DATE: November 21, 2008
MBLC Awards Libraries over $1.6 million in State Aid
At its November Board Meeting the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners approved partial FY2009 State Aid awards, totaling more than $1.6 million to 123 municipalities that have met State Aid to Public Libraries Program requirements.
Concerns over the possibility of mid-term budget cuts fueled the Board’s decision not to make full award amounts at this time. “We’re aware of a deepening economic downturn and want to make every effort to ensure that all libraries that are eligible get a fair share of State Aid funds,” said Board Chairman, George T. Comeau, referring to an estimated 210 libraries that have yet to have their State Aid applications considered by the Board.The Board is set to consider these applications at its December meeting.
Because the State Aid to Public Libraries Program provides local aid to cities and towns, funding to the program was not reduced by Governor Deval Patrick in the recent round of midyear budget reductions. The Governor may seek authority to reduce local aid accounts, including State Aid to Public Libraries, if the state economy worsens, later in the fiscal year.
The Board’s decision marks the third time since 1990 that partial State Aid awards have been granted. In 1991 the State Aid to Public Libraries Program received midyear budget cuts causing libraries to receive partial awards. In 2003 libraries again received partial State Aid awards but were later fully funded.
All certified municipalities will receive their full awards in June as long as the State Aid account remains uncut during the year.
For a complete list of FY2009 State Aid certified libraries and their awards please see: current awards list (MS Word)
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.