DATE: February 07, 2011
MBLC spared further cuts in Governor's budget
On January 26, 2011 Governor Deval Patrick released his proposed FY2012 budget with near level funding to support libraries. Based on a December directive from the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) had anticipated a budget reduction of 7.75%. However, in this initial phase of the budget process, only the MBLC's administrative account is subject to the 7.75% reduction. All other accounts are level funded.
"In a tight funding climate the Governor has recognized the importance of our libraries and the growing demand for library services across the Commonwealth, said Katherine Dibble, MBLC Chair. This is a positive first step in the recovery process for libraries which have suffered drastic funding reductions in the last few years." In the past decade libraries have experienced a dramatic surge in usage, including a 50% increase in library visits, while experiencing a 39% reduction in state funding to support libraries.
MBLC Director Robert C. Maier also considers the Governor'sbudget as an acknowledgement of the valuable services libraries provide, "In this fiscal environment, to receive nearly level funding across the board is very significant."
However, concern remains about the gap that still exists between current funding and the resources needed to meet the actual demand for service from library users across the state. "Our focus now turns to the work we need to do to sustain and improve on this budget as we work with the Legislature," said Maier.
Level funding for FY2012 follows an FY2011 budget reduction of close to 17% which led to the consolidation of six regional systems into a single entity, the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) that began operations July 1, 2010. Since FY2009 state spending on libraries (MBLC accounts) has been reduced from $34.1 million to $21.1 million.
The MBLC's budgets are available on the agency's website:
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.