up to the State Aid Review Committee.  These changes do not require additional funding and are an attempt to make the current program more consistent and easier.
  • These proposed changes do not affect the current Accommodation Policy for Minimum Hours Open and Minimum Materials Expenditure.
  • These changes do not affect the sources of money used to meet the Minimum Materials Expenditure Requirement–only the calculation of the target dollar amount to be spent.
  • If approved by the library community, these changes will be in place for the FY2010 State Aid to Public Libraries grant round.

Changes number one and number twoequalizing the population groups for the materials expenditure and hours open minimum standards.  The proposed changes are in orange:

Hours Open Requirement

Population Size

Number of Hours

Number of Days

Portion of Day

Under 2,000

10

not specified

some evening hours

2,000 – 4,999

15

not specified

some evening hours

5,000 – 9,999

25

not specified

some evening hours

10,000 – 14,999

40

5

some evening hours

15,000 – 24,999

50

5

some evening hours

25,000 – 49,999

59

6

some morning,

afternoon,

& evening hours

50,000 and over

63

6

some morning,

afternoon,

& evening hours

Materials Expenditure Requirement

Population size

Percentage of municipal appropriation to the library for operations

library operating expenditures (excluding personnel benefits) which

must be spent on library materials

Under 2,000

20%

2,000 – 4,999

19.5%

5,000 – 9,999

19%

10,000 – 14,999

16%

15,000 – 24,999

15%

25,000 – 49,999

13%

50,000 and over

12%

Change number three: using the municipal appropriation as the base or benchmark for calculating the materials expenditure requirement. What this means:  at the beginning of each fiscal year you can multiply your appropriation by your required percentage.  This then becomes your target for compliance with the materials expenditure requirement.  To meet this dollar amount you may use all of the sources you now use–town money, gift income, Friend’s money, state aid.  Thus, at the beginning of each fiscal year you will be ble to determine your target dollar amount.

The hearing for these changes will be held during the MLA conference on Thursday, May 7, 2009, 10:00 o’clock a.m., at the Springfield Marriott Hotel, Salon C, 6th Floor, 2 Boland Way, Springfield, Massachusetts, 01115.

Interested parties are encouraged to attend this hearing and provide testimony. Persons planning to give oral testimony at the hearing are urged to provide an electronic summary before the hearing. All persons desiring to submit printed statements following the hearing must file same by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 15, 2009.

This post was written by lbabbitt on April 6, 2009

What Happened to Public Libraries During the Great Depression?

Because we were curious, we took a quick look at Massachusetts during the Great Depression, between 1929 and 1933.  Thanks to Ned Richards for compiling these facts while I looked into the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The following quotes are from the Annual Reports of the Board of Library Commissioners.

In 1931…

“appropriations were actually cut in very few cases, but on the other hand, none were increased”…”but for 1932 the indications are for drastic cuts of 10, 15, 20% in expenses and salaries in many of the city libraries. The small towns feel the unemployment situation less.”

In 1932…

“In common with all other state departments this Division (MBLC) accepted an initial cut in its budget of 5 percent. To this was added later a voluntary further reduction of 3 per cent.”

“The use of public libraries has grown the past year beyond all precedent. Reading rooms have been crowded. The number of books borrowed in 1932 exceeded 31 million volumes, nearly 8.5 million more than in 1930.”

“Libraries reporting from 10 to 40 per cent increase in circulation for 1932 are in the majority; several report from 60 – 80 percent and a few 100 per cent and over.”

“About one third of the public libraries in the Commonwealth have suffered little or no loss in income. These are in the residential and rural districts less affected by the depression. Of the other two-thirds, those in the cities and industrial towns have been hit the hardest. Here decreases in appropriation or endowment income range from 8 to 75 per cent.”

” (Library) Hours have been curtailed, branches closed, postcards substituted for letters, printed bulletins, lists, and annual reports cut out.”

“Librarians’ salaries in the best of times are not commensurate with those paid in similar professions but among a fairly large proportion of the libraries salary cuts ranging from 7 to 40 per cent have been put into effect.”

1933…

“Fifty-seven per cent of the libraries report reduced appropriations.  Book budgets were cut in 50% of these, salaries in 59%, supplies, maintenance etc. in 18%”….”salary decreases ranged from 5% to 50%, but the majority were 10% ‘voluntary’ or ‘donated’ cuts.  Not more than half a dozen libraries were obliged to reduce their personnel.  A few branches were closed, in many instances hours were shortened, several libraries tried the experiment of Sunday closing.”

1934…

“Conditions in the libraries remain much the same as for the past two years except that there is no longer such an abnormal drain on their resources either in books or service.”…”In some cases it is due to reopened factories or the moving away from the city or state of unemployed mill operatives and other borrowers of the early ‘depression’ days, but mainly the cause seems to be lack of sufficient books due to drastic cuts in the book budgets.”

“…consider the following excerpt from a newspaper editorial on a New York city library whose expenses and service had been seriously curtailed:  ‘ The Mayor and his cabinet have accepted the premise that it is  uneconomical to let an institution fall too far behind because of the depression, and the 1935 allocation is such as to permit that institution to retrieve some of its unfortunate losses in equipment and operation during the last two or three years.  Obviously this is not an extravagance, but straight sense.’”  [my emphasis]

Per Capita Support for Public Libraries…

  • 1929  $1.00/cap,  $12.59 in today’s dollars
  • 1930  no data
  • 1931  $1.00/cap,  $14.16 in today’s dollars
  • 1932  $0.95/cap,  $14.93 in today’s dollars
  • 1933  $1.08/cap [ rose for “some unexplained reason”],  $17.89 in today’s dollars
  • 1934   $0.914/cap,  $14.69 in today’s dollars
  • 1935   $0.92/cap,  $14.46 in today’s dollars
  • 1936   $0.92/cap,  $14.25 in today’s dollars

The annual percent change in the CPI from 1918 to 2008 for all Urban Consumers (not seasonally adjusted).

