DATE: November 19, 2008
Board Adopts FY2010 Legislative Agenda
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) adopted a Legislative Agenda for FY2010 at its November 6, 2008 meeting. The agenda aims to make modest gains, but also recognizes the $388,000 in 9C cuts implemented by Governor Deval Patrick in October (please see full article online here).“This agenda was developed over several months and is the result of a close cooperation between the Board and library advocates,” said MBLC Chairman, George T. Comeau.
This fall the MBLC was given a -1.5% (negative) budget cap by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, meaning the Board would have to reduce an already trim budget. After receiving testimony from hundreds of individuals during public budget hearings in August and September the Board developed an agenda that went beyond the cap, emphasizing gaps between what is needed to keep libraries running and current funding levels.
“The Board understands that we’re in a difficult economy,” said MBLC Director Robert C. Maier, “but library funding has not recovered from the last economic downturn in 2001 and with library usage soaring statewide, it has become increasingly difficult for libraries to keep pace.”
|Account 7000-9101 Administration of the Board of Library Commissioners
|Account 7000-9401 State Aid to Regional Public Libraries and the Library of Last Recourse
|Account 7000-9402 Talking Book Library (Worcester)
|Account 7000-9406 Talking Book & Machine Lending Agency (Perkins)
|Account 7000-9501 State Aid to Public Libraries
|Account 7000-9506 Library Technology & Resource Sharing
|Account 7000-9507 Public Libraries Fund
The agenda targets increases to State Aid to Public Libraries (Account 7000-9501), Regional Public Libraries and the Library of Last Recourse (Account 7000-9401) and Library Technology & Resource Sharing (Account 7000-9506). Current funding to Account 9401 is below 2002 levels while funding to Account 9506 is below 2001 levels.
“The Legislature and the Governor have always shown incredible support for public libraries and in these difficult financial times we will work closely with them to insure that they have the best information possible when building the budget,” said Comeau. “This agenda is a key element that we will use to tell our story before many decision makers on Beacon Hill.” A summary of the legislative agenda follows. The complete agenda may be found at:
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.