February 5, 2007
Director, Communications & Public Information
338 Municipalities Certified for FY2007
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners completed the State Aid to Public Libraries program for Fiscal Year 2007 on Thursday, February 1, 2007, and has certified a total of 338 public libraries.
Under statute and FY2007 state budget language, the Board is authorized to grant waivers of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) for one year "upon demonstration of fiscal hardship." The Board granted 17 waivers to the following communities. Ashland, Boston, Bridgewater, Chelsea, Dudley, Fall River, Florida, Lenox, Melrose, Newbury, North Andover, Saugus, Somerville, Springfield, Tyngsborough, Wenham and Wrentham.
The Board denied a FY2007 MAR waiver for the Town of Medway on the basis of a 52 percent cut to the library budget when compared to the overall municipal budget.
Following the vote, Dr. Em Claire Knowles, Chair of the Board, said, "On behalf of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, I am deeply sorry that we had to deny the Town of Medway certification in the State Aid to Public Libraries program for FY2007. I know this is a difficult decision for the citizens of Medway."
"However, the Board could not, in good conscience, grant Medway's request for a waiver with its extensive disproportionate cut in financial support for its library. I urge the citizens of Medway to become more cognizant in making sure that the library meets the minimum standards to gain state certification in the future."
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.