(from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: see more at their website)

This is a line graph showing the Consumer Price Index Annual Percent Changes from 1918 to 2008, the data is listed below the graph.

Annual Change in Consumer Price Index--1918 to 2008

Year   Value
1918   18
1919   14.6
1920   15.6
1921   -10.5
1922   -6.1
1923   1.8
1924   0.0
1925   2.3
1926   1.1
1927   -1.7
1928   -1.7
1929   0.0
1930   -2.3
1931   -9
1932   -9.9
1933   -5.1
1934   3.1
1935   2.2
1936   1.5
1937   3.6
1938   -2.1
1939   -1.4
1940   0.7
1941   5.0
1942   10.9
1943   6.1
1944   1.7
1945   2.3
1946   8.3
1947   14.4
1948   8.1
1949   -1.2
1950   1.3
1951   7.9
1952   1.9
1953   0.8
1954   0.7
1955   -0.4
1956   1.5
1957   3.3
1958   2.8
1959   0.7
1960   1.7
1961   1.0
1962   1.0
1963   1.3
1964   1.3
1965   1.6
1966   2.9
1967   3.1
1968   4.2
1969   5.5
1970   5.7
1971   4.4
1972   3.2
1973   6.2
1974   11.0
1975   9.1
1976   5.8
1977   6.5
1978   7.6
1979   11.3
1980   13.5
1981   10.3
1982   6.2
1983   3.2
1984   4.3
1985   3.6
1986   1.9
1987   3.6
1988   4.1
1989   4.8
1990   5.4
1991   4.2
1992   3.0
1993   3.0
1994   2.6
1995   2.8
1996   3.0
1997   2.3
1998   1.6
1999   2.2
2000   3.4
2001   2.8
2002   1.6
2003   2.3
2004   2.7
2005   3.4
2006   3.2
2007   2.8
2008   3.8

This post was written by lbabbitt on April 2, 2009

State Aid to Public Libraries 101–updated 2.3.2011

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners administers the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

State aid has been going to public libraries since 1890 when The Acts of 1890, chapter 347, ‘An Act to Promote the Establishment and Efficiency of Free Public Libraries’, established the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts.

  • The program is voluntary.
  • Public libraries apply annually.
  • The program is a municipally focused program.  The requirements are based on  library services provided to local residents and local municipal funding of the library.
  • If upon annual application a public library meets the statutory (MGL, c.78, ss.19A & 19B) and regulatory (605 CMR 4.00) requirements, the Board of Library Commissioners certifies that the municipality and its library are meeting the requirements and  State Aid to Public Libraries is awarded.

Three Key Requirements

  1. The library’s weekly hours of service–based on the population of the municipality (605 CMR 4.00).
  2. The library’s expenditures for library materials–based on the population of the municipality (605 CMR 4.00).
  3. The town’s appropriation to the library–individually calculated for each municipality, based on funding history [the average of the prior three year’s municipal appropriations plus 2 1/2%]. (MGL c.78, s.19A)

Waivers, Accommodations and Flexibilities

  • Waivers of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR). Statute allows the Board of Library Commissioners to grant up to ten waivers.  Annual budget language reiterates or amends the number.  For FY2011, the Board of Library Commissioners could grant as many waivers as needed to eligible communities and their libraries.  Waivers must be applied for at the time of annual state aid application.  All required forms are included in the annual state aid application packet.
  • Materials Expenditure and Hours Open Accommodation. This accommodation allows libraries to meet either one or both of the minimum standards at a reduced 90% or 80% level and still be certified in the state aid program.  As a result of this accommodation, the state aid award is reduced.  Accommodation is automatically activated when annual state aid applications are submitted.
  • Flexibility of Materials Expenditure Standard. Regulation allows a library that exceeds the minimum hours open requirement and is meeting the hours requirement of the next population group, to expend the lesser amount for materials.  The library director and trustee chair must request flexibility when submitting the annual state aid application.

Administrative Policies

Just as regulations define statute, administrative policies , reviewed and approved annually by the Board of Library Commissioners,  further define regulation.

State Aid Awards

There are three components to the State Aid award that libraries receive when certified as meeting the minimum requirements.  Each has a different formula.  The appropriation for State Aid to Public Libraries for FY2011 is $6,823, 657.

  • Library Incentive Grant (LIG)–a straight per capita grant based on the population of the municipality.
  • Municipal Equalization Grant (MEG–see fact sheet)–based on the lottery formula, municipalities with less revenue raising capability receive more of this pot.
  • Nonresident Circulation Offset (NRC)–based on the number of direct, over the counter, nonresident transactions reported by libraries on their statistics (ARIS) survey.  The FY2011 per transaction amount was $0.123.

