News Release

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

DATE: February 17, 2009
CONTACT: Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

State Aid Spared in Latest Round of Cuts

On Wednesday, January 28, 2009 Governor Deval Patrick announced his list of budget reductions to the FY2009 state budget. State Aid to Public Libraries (Line Item 9501) received no reductions. “State Aid funds go directly to the municipalities and will certainly help libraries continue to provide services that people have come to depend on in these difficult economic times,” said Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) Chair George T. Comeau. “We appreciate the Governor recognizing how heavily libraries are being used,” added MBLC Director Robert C. Maier.

State Aid to Regional Libraries (Line Item 9401) also remains intact for FY2009. The remainder of MBLC accounts, which were cut in the October, 2008 round of state budget cuts, experienced further reductions. Cuts to the FY2009 budget will be implemented immediately as the Governor is required by state law to balance the annual state budget which ends June 30, 2009.

The outlook for FY2010 is sobering. The Governor announced his FY2010 budget which will require further reductions in the MBLC’s lean budget. Reductions include a cut of over $2 million in State Aid to Regional Libraries and a cut of close to $1.5 from State Aid to Public Libraries. Please see chart below for details.

The Board has already started meeting with regional library systems and automated library networks to come up with ways in which they can be even more efficient. “Historically for libraries, our cooperation and connection to each other have helped us squeeze every penny out of the funding we’ve been given; but like every other organization in the state, we need to dig deeper, examine closely ways in which we can improve, and make what may be tough choices,” says Maier.

The Governor’s FY2010 budget also provides authorization for the Board of Library Commissioners to award waivers of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) “in excess of the waiver limit set” in statute. The MAR, which is one of the program requirements to be a State Aid certified library, is municipal funding that supports the public library. Current law limits the number of MAR waivers the Board may award to sixty five. In FY 2010 there would be no limit to the number of waivers. Twenty-six libraries have applied for MAR waivers for FY2009. 

Over the next several months both the House and Senate will be developing their own versions of the FY2010 state budget. The FY2010 state budget begins on July 1, 2009. Complete information about the FY2009 and FY2010 budgets may be found at For the MBLC budget history please visit

Line Item FY2009 FY2009 After October 2008 9C Cuts FY2009 After January 2009 9C Cuts FY2010 proposed budget
7000-9101 Board of Library Commissioners $1,048,560 $1,048,560 $1,042,269 $1,042,272
7000-9401 State Aid to Regional Libraries $17,166,071 $17,166,071 $17,166,071 $14,705,068*
7000-9402 Talking Book Library (Worcester) $440,000 $423,685 $421,143 $375,518
7000-9406 Talking Book & Machine Lending (Perkins) $2,341,359 $2,254,543 $2,241,016 $1,998,236
7000-9501 State Aid to Public Libraries $9,989,844 $9,989,844 $9,989,844 $8,557,657**
7000-9506 Library Technology & Resource Sharing $2,851,000 $2,816,000 $2,799,104 $2,478,267
7000-9507 Public Library Incentive Grant Program $250,000 $0 $0 $0
*For FY2010 the Governor’s budget funds the Library of Last Recourse (Boston Public Library) at $0.985 per capita.
**For FY2010 the Governor’s budget provides authorization for the Board of Library Commissioners to award waivers of the M.A.R. “in excess of the waiver limit set” in statute (no limit).

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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