News Release

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: February 04, 2008
CONTACT: Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208
celeste.bruno@state.ma.us


Support for Libraries Clear at First Legislative Breakfast

Representatives Evangelidis (left) and Spellane are hopeful about library funding.

Representatives Evangelidis (left) and Spellane are hopeful about library funding.

At the first Legislative Breakfast of the season held at Worcester Public Library on February 1, the message from the nine state legislators who attended the event was clear: libraries are a priority. Many called for libraries to be fully-funded. “It is our objective over the next several years to get back full funding,” stated Representative Robert P. Spellane. Representative Lewis G. Evangelidis added, “This administration supports libraries.” Senator Edward M. Augustus Jr. highlighted gains that libraries have made through the Public Library Incentive Grant Program which he sponsored. “Libraries have been able to leverage 5 million dollars of state funds through this program,” he noted. He also called the Library Construction Bond Bill “long overdue.”

Jeanelle Wheeler and her proud parents

Jeanelle Wheeler and her proud parents

While legislators vowed to work towards full funding for libraries, inspiration to make full funding a reality came from the morning’s youngest speaker, 11 year old Jeanelle Wheeler. “I’ve been coming to the library since I was 18 months old, or maybe even younger. I’ve participated in story time, movies, heard authors speak, seen puppet, mime and animal shows—all which probably would have cost me a lot of money,” she stated.

Carolyn Noah, Administrator for the Central Massachusetts Regional Library System, and Senator Edward M. Augustus talk about the future of libraries.

Carolyn Noah, Administrator for the Central Massachusetts Regional Library System, and Senator Edward M. Augustus talk about the future of libraries.

Jeanelle enjoys the library’s book discussion groups and has started one for third graders at her school. “I would probably have my nose in a book every minute of every day if I could,” she said. My favorite place in the world is Worcester Public Library; so many people depend on it.”

Representative Karyn E. Polito (2nd from left) meets with library supporters.

Representative Karyn E. Polito (2nd from left) meets with library supporters.

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioner’s (MBLC) Director Robert C. Maier pointed to Jeanelle as an example of the difference libraries can make in the lives of our young people, “If we want to build a generation of people like Jeanelle then we need to make sure libraries are open, certified, well-staffed, and well-funded.” He added that while state aid for education has increased 21% and general government local aid has increased 9% since 2001; funding for State Aid to Public Libraries and State Aid to Regional Public Libraries are both 4% below 2001 levels.

MBLC Commissioner, Katherine Dibble and MBLC Deputy Director, Nancy Rea.

MBLC Commissioner, Katherine Dibble and MBLC Deputy Director, Nancy Rea

Hope for robust library funding was tempered by what many perceive as tough economic times. Senator Harriette L.Chandler recognized the need for library construction and renovation and applauded the Massachusetts Public Libraries Construction Program but is taking a prudent look at funding in what she called a tough year, “Libraries are a priority for everyone but we need to find a measure of balance.”

Representative Karyn E. Polito views tough economic times as the very reason libraries need to be fully-funded, “People turn to their libraries especially during tough economic times. They make sacrifices in other areas of their lives, but there are no barriers to using the library,” she stated. MBLC Commissioner Katherine Dibble’s comments perhaps best captured sentiments of the crowd of over 60 individuals in attendance. “Libraries provide an invaluable service. We have financial needs now. We’d rather not wait years to be fully funded.”

Legislative Breakfasts are an opportunity for the library community to meet and talk with state legislators about the services libraries offer and the funds needed to ensure that the Commonwealth’s libraries continue to be accessible to all residents.

More Information:

For more information on the MBLC’s Legislative Agenda http://mblc.state.ma.us/mblc/news/releases/pastreleases/2008/nr080108.php
For more information on Public Library Incentive Grant Program visit:
http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/plf/index.php
For more information on the Public Libraries Construction visit: http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/construction/index.php
For more information on the Governor’s Bond Bill please visit: http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=pressreleases&agId=Agov3&prModName=gov3pressrelease&prFile=080104_capital_bond_bill.xtml

The schedule for upcoming Legislative Breakfasts is as follows:

DATE TIME PLACE EVENT

Friday,
February 1, 2008

8:00AM

Worcester Public Library

CMRLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
February 8, 2008

8:00AM

Milford Town Library

CMRLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
February 15, 2008

8:00AM

Leominster Public Library

CMRLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
February 29, 2008

8:00AM

Harvard Public Library

CMRLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
February 29, 2008

8:30AM

Holyoke Public Library

WMRLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
February 29, 2008

8:00AM

Chateau Restaurant
48 Bay Road
Norton

SEMLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
March 7, 2008

8:00AM

North Adams Public Library

WMRLS
Berkshire Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
March 7, 2008

8:00AM

Haston Free Public Library, North Brookfield

CMRLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
March 7, 2008

7:30AM

Hampden Free Public Library

WMRLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
March 7, 2008

8:00AM

Samuel S. Pollard Memorial Library, Lowell

NMRLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
March 14, 2008

7:30AM

Palmer Public Library

WMRLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
March 14, 2008

7:30AM

Chicopee Comprehensive High School

WMRLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
March 14, 2008

8:00AM

Belmont Public Library

MMRLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
March 14, 2008

8:00AM

Needham Free Public Library

MMRLS Legislative Breakfast

Friday,
March 21, 2008

7:30AM

Jones Library Inc.
Amherst

WMRLS
Legislative Breakfast

About MBLC

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.

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Page last updated on 04/8/2008