Annual Calendar

  • June              Workshops held to help librarians complete the statistics survey
  • July              Online statistics survey (ARIS) open to all public libraries
  • August        Online ARIS closes;  online Financial Report opens; State Aid applications mailed to all public libraries
  • September  Workshops held to help librarians complete the state aid forms
  • October        Online Financial report closes; State Aid forms due
  • November   Board of Library Commissioners meets and certifies the first group of municipalities meeting all state aid requirements
  • December    Board meets and certifies the next group of municipalities meeting all requirements
  • January        Board meets and reviews petitions and hear presentations of applicants for a waiver of the MAR
  • February      Board meets and acts on applications for a waiver of the MAR
  • March            Board meets and hears any appeals of denial of an MAR waiver
  • April               Board meets and acts on any appeals of denial of an MAR waiver

FY2011 Numbers

  • Of the 351 municipalities in Massachusetts, 349 have public libraries or share public library services.
  • Of the 349 municipalities, 341 applied for FY2011 State Aid to Public Libraries.
  • 218 met the FY2011 State Aid to Public Libraries requirements.
  • 123 applied for and were granted waivers of the FY2011 MAR.

Local Library Funding

  • 88% of  library funding comes from local sources.
  • 3% comes from State Aid to Public Libraries.
  • Each municipality decides the local funding level of their public library.
  • 1.25% of total municipal operating expenditures goes to public libraries in Massachusetts, based on the most recent Department of Revenue figures.

This post was written by lbabbitt on March 20, 2009

How are the population figures that the MBLC uses calculated?

The population estimates used by the Board of Library Commissioners come from the Division of Local Services at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.  These estimates are developed by the Bureau of the Census through the Federal State Cooperative Program for Population Estimates (FSCPE).

The Population Estimates Program publishes total resident population estimates and demographic components of change (births, deaths, and migration) each year.

The Population Estimates Program produces the official estimates of the population for the nation, states, counties, cities, towns, Puerto Rico commonwealth, and Puerto Rico municipios and estimates of housing units for states and counties.  The Population Estimates are also available on American Factfinder on the Bureau of the Census website.

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue Division of Local Services’ uses Census Bureau population estimates to allocate local aid and determine municipal assessments and charges.   Population estimates are used in the allocation of local aid distributed through the Lottery formula and Aid to Public Libraries formula.  The calculation of cherry sheet charges use population estimates when calculating assessments for Air Pollution Control, Metropolitan Area Planning Council and Old Colony Planning Council.

With each new issue of July 1st estimates, the U.S. Census Bureau revises figures back to the most recent census. Revisions to estimates are usually due to revised or updated administrative input data, changes in methodology or legal boundary changes.

Here is the contact information for the Massachusetts agency working in the Federal State Cooperative Program for Population Estimates (FSCPE):

Susan Strate……………..(413) 577-0753
Population Estimates Program Manager
Economic and Public Policy Research Unit
University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute
100 Venture Way, Suite 9
Hadley, Massachusetts 01035
Fax: 413-545-3420
Email: mgoodman@donahue.umassp.edu
Website: www.massbenchmarks.org

This post was written by lbabbitt on March 13, 2009

Materials Expenditures and Use of State Aid to Public Libraries

My Trustees wanted to know that if they are able to supplement our cut to the book line (we don’t have enough in any other operating line to cover such a big shortfall) with fines money (revolving account); or meg/lig money, would that meet the MAR requirements? We have meg/lig money available because we have been setting it aside for our building project.

You can certainly use any of those sources to meet the materials expenditure requirement.  You need not use only municipal funds.  However you cannot use LSTA grant money.

State Aid to Public Libraries money is very flexible and can be used for any library purpose, operating or capital.  It can also be accumulated from year to year.  Interest earned on these monies however, is a general fund revenue under M.G.L. c.44, s.53, and must be returned to the city or town.

State Aid to Public Libraries has always been listed as an offset item on the annual Cherry Sheet distributed by the Department of Revenue.  Because of this classification as an offset item, state aid received by a municipality under the authority of this program can be spent without appropriation.  In addition, state budget language signed by the governor at the beginning of each fiscal year specifies that “any payment made under this appropriation [State Aid to Public Libraries] shall be deposited with the treasurer of such city or town and held as a separate account and shall be expended by the public library of such city or town without appropriation.”

Because State Aid to Public Libraries awards are funds not able to be appropriated by the municipality, are solely for library expenditures and are subtracted from the municipalities’ gross appropriations to help determine the local property tax levy, these awards cannot be used by the municipality as a revenue source to meet the Municipal Appropriation Requirement.

This post was written by lbabbitt on March 13, 2009

It is coming soon–the second installment of FY2009 State Aid to Public Libraries!

If your municipality was certified by the Board of Library Commissioners for FY2009, a letter is en route to you informing you of a second installment of your FY2009 State Aid award. The information is on its way to the State Treasurer’s office. An EFT will be issued to your municipality in the next several weeks. With this second payment you will have received approximately 90% of your total FY2009 State Aid award.

When the agency receives the final allotment of State Aid to Public Libraries, we will disburse a third and final payment. This could be as early as May.

I will keep you informed.

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 25, 2009

Is this a reduction in hours or a library “closing”?

“I’m still a bit unclear on whether if a library closed one entire day per week, but was still open six days and met the “Recommended Minimum Hours Open Per Week” as described in the CMR, it would no longer meet the requirements of certification. This would be a reduction of service but still within the range of hours specified by regulation. Would the MBLC interpret this as a reduction in hours or a “closing”?”

No, not a closing.  As long as the library has not shut its doors and curtailed services to residents it is not considered a closing.  If the library is still meeting the minimum hours open requirement, then the reduction in hours is not a factor in measuring compliance with the hours open standard of the state aid program.

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 25, 2009

If I were to propose closing on Saturdays during the summer (July and August), am I correct in my thinking that we would still be in compliance with the minimum standard of hours open (40)?

