DATE: January 08, 2013
State Aid Awards and Waivers
At its January Board Meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners approved additional libraries meeting all FY2013 requirements for the State Aid to Public Libraries Program. Thirteen libraries were awarded $86, 996. 26. There is still one library remaining that will be presented to the Board at its February meeting.
The MBLC awarded the first round of state aid funding in November when it approved the disbursement of FY2013 State Aid awards, totaling $360,326 to 71 municipalities. The second round, totaling $1.5 million to 167 libraries, was awarded in December, 2012. State Aid 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.
Commissioners also considered waivers of the Municipal Appropriations Requirement (MAR) for ninety two applicants. This is the lowest number of MAR waiver applicants since 2009. Of the ninety two libraries that applied for FY2013 MAR waivers, seventy experienced budget increases, five were level funded, and seventeen had budget reductions. Four communities, Fairhaven, Saugus, West Tisbury, and Wrentham had cuts beyond the 10% budget reduction used as the benchmark for disproportionate cuts and made presentations to the Board regarding their budgets, services and future ability to meet requirements. The Board will vote on MAR waiver applications at the February 7, 2013 meeting.
More information about the State Aid to Public Libraries Program is available on the MBLC website along with a list of municipalities that are currently certified and those that are not certified in the program.
State aid is available to all municipalities and their libraries that apply and are certified annually by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) as meeting a municipal appropriation requirement [a local funding requirement] and certain minimum standards [including hours of opening and expenditures for library materials] of free public library service per M.G.L. c.78, s.19A & 19B and 605 CMR 4.00. State Aid to Public Libraries consists of the Library Incentive Grant (LIG), the Municipal Equalization Grant (MEG) and the Nonresident Circulation Offset (NRC). These three awards are disbursed to each municipality meeting the requirements using different formulas (per capita for the LIG; variant of the lottery formula, using population and EQV, for the MEG; and per transaction formula for the NRC).
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.