DATE: November 09, 2012
MBLC Awards 1st Round of State Aid
At its November Board Meeting the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners approved the disbursement of FY2013 State Aid awards, totaling $360,326 to 71 municipalities that have met State Aid to Public Libraries Program requirements. The awards are roughly half of the total state aid funding that libraries will receive. Since 2008 the economic climate and concerns over library funding have prompted the Board to make partial awards. Additional payments to libraries are expected toward the end of the grant cycle in the spring.
Funding from the State Aid to Public Library Program goes directly to support public library services. "At a time when my municipal budget is almost entirely spoken for by operational costs and keeping core services afloat, my State Aid award is my only avenue for tackling the goals in our Long Range Plan that push our library forward and help us better serve our residents," said Amesbury Library Director Patty Ditullo.
Total FY2013 funding to the State Aid to Public Libraries program is $6,823,657 where it has been since FY2010. This is 31% lower than the FY2009 high of $9,989,844 and the MBLC has made increased funding to the State Aid to Public Libraries program a priority in the FY2014 Legislative Agenda.
The reciprocity that comes with library certification in the State Aid program is often what patrons value most. It allows them to use any State Aid certified library in the Commonwealth and gives patrons access to more than 37 million items available through the shared library system. In FY2012 residents borrowed 11.4 million items from libraries outside their own community.
The Board is scheduled to consider the second round of libraries that meet program requirements at is December meeting. Libraries that are not able to meet all requirements may use the accommodations built-in to the program to attain certification. Libraries that are not able to meet the program’s funding requirement, may apply for a waiver. Waiver petitions are reviewed by the Board during its meeting in January and are voted on at their February meeting.
Participation in the State Aid to Public Libraries Program is voluntary. It is administered in accordance with statutory and regulatory minimum standards of free public library service. The program encourages municipalities to support and improve public library service, compensates for disparities among municipal funding capacities, and offsets the cost of circulating public library materials to residents across the state.
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.