“I am preparing for a Fin Comm meeting in early March. The Town is still working on the FY10 budget and I keep hearing gloom and doom but haven ‘t heard any actual dollar amounts in cuts yet. I expect the library will take some sort of hit and I ‘m trying to think of some small savings and wanted to run an idea by you. For the past three years, the library has been open 40 hours year round…no reduction in hours in the summer. If I were to propose closing on Saturdays during the summer (July and August), am I correct in my thinking that we would still be in compliance with the minimum standard of hours open (40)?”

Yes, you are correct.  Compliance with the minimum standard of hours open is measured from Labor Day to Memorial Day.  Reduction of hours in the summer months does not affect compliance with the hours open requirement in the state aid program.

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 25, 2009

When should I expect my State Aid payment after being certified?

The necessary ‘payment voucher’ information is given to our business office within 2 days of the Board meeting at which a library is certified for state aid.  This information is then submitted to the comptroller’s office.  The comptroller’s office then requests that the Treasurer’s office send an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)  to the municipality.  The time line for these activities varies.  That is why in our state aid award letters we say it can take several weeks.

To check on state aid payments, you can go to the state’s Vendor Web (use Internet Explorer as your browser) and see payments to your town.  You need the town’s 12 character vendor code and the last 4 digits of the town’s tax id number (TIN) to do this.  Just ask your town hall for these numbers or ask them to check vendor web for you.

Because state aid comes in an EFT, it can be lumped together with other payments to your municipality.  Therefore it is a good idea to check with your town’s treasurer if you are expecting a state aid payment.

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 20, 2009

Waivers of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR)–Process and Appeals

A municipality and its library must apply for a waiver of the MAR if the municipality’s appropriation to the library does not meet the MAR.  Please read on…..

The Board of Library Commissioners has the statutory authority to grant up to ten waivers of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR). The number of waivers available for each fiscal year is not determined until the budget language for the current year is final.

The Governor’s FY2010 budget, referred to as House 1, as well as the House final and Senate final budgets  have language that would allow the Board to grant as many waivers as needed to eligible libraries in FY2010.  This item will not go to conference and will be in the final language when the Governor signs the final FY2010 budget.  Remember, budget language has the effect of statute for one year.

FY2010 MAR Waiver Eligibility:

To be eligible for a waiver of the FY2010 MAR, a municipality and its library must:

  1. Meet the minimum standards of library service, 605 C.M.R. 4.01 or the accommodated levels.
  2. Apply for a waiver of the MAR with the State Aid Application, both are due on due October 16, 2009–state aid packet will be sent in August.

To Apply for an FY2010 MAR Waiver:

Petitions for waivers of the FY2010 MAR must be submitted by October 16, 2009, along with the State Aid Application, and must include the following items:

  1. Petition for Waiver of the MAR (from the state aid packet to be sent in August 2009).
  2. Total Municipal Operating Budget Worksheet (from the state aid packet).
  3. Municipal budget documents that support the Total Municipal Operating Budget Worksheet by listing the total operating and departmental budgets for the municipality (e.g., copies of warrant articles, municipal budget summary pages, etc.).
  4. A statement from a municipal official:   citing the fiscal hardship surrounding the municipality’s inability to meet the FY2010 MAR;  explaining the municipality’s budget process regarding the library;  and providing evidence that any reduction to the library budget is not disproportionate relative to changes in other municipal departments and the overall municipal budget.
  5. A cover letter from the library director and trustee chair, with enclosures if appropriate, explaining the library’s budget process and reasons why the community did not comply with the MAR. (Examples of enclosures include:   narratives from municipal officials describing the fiscal situation, text of referenda.)

The  FY2010 MAR Waiver Process:

Current Board Policy

If the net reduction in a library’s budget between FY2009 and FY2010 was more than 5% when compared to the adjusted municipal budget (as reported on the Total Municipal Operating Budget Worksheet–see application process above) then the budget will be considered “disproportionately reduced.”

These municipalities and their libraries (with net reductions of more than 5%) must present their waiver petitions in person to the Board of Library Commissioners at their January 7, 2010 board meeting.  With a net reduction of less than 5%, the municipality and the library need not appear in person but must submit the completed forms and documentation as detailed above.

The Board of Library Commissioners will, at their January 7, 2010 meeting, review the petitions based on:  evidence of municipal fiscal hardship and demonstration by the municipality that the library’s budget was not disproportionately reduced.

The  Board of Library Commissioners will act on the petitions for MAR waivers at their February 4, 2010 meeting. MAR waivers granted to any municipality whose library experienced a greater than 5% reduction when compared to the overall municipal budget, are called waivers “with reservation.”

Appeals of the Board’s denial of an FY2010 MAR waiver must be submitted to the Board within seven (7) days of the February 4, 2010 meeting.  If there are appeals, the Board will hear them at their March 4,2010 meeting.  The Board will act on the appeals at their April 1, 2010 meeting.  The FY2010 State Aid to Public Libraries Grant Round will be completed after the April 1, 2010 meeting.

In Fy2009 the Board denied 4 applications for a waiver of the FY2009 MAR.  The four communities appealed the Board’s decision.  The Board heard the four appeals.  Two of the denials were upheld by the Board.  Due to subsequent funding by their municipalities, the other two denials were rescinded and the munipalities and their libraries were granted an MAR waiver “with reservation” and certified for FY2009 State Aid to Public Libraries.

For information about past waivers, please refer to the blog post about the  Largest Library Budget Reduction to Receive a Waiver of the MAR

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 18, 2009

What is an MAR Waiver “with reservation”?

