February 3, 2005
Director, Communications & Public Information
Governor Recommends an Increase in Library Funding
Boston - Governor Mitt Romney in his budget recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year, released last week, proposed an increase in funding for library service across the Commonwealth. The FY2006 House I budget recommendation includes an increase of almost $95,000 in the administrative account of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), and a $150,000 increase in the Library Technology and Resource Sharing account.
"Coming as it does at a time of only modest economic recovery, we are especially grateful for the Administration's increased support," said Commissioner John E. Arnold, Chairman. "Strong libraries support the Governor's goals in education, health care and economic development by providing information, programs and expertise to our citizens. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners works to provide equity of access to library resources statewide by supporting programs that link libraries and enable them to effectively and efficiently share resources."
"We believe this is the first time that a Governor has proposed increases beyond cost-of-living increases for staff of the Board," said Robert C. Maier, Director. "Funds in the MBLC administrative account will, in part, permit us to fill the Head of Library Development/Deputy Director position that has been vacant since October 2002. The $150,000 increase in the Library Technology & Resource Sharing account will be distributed to the nine automated library networks where it will reduce costs for member libraries and ease their local budgets," continued Maier.
This is an important first step toward the Board's legislative agenda for FY2006 that requests further increased funding of the Library Technology & Resource Sharing account and authorization of a new library construction bond at $75 million that has been introduced in the Senate. The House and Senate Ways and Means Committees are now reviewing this budget and developing their own recommendations.
The Board of Library Commissioners (mass.gov/mblc) is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.