House Ways and Means Budget Recommendations Released


April 17, 2015
Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

The House Committee on Ways and Means announced its FY2016 budget recommendation on April 15, 2015. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) received an overall funding decrease of $1,163,741 from the original FY2015 budget. The levels are also lower than what was requested by MBLC in the FY2016 Legislative Agenda.

The two FY2016 priorities, State Aid to Public Libraries (7000-9501) and Technology and Resource Sharing (7000-9506), were hit the hardest, falling well below what was requested in the legislative agenda and what has been received in past budgets.

The House recommended a $652,674 reduction to Technology and Resource Sharing (7000-9506). The MBLC used modest FY2015 gains to this budget line to directly benefit small libraries, assisting more than 50 libraries with their membership in automated library networks. The recommended reductions in the House budget will impact this program.

The recommended reduction to State Aid to Public Libraries (7000-9501) totals more than $152,700. Libraries that are certified in the State Aid to Public Libraries program work together to give residents access to millions of items beyond what their local library is able to offer. Libraries also use their state aid funding to meet local community needs, such as buying computers, offering new and innovative programs, or simply keeping the library open during more hours.

As one librarian stated, "Without state aid, our library would be unable to afford membership in the CW/MARS consortium, and we would fail to provide even the most basic services expected of a modern library."

Funding for the Massachusetts Center for the Book (7000-9508) was eliminated completely.

This is the second round of cuts that MBLC has had to endure, after Governor Baker's 9C cuts took effect in February. These cuts reduced the FY2015 budget by $498,349 to help decrease the state's budget deficit.

The Commonwealth's libraries have seen a 39% increase in visits over the past 10 years, and a 25% increase in library computer usage since 2002. Massachusetts libraries have an annual circulation of over 56,000,000 items.

Members of the House have until Friday April 17, 2015 at 5pm to file amendments to the budget, and several will be filed to try and bring funding closer to the levels requested in the Legislative Agenda. The budget will be debated on the House floor during the week of April 27th. Following its passage, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means will release its budget recommendations.

Below is a breakdown of the funding, with the hardest-hit accounts highlighted in blue:

Line Item No. Line Item FY2016 Request (Legislative Agenda) FY2016 Governor's Budget FY2016 House Ways and Means Budget FY2015 Current Budget (after 9C cuts) FY2015 Budget (before 9C cuts) Historic High


Board of Library Commissioners








State Aid to Regional Libraries








Talking Book Library (Worcester)








Talking Book & Machine Lending (Perkins)








State Aid to Public Libraries








Library Technology & Resource Sharing








MA Center for the Book, Inc.



$0 (Eliminated)











* Library for the Commonwealth funded at 39.4 cents per capita
^ Library for the Commonwealth funded at 40.7 cents per capita

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.