Policy on Supplemental Public Library Funding

Massachusetts cities and towns have a responsibility to insure that residents have access to public library services.

The city or town public library is essential to community life. Through the modest investment which the public library represents, a community has access to books and other library materials which are necessary to support education, economic development, and personal growth. Public libraries offer access to their collections and services for all members of the community without regard to race, citizenship, age, educational level, economic status, or any other qualification or condition. In every city and town, public libraries are essential to insuring equal opportunity and the free exchange of ideas which is critical to a democracy.

As the forms of information change and expand, the challenge of making the widest possible range of information accessible to all increases. In today's information society the need for municipalities to provide adequate public library service is greater than ever. Without municipal financial support for public library services, residents would be denied access to books and other library materials that make education, economic and personal growth possible, support equality of access to information, and maintain our democratic society.

In acknowledging the responsibility of cities and towns to make public library services available to community residents, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners also recognizes that many libraries utilize supplemental funding sources to enhance and enrich public library service. Supplemental funding sources include: individual or corporate gifts given directly to the library; funds from local library trusts, foundations, or endowments; funds raised by friends of the library; and grant awards from state and federal governments or private foundations.

These sources help finance enhanced collections, new technologies, expanded or renovated facilities, enriched library programming, and innovative demonstration projects. Supplemental funding may also play a key role in supporting municipal funding initiatives, but cannot replace funds allocated annually by a city or town for public library service.

In light of the great need for enhancement and enrichment of library services in every community, large or small, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners encourages every public library in the commonwealth to develop and utilize supplemental funding sources.

The development of supplemental funding sources should be specified within the framework of the library's long range plan, and the use of supplemental funding should always support the library's goals and objectives.

Guideline Approved: June 3, 1993

Initial Policy Approval Date: October 6, 1994
Latest Policy Approval Date: September 10, 2009

Policy Expiration Date: September 10, 2010

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.
Page last updated on 11/12/2009