News Release

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

DATE: December 07, 2010
CONTACT: Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

Board Receives -7.75% Budget Cap

On Friday, December 3, 2010 the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) received its FY2012 budget cap from the Executive Office of Administration and Finance (ANF).  ANF begins the state budget process by providing government agencies with a budget cap that each agency must use to submit a budget that stays within the allotted amount. The FY2012 budget cap of -7.75% (negative) marks the third consecutive year the MBLC has received a budget cap that requires the agency to reduce funding to vital library programs at a time when library usage is at historic highs. In FY2010 the reduction was -1.5% (negative) and in FY2011 it was close to -17% (negative). The MBLC is required to submit a FY2012 budget with the mandated budget cap by December 10, 2010. The Board has called a special meeting for December 9, 2010 at 1:00 in its Boston office to discuss FY2012 funding concerns.

Since July, 1, 2008 state spending has been reduced by 11.6%. During that same time period, state spending on libraries (MBLC accounts) has been cut 38% from $34.1 million to $21.1 million. “We understand that the state is still in the process of recovering from the economic downturn. For many residents, libraries have been an essential resource in the recovery process. People trying to save money or looking for assistance with their job searches are turning to their libraries in record numbers. Continual disproportionate reductions to library funding jeopardize the very services that residents depend on,” said MBLC Chair Katherine Dibble.

In response to the FY2011 budget cap of nearly -17% the MBLC, the Massachusetts Regional Library Systems and library representatives from across the state developed a plan that consolidated six regional library systems into one. The new single entity called the Massachusetts Library System began operation in July, 2010 offering core services such as delivery for interlibrary loan and training for library staff.

This consolidation is the latest in a long history of efforts to provide the best possible library services at the lowest possible cost. Under the MBLC’s leadership, library services have been automated and streamlined, cooperative purchasing agreements have been established and many needs of the local libraries and residents are addressed through statewide contracts, services and grants. “The Board has done everything it can to be as efficient as possible, but given the huge surge in library usage, libraries are at their limit,” said Dibble.  See chart below for information on library usage and funding since FY2000.

Library Usage: FY2000-FY2010

Library Visits

50% increase

Interlibrary Loan

350% increase
Attendance at Programs 29% increase
Circulation 29% increase
Internet Sessions 128% increase
Library Funding to MBLC: FY2001-FY2011
Board of Library Commissioners
23% decrease
State Aid to Regional Libraries
48% decrease
State Aid to Public Libraries
31% decrease
Library Technology and Resource Sharing
56% decrease

The MBLC has developed its FY2012 Legislative Agenda in which it proposes increases to library funding in order to adequately meet the increased demand for library services. For more information, please see

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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