News Release

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

DATE: September 04, 2008
CONTACT: Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

MBLC holds last budget hearing; public testimony still accepted

Please note: the deadline for submission of public testimony has been extended to September 12, 2008

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) held the second of two public hearings on its FY2010 budget yesterday at Watertown Public Library.

Library supporters used the hearing as an opportunity to let the Board know the importance of libraries in their lives. Library Technology and Resource Sharing (State Budget Account 7000-9506) was the focus of several speakers who noted that FY2009 funding to this line item is still well below 2001 levels.

One library patron stated, “Of all the public services that I receive for my tax dollars, excepting for the dramatic need occasionally for police and fire, libraries are the most valuable thing for me. He went on to add, “A day doesn’t go by when I do not go online to do something with the library.”

MBLC Chair George T. Comeau encouraged members of the public and library supporters to continue to submit testimony. Comeau stressed the importance of public input in helping the Governor and the Legislature understand the gap between library needs and actual funding, “It’s the voices of our children, parents, immigrants, seniors, job seekers…it’s your voices and your stories that put a face to libraries and help our leaders understand that having libraries that provide free, open, and equal access to all is not simply nice, it is an absolute necessity.”

Each year the Office of Administration and Finance seeks to regulate state spending by providing government agencies with a budget cap. The FY 2009 cap for the MBLC budget was 1.5%. This year the Board was given a -1.5% (negative) budget cap, meaning the MBLC would need to reduce an already trim budget.

While the budget cap is meant to act as a guide in the budget process, the MBLC will create the FY2010 Legislative Agenda based on funding needs that go beyond the budget cap. Last year the Board compiled the FY09 budget hearing testimony and presented it to the Governor and the Legislature. MBLC Director Robert C. Maier called the testimony instrumental in helping the Board receive modest increases in the FY09 budget.

Brief selection of budget testimony video (click image to view):

Photo of George Comeau

George Comeau

Photo of Richard Baker

Richard Baker

Photo of Harold Williams

Harold Williams

Photo of Kathleen Baxter

Kathleen Baxter

Photo of MBLC Director Robert Maier

Robert Maier

Photo of Steven Rothstein

Steven Rothstein

Photo of Susan McAlister

Susan McAlister

(Transcripts available here)

The MBLC prefers to receive comments via email, but they may also be faxed or mailed.
Fax: 617-725-0140
Regular mail: Robert C. Maier, Director, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners 98 North Washington Street, Suite 401 Boston, MA 02114

Information about MBLC funding may be found on the Board’s web site:
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
The FY 2009 Budget
The FY2009 Legislative Agenda
MBLC Budget History FY2001—FY2008

Correction: the deadline date for public testimony (October 8, 2008) which appeared in the August 13, 2008 News Release was incorrect.

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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