Can you give me a quick summary of what that means, and does it impact a future waiver application?

I will try to be quick…

When reviewing applications for waivers of the MAR, the Board of Library Commissioners considers any library whose budget was cut more than 5% when compared to the adjusted overall municipal budget to have experienced a disproportionate cut.

If the Board grants a waiver of the MAR to a library whose budget was cut more than 5%, the waiver is granted “with reservation.”  If the municipality and its library need to apply for a waiver of the FY2010 MAR,  special attention will be paid to those that needed a waiver “with reservation” in FY2009.

As stated in the Board’s letter to communities receiving an MAR waiver “with reservation”:

The Board considers a waiver with reservation to indicate that a significant gap exists between library funding and funding of other departments.This gap signals the beginning of erosion of library services for residents of the community. It is imperative that city and town officials work with their libraries to reduce or eliminate these disproportionate cuts in FY2010.

It is important to remember as the FY2010 budget process goes forward that although there will be waivers for the FY2010 MAR, the actual number of waivers will not be determined until the budget language is signed by the governor. Continued reductions in the library budget seriously impair services provided to all residents of the community and create a challenge for the community and its library of regaining lost ground.

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 17, 2009

How many consecutive MAR waivers can a municipality receive?

There is no limit to the number of MAR waivers that a municipality and its library may apply for and, if eligible, receive.

There a few things to be mindful of :

  1. No municipality has received more than one MAR waiver “with reservation” (more than 5% reduction when compared to the municipal budget) in a row.
  2. If the library budget continues to be reduced, it becomes increasingly difficult for the library to maintain the minimum standards of hours open and materials expenditures, for which there are no waivers.
  3. A library and its municipality are not eligible to apply for a waiver of the MAR if the library is not meeting at least the 80% accommodated levels of hours open and materials expenditures.
  4. MAR waiver petitions and documentation are submitted annually with the State Aid application and are due  in October.
  5. Please refer to the Administrative Policy on Calculating the MAR:  http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/policies/sa_mar_cal_policy2010.php

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 10, 2009

Return on Investment

I often get questions about the “Return on Investment [ROI]” for libraries.  While we have not contracted for a study to be conducted in Massachusetts, a search of ROI studies from other states shows that the average ROI for libraries is about $4.00:  http://www.lrs.org/public/roi/otherstudies.php

Here is the link to the American Library Association page that presents articles and studies related to ROI’s: http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/ors/reports/roi.cfm

Here is the link to the Colorado Library Research Service page with additional information and resources for ROI’s:  http://www.lrs.org/public/roi/

Finally, here are a few links to various calculators that you can try out:

Calculators from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine:
Cost Benefit and ROI Calculator:       http://nnlm.gov/mcr/evaluation/roi.html
Valuing Library Services Calculator:  http://nnlm.gov/mcr/evaluation/calculator.html

Calculator from the Maine State Library:   http://www.maine.gov/msl/services/calculator.htm

This post was written by lbabbitt on February 5, 2009

It looks like the governor’s budget cuts the state aid to libraries program for FY ’10.

“Dianne: I have a question I did not see on the blog.  It looks like the governor’s budget cuts the state aid to libraries program for FY ’10.  I assume that if the House and Senate do the same that means everyone will get less state aid.  Is there any way to tell about how much less for our library?  We use our state aid for salaries so this has a direct impact on our FY’10 budget.  We’re very close to the bare minimum number of hours needed for certification with the budget I have drafted. We are committed to making the hours requirement no matter what, so I would have to cut something else.   I realize the state budget won’t be finalized for a while but I wondered if you had any advice?   Thanks!”

Yes, there is a way.

FY2010 Cherry Sheet Estimates for the proposed $8,557,657 State Aid to Public Libraries in the Governor’s budget are provided on the Division of Local Services website at: http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=dorsubtopic&L=5&L0=Home&L1=Local+Officials&L2=Municipal+Data+and+Financial+Management&L3=Cherry+Sheets&L4=FY2010+Cherry+Sheets&sid=Ador

Just download the spreadsheet and look in column ‘T’ for public libraries.

This post was written by lbabbitt on January 30, 2009

How do I calculate the materials expenditure requirement?

“Town Management is looking at a variety of cost cutting measures for FY09.  They have withdrawn $30,000 from a salary line item and subsequently revised the budget in October. They won’t let me fill a position to the tune of $11,000 but the budget has not been revised to reflect this. How do these actions effect the 16% I must spend on materials in FY09?  If they do, is it based on the revised budget amount only?

Over the past week I have received several questions regarding the Materials Expenditure Requirement of the State Aid to Public Libaries program.  Here is a quick review and an answer to the above question.

The Materials Expenditure Requirement is a percentage requirement based on the population size of the community that the library serves [http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/policies/stanhour.php]. Compliance is measured against the actual expenditures in the prior fiscal year–July 1 through June 30.

Thus, the 16% requirement (and all of the other materials percentage requirements) for FY2010 State Aid to Public Libraries will be based on the actual operating and materials expenditures from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009.

Here is a handy calculation aid that you can use to figure out your requirement as you progress through the current fiscal year [http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/faqs/mat_calc.php].

This post was written by lbabbitt on January 26, 2009

If the library failed to meet the MAR in one year, what are the consequences vis-à-vis certification?

“If the library failed to meet the MAR in one year, what are the consequences vis-a-vis certification?  Our Trustees seem to think certification would be lost for three years.  That is not [my] understanding.  Would you please clarify?”

