DATE: January 27, 2010
New Construction Regulations Increase Funding
On January 7, 2010, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners unanimously approved the revised 605 CMR 6.00: Library Improvement Program-Public Library Construction Regulations. Funds from this program provide aid to municipalities across the state in planning, designing and building of their public library. The benefit to citizens of the Commonwealth is expanded and improved public library collections, information services, programs offered, and greater access to library services.
One of the most significant changes in the regulations is an increase in the average grant award. Prior to the new regulations, communities received between 35% and 60% of the eligible project costs from the program. Under the new regulations, communities will receive on average 50% of eligible costs, with a cap of 75%. "The Commonwealth is supporting a substantial amount of eligible construction costs for new public libraries, making this program one of the most generous municipal construction grants in the United States," said MBLC Chair George T. Comeau. "It is the most significant program we have ever offered to advance the construction of new libraries in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."
The new regulations also extend the amount of time municipalities have to begin construction from nine months to twelve months. The eligible cost allowance for land values for land donated as the site of the library construction project was also increased from $400,000 to $800,000.
Sustainable construction is encouraged in the new regulations. Libraries will be able to plan and budget for energy-efficient systems and construction at the outset of the project. Library projects that attain the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification will receive additional funding. "This new program assures communities that the MBLC is serious about supporting the construction of new public libraries that will serve residents well into the new Century," said Chair Comeau.
Over the next several months, the MBLC will present construction grant information workshops to library directors, trustees, and supporters at two convenient locations across the state. The new regulations pave the way for launching the next Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program grant round later in 2010.
Funding for the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program was authorized by Governor Deval Patrick and the Legislature in the General Governmental Bonds Bill in 2008. The program was first funded by a state bond authorization in 1987. As of January 2010, 290 grants totaling over $304 million, have been awarded. Of these 81, have been for planning and design and 209 have been for construction, addition/renovation or special projects. For more information please visit: http://www.mass.gov/mblc/grants/construction/index.php
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.