News Release

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

DATE: January 08, 2008
CONTACT: Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

Board Adopts FY2009 Legislative Agenda

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) adopted a Legislative Agenda for FY2009 at its December 6, 2007 meeting. In a departure from recent years, this agenda focuses only on FY2009 and clearly shows how much ground has been lost in library funding since the budget cuts of FY2003. 

“The Patrick-Murray administration has truly opened the budget process this year,” said Robert C. Maier, MBLC director. The administration asked agencies to hold hearings on their budget requests this fall.  he Board held its hearing during its October meeting at the Worcester Public Library. Among the more than 100 people who gave testimony were librarians, trustees and library users. Subsequently, the Board received written testimony from 183 individuals. 

The message to the Board was clear—the 1.5% budget cap given to the Board by the administration is inadequate to meet the needs of library users and the Board needs to aggressively pursue funding increases to restore services lost or degraded over the last six years.

In developing this agenda the Board looked closely at the impact of inflation on State Aid to Public Libraries, Regional Library Systems and Library Technology & Resource Sharing. The Board also considered the ongoing impact of reduced staffing at the agency and determined that at least 3 professional positions need to be restored to meet statutory responsibilities.

Board Chairman, Dr. Em Claire Knowles, noted that “as libraries are used more and more, the impact of state funded programs becomes even more significant. Users want more electronic content, more resource sharing, and more library programming as our libraries fulfill their role as centers of civic engagement.”

A summary of the legislative agenda follows. The complete agenda may be found at:

Account 7000-9101 Administration of the Board of Library Commissioners
Previous High $1,229,472 (FY2001) FY2008 Budget $1,028,000 FY2009 Target $1,300,000
Account 7000-9401 State Aid to Regional Public Libraries and the Library of Last Recourse
Previous High $17,623,954 (FY2002) FY2008 Budget $16,616,071 FY2009 Target $22,558,661
Account 7000-9402 Talking Book Library (Worcester)
Previous High $415,000 (FY2008) FY2008 Budget $415,000 FY2009 Target $440,000
Account 7000-9406 Talking Book & Machine Lending Agency (Perkins)
Previous High $2,203,997 (FY2008) FY2008 Budget $2,203,997 FY2009 Target $2,739,425
Account 7000-9501 State Aid to Public Libraries
Previous High $9,949,804 (FY2001) FY2008 Budget $9,489,844 FY2009 Target $14,335,689
Account 7000-9506 Library Technology & Resource Sharing
Previous High $4,420,235 (FY2001) FY2008 Budget $2,851,000 FY2009 Target $7,000,000
Account 7000-9507 Public Libraries Fund
Previous High $250,000 (FY2008) FY2008 Budget $250,000 FY2009 Target $1,000,000

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( 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.

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