There is no formula for the duration of loss of certification.  Reinstatement of eligibility to apply for state aid depends on the reason for the loss of certification.

If the MAR is not met in a particular year, then a library should apply for a waiver of the MAR for that year-presuming that the other standards are being met.

If an MAR waiver is not granted and the hours open and materials expenditures standards are being met, then the municipality and the library would be eligible to apply for state aid in the next year.

The key is that the library must be meeting the minimum hours open and materials standards during the prior fiscal year.  Thus, if a library were closed [see the Board policy at: http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/policies/sa_closure_policy.php ] the library would not be meeting the hours open requirement for that particular year and would not be eligible to apply for state aid in the next fiscal year.

It is so very important to remember that the state aid program looks at 2 years for compliance with the regulatory and statutory requirements. So, to be eligible for certificatioin for FY2010 State Aid to Public Libraries, the library must be meeting the FY2010 MAR or receive a waiver of the FY2010 MAR. The library must also have been open the required number of hours and spent the required amount for materials during FY2009 –remembering that the Policy of Accommodation is in place for Hours and Materials Expenditures:http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/policies/accompolicy2010.php

This post was written by lbabbitt on January 20, 2009

FY2009 Budget Cuts, Closing the Library, Furloughs, etc.

Here is a question that I received today:

“We are facing a possible further cut in our FY ’09 budget…  If this comes to pass, we’ve been working on ideas of how to make up the money.  One idea is to just shut the library down for one week rather than messing with our hours yet again.  However, I wondered if this might jeopardize our certification…”

Let me begin by saying that the Board of Library Commissioners’ Policy on a library closing is very specific:  “The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners considers any municipality that closes its main public library or ceases offering library service to the public for any reason other than

  • the undertaking of a project to improve library services (such as construction, automation preparation or inventory) or
  • the occurrence of a natural catastrophe (including a limited emergency closing due to illness or death)

to be, as of the date of that termination of service, no longer a certified participant in the State Aid to Public Libraries program.”

See the entire policy at: http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/policies/sa_closure_policy2010.php

Cities and towns are trying to cope with extreme fiscal constraints.  However, closing the library due to lack of funding is not an option in the State Aid to Public Libraries program.  Certainly there has been and will be discussion of furloughs or unpaid leave for library staff along with other cost reduction activities.  These provisions however cannot be an excuse to close the library.  There are ways to spread furloughs over a period of time so as not to affect compliance with the minimum standards of hours of opening.

This post was written by lbabbitt on January 9, 2009

What happens to our certification if the town asks us to make cuts in this last half of FY09? And then what happens to our MAR in the next fiscal year?

Another good question.

If a town is certified for FY2009 State Aid to Public Libraries and subsequently receives cuts to their budget by June 30, 2009, FY2009 certification will not be affected.  Only if a library closes after being certified will the certification for FY2009 State Aid to Public Libraries be rescinded.

When calculating the FY2010 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR), the library director will use the actual final FY2009 municipal appropriation available for the library to expend by June 30, 2009, only if (and this is important) the final actual appropriation is higher than the FY2009 requirement.  If the final available appropriation is lower than the MAR, the FY2009 requirement will be used in the calculation.

Please see the Board Policy for calculating the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) for FY2010:  http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/policies/sa_mar_cal_policy2010.php

This post was written by lbabbitt on January 6, 2009

What happens if all of the public libraries in Massachusetts cannot meet the state aid requirements?

First let me say it is difficult to believe that all libraries will fail to meet the minimum requirements next year.  Having said that, I will point out that the Board of Library Commissioners has been proactive with respect to the difficulties that libraries are experiencing through the Policy on Accommodation and the granting of MAR Waivers.

The Policy on Accommodation for Hours Open and Materials Expenditure Requirement

“The Board of Library Commissioners recognizes the necessity of continuing the policy of accommodation of the standards of the State Aid to Public Libraries program. This policy for the accommodation of the Materials Expenditure and the Hours Open standards seeks to certify as many municipalities as possible while still reinforcing the principles of library service.

A municipality will receive certification for FY2010 State Aid to Public Libraries if it:

  • meets the FY2010 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR), or receives a waiver of the FY2010 MAR,
  • meets the materials expenditure and hours open standard at either a full (100%), mid-level (90%), or minimum (80%) amount,
  • meets all other statutory and regulatory requirements for State Aid to Public Libraries as contained in 605 CMR 4.01.”

Please see the full policy on our website at: http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/policies/accompolicy2010.php

Waivers of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR)

Commissioners have statutory ability to grant ten waivers of this local funding requirement.  The legislature has given the commissioners the ability to grant additional waivers through budget language.  For FY2009 the Commissioners are able to grant up to a total of 65 MAR waivers.  There is no reason to believe that the legislature will not give the board the ability to grant sufficient waivers to eligible libraries in FY2010.

Please see the policy for eligibility on our website at: http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/policies/sa_mar_waiver_policy2010.php

With the up to 20% accommodation in minimum standards and the waivers of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement public libraries in Massachusetts are supported during difficult times and are able to maintain the high level of services that residents have grown used to receiving.

This post was written by lbabbitt on December 18, 2008

When is a public library not certified?

Public libraries apply annually for the State Aid to Public Libraries program.  If meeting the statutory and regulatory requirements, the municipality and its library are certified to receive state aid awards.  Libraries that were certified as meeting requirements and received state aid in FY2008, but did not apply or are ineligible to apply in FY2009, will not be certified for FY2009 as of January 1, 2009.

Any certified public library that is closed because the municipal funding has been cut will be decertified as of the date of closing.  This decertification will be reaffirmed by the Board of Library Commissioners at their next scheduled meeting.

This post was written by lbabbitt on December 12, 2008

Use of State Aid and the Municipal Appropriation Requirement

I have had a question about using State Aid to Public Libraries to meet the Municipal Appropriation Requirement.

State Aid to Public Libraries cannot be used to meet the Municipal Appropriation Requirement.

Here is a copy of the fact sheet, Use of State Aid:

State Aid to Public Libraries awards are disbursed after the applying municipality and its library have demonstrated that they are meeting the Municipal Appropriation Requirement and the other statutory and regulatory minimum standards for free public library services (M.G.L. c.78, s.19A & 19B; 605 C.M.R. 4.00). Compliance with the requirement and the minimum standards is measured on the State Aid to Public Libraries application forms submitted annually by the library.

State Aid to Public Libraries has always been listed as an offset item on the annual Cherry Sheet distributed by the Department of Revenue. Because of this classification as an offset item, state aid received by a municipality under the authority of this program can be spent without appropriation. In addition, state budget language signed by the governor at the beginning of each fiscal year specifies that “any payment made under this appropriation [State Aid to Public Libraries] shall be deposited with the treasurer of such city or town and held as a separate account and shall be expended by the public library of such city or town without appropriation.” The awards may be used for any library expenditure.

Because State Aid to Public Libraries awards are funds not able to be appropriated by the municipality, are solely for library expenditures and are subtracted from the municipalities’ gross appropriations to help determine the local property tax levy, these awards cannot be used by the municipality as a revenue source to meet the Municipal Appropriation Requirement.

Unspent or unencumbered state aid monies must be carried forward into the next fiscal year for expenditure by the library. Interest earned on these monies however, is a general fund revenue under M.G.L. c.44, s.53, and must be returned to the city or town.

Purchases of materials made with State Aid to Public Libraries monies (public funds) are subject to the Uniform Procurement Act, M.G.L., c. 30B. In addition, disposition of materials and other personal property purchased with public funds is subject to the rules generally governing the disposition of municipal personal property. Bylaws and ordinances allowing department heads to dispose of town personal property are authorized by M.G.L. c. 40, s. 21(11). The Uniform Procurement Act, M.G.L., c. 30B, s. 15, governs such dispositions of municipal property.

This post was written by lbabbitt on December 12, 2008

Review of the State Aid to Public Libraries Program

Doubtless, many of you are wondering about the review of the state aid to public libraries program.

The State Aid Review Committee met on September 8, 2006 for the first time. An editorial group drafted the report and recommendations for the full committee to review at their final meeting on June 29, 2007. After the final meeting, the report with recommendations was edited for presentation to the Board of Library Commissioners.

In January 2008 MBLC staff conducted a survey to elicit the opinion of public library directors regarding the proposal put forward by the State Aid Review Committee. The results were presented to the Board at their April 2008 Board meeting.

Based on the survey comments, the Board of Library Commissioners appointed a task force of three commissioners [Commissioner Quinn, Commissioner Murphy and Commissioner Caro] and three staff members [Rob Maier, Dianne Carty and James Lonergan]. This group was charged with meeting to pull together items from the proposal of the committee and the current state aid program.

At their October 2008 meeting, the Commissioners received a proposal from this task force.  Staff have been charged with taking the proposal out to the library community.

Meetings are being planned around the state for the Spring of 2009.  Public library Directors will be notified of the dates and locations.

This post was written by lbabbitt on December 12, 2008

FY2010 MAR Waivers and Standards Accommodations

Here is an email that I received recently:

I wanted to post this question but didn’t see how. In any event, I’m pretty sure we won’t make our FY2010 MAR. We are looking at a 10% cut across all departments. That said, I realize we’ll need to apply for a waiver. Am I to understand that all other requirements must still be maintained? In other words, is the Library still expected to meet its material expense requirement (19%) whatever it comes in at (I realize it will likely be lower now that the MAR is lower)? I remember reading there are qualification gradients for the materials requirement that go as low as 80% of the total required. Would we need to meet at least that level in order to obtain a waiver? Can we still apply for a waiver if we don’t meet MAR and at least 80% of our materials requirement? If we don’t meet at least 80% would we lose our State Aid disbursement?

Good question–

Yes, the library is expected to meet the minimum standards of hours open and materials expenditures in order to be eligible to apply for a waiver of the MAR.  Meeting the minimum standards includes the Accommodation Policy for the hours open and materials expenditure standards–the accommodation is at either the 90% or 80% level with a reduction in the state aid award.  The library must meet the 80% minimum for either or both of these standards–if the library falls below it is ineligible to apply for state aid.

The accommodation policy is on the agency website at: http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/policies/accompolicy2010.php

–Dianne

This post was written by lbabbitt on December 9, 2008

FY2009 Municipal Appropriation and Budget Cuts

In recent days I have had questions from directors about their FY2009 municipal appropriations and potential cuts yet this fiscal year.  The question being, “What happens when the town cuts the FY2009 appropriation that I reported on my state aid  forms?”

Municipalities and their libraries are certified as meeting requirements based on the FY2009 appropriation to the library at the time of application and the library’s performance in FY2008 with regards to hours open and materials expenditures.

If a library was not meeting the FY2009 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) at the time of application, the library had to apply for a waiver of the FY2009 MAR.  If the library is successful is receiving additional funds from the town prior to the February 2009 board meeting, then the municipality and the library may withdraw their waiver petition.  We have 27 active petitions for FY2009 MAR waivers–so far two municipalities have been successful in receiving enough additional funds to meet the FY2009 MAR.

If a library was meeting the FY2009 MAR at the time of application, the municipality will be presented to the Board for certification.  If a library’s FY2009 budget is subsequently reduced, there are no ramifications during FY2009.

However, when the library applies for State Aid in FY2010, if the FY2009 appropriation ended up being lower than the FY2009 requirement, the FY2009 requirement (the FY2009 MAR) will be used in calculating the FY2010 requirement. This calculation process is a Board administrative policy that has been reviewed and renewed annually since 1991.  See:  http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/state_aid/policies/sa_mar_cal_policy.php

It must be mentioned that the library must also be meeting the minimum standards of hours of service, materials expenditures and educational level of the library director.

This post was written by lbabbitt on November 26, 2008

Materials Expenditure Requirement

Here is a comment that came to me today via email…

“Our Board of Library Trustees has requested that our library’s utility costs be paid out of the town budget rather than out of the library’s budget.
If this move took place, reaching our materials percentage for state aid would be easier especially since no one knows what is going to happen to oil rates.”

The operating expenditures for the library would be lower if the utilities were paid out of the town budget rather than library’s budget.  Because the materials expenditure requirement is based on  the expenditures from the library’s operating budget, the required amount would be reduced.

However, there is this caveat–your municipal appropriation would also lower and thus potentially put you in jeopardy of not meeting your municipal appropriation requirement.  You should pay attention to both your municipal appropriation and your expenditures for materials.

Let me add that if, indeed, an item is pulled out of the library’s budget (say, utilities) that had previously been in the budget the staff will ask you to provide like budget figures for this item for the prior 3 years.  The Municipal Appropriation Requirement may then be recalculated.  Never the less, you should still pay attention to both of these requirements as your appropriation is adjusted by the town.

If you have any questions please give me or Ned Richards a call and we will be happy to go over the figures with you.

Dianne

This post was written by lbabbitt on November 7, 2008

FY2009 State Aid to Public Libraries

Due to the incremental allotment of the FY2009 State Aid to Public Libraries to the Board of Library Commissioners, as municipalities are certified this year by the Board for state aid, a partial payment will be made. Toward the end of the fiscal year when funds are fully allocated to the account, a final payment will be disbursed to certified municipalities.

This post was written by lbabbitt on October 22, 2008

Librarian Certification

In order to insure that communities are served by qualified library personnel, the Board of Library Commissioners grants Certificates of Librarianship to applicants based on work experience, education level or reciprocity with certification in another state, as set forth in statute and regulation, (MGL c.78 s.22-31; 605 CMR 3.01-3.06).  All public library directors in Massachusetts are required to obtain a Certificate of Librarianship as a prerequisite for municipalities to receive State Aid to Public Libraries.

A Professional certificate is granted to applicants with an ALA-accredited graduate degree in library science. A Subprofessional certificate is granted to applicants with the requisite work experience.

Regulations call for certification fee review every three years.  Fees are to be established by a vote of the Board of Library Commissioners.  The Board voted to increase the certification fees to $45.00 and the replacement fee to $30.00 at their meeting on August 7, 2008.  The fees increased on October 1, 2008.

Please keep in mind that certificates are good for life, therefore this increase only applies to those applying for certification for the first time or for replacement certificates.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

This post was written by lbabbitt on October 22, 2008

Public Library Statistics–Data Collection

On October 17, 2008, the agency signed a contract with Counting Opinions for web-based data collection and management.  You will be hearing more about the roll-out of this service in the coming months.  We anticipate that public libraries will be able to enter their FY2009 data via the web next summer.

This post was written by lbabbitt on October 21, 2008

Public Libraries Fund

The Public Libraries Fund matching program was eliminated during the Governor’s budget cuts on October 15, 2008.  The agency is still collecting the information about funds raised for public libraries in anticipation that this program will be restored in the future.

This post was written by lbabbitt on October 21, 2008

State Aid To Public Libraries–Workshop Questions

September 2008

I have just completed the round of State Aid workshops for FY2009.

As usual, there were some very interesting and first time questions.  Thank you all.

I promised to send out responses to some of these questions:

–How many libraries report ‘Dog Tax’?
In FY2007 (the numbers for FY2008 are not yet complete), 28 libraries reported receiving a total of $78,050.

–How many libraries report ‘Revolving Fund’?
In FY2007 (the numbers for FY2008 are not yet complete), 59 libraries reported a total of $598,252.

–What is the FY2008 municipal appropriation?
The FY2008 municipal appropriation is the actual amount of municipal appropriation that the library had available to expend for operating by June 30, 2008.  This includes transfers made during FY2008 and excludes any money ‘frozen’ by the municipality during FY2008.

–What is capital?
Capital is defined locally.

–What are allowable materials expenditures?
In regulation (605 CMR 4.01) the reference to materials is: “expenditures for books and related materials.”  Library materials are defined as any material purchased by a local library for users.  This includes the usual books, periodicals, audio, video and electronic materials.  In addition this includes other items for patron use such as museum passes.  Reformatting of current materials is also included, such as microfilming of print newspapers for patron use.
The fundamental principle (spirit of the law and regulation) in reporting for state aid compliance is the expenditure for materials, regardless of format, that are for patron use.
This does not include access to these items, e.g., shelving, Internet access or telephone expenses.

This post was written by lbabbitt on September 10, 2008

 
This Web site, and other programs of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, is funded in part with funds from the
Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning.