No Funding Increase for Libraries in House Recommendation


April 13, 2016
Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

The House Committee on Ways and Means announced its FY 2017 budget recommendation on April 13. Statewide resource sharing is the library community's priority in the FY 2017 Legislative Agenda. However, the four Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) line items that make resource sharing possible were all funded to levels that sustain previous funding reductions. Those lines are the MBLC's administrative line (7000-9101), Technology and Resource Sharing (7000-9506), State Aid to Regional Libraries (7000-9401), and State Aid to Public Libraries (7000-9501).

Statewide resource sharing saves local communities money while increasing patron access to resources. In 2014, residents were able to borrow 6.5 million items that their own libraries didn't have through resource sharing.

The MBLC's administrative line (7000-9101) is currently running in deficit and is funded below FY 2001 levels. The MBLC is responsible for heading up statewide programs and services that impact all residents.

The House recommended $2,076,564 to Technology and Resource Sharing (7000-9506). This amount keeps the $652,674 (24%) budget cut imposed last year, impacting all Massachusetts libraries and automated library networks. With the current House Ways and Means budget recommendation, library networks will either increase the fee libraries pay to be network members or scale back the services they are able to offer.

The House Recommendation also sustains the reductions to State Aid to Regional Libraries (7000-9401). Delivery of items that residents request through resource sharing will be impacted and digital resources available to residents may also be limited. State Aid to Public Libraries (7000-9501), which provides the foundation for resource sharing, is funded lower than it was in 2006.

The Talking Book Library (Worcester, 7000-9402) and the Talking Book & Machine Lending Library (Perkins, 7000-9406) were funded to their FY 2016 level, which is also their funding high. The Massachusetts Center for the Book (7000-9508) was not included in the budget recommendations.

Members of the House have until Friday, April 15 at 5 p.m. to file amendments to the budget. Library leaders are working with legislators to file several amendments that will 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 25. Following its passage, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means will release its budget recommendations.

Below is the House Ways and Means budget recommendation. Lines shaded in gray are necessary to statewide resource sharing.

Item No. Item Name FY 2016 Current Budget FY 2017 Request (Legislative Agenda) Historic High FY 2017 Governor's Budget FY 2017 House Ways and Means Budget Recommendation
7000-9101 Board of Library Commissioners $1,077,431 $1,225,000 $1,229,472
(FY 2001)
$1,077,431 $1,077,431
7000-9401 State Aid to Regional Libraries $9,888,482
+$55,000 (earmark)
$10,940,475 $17,623,954
(FY 2002)
$9,883,482* $9,883,482^
7000-9501 State Aid to Public Libraries $9,000,000
+$29,000 (earmark)
$13,500,000 $9,989,844
(FY 2009)
$9,000,000 $9,000,000
7000-9506 Library Technology & Resource Sharing $2,076,564
+$40,000 (earmark)
$6,000,000 $4,420,235
(FY 2001)
$2,076,564 $2,076,564
7000-9402 Talking Book Library (Worcester) $446,828 $460,233 $446,828
(FY 2016)
$446,828 $446,828
7000-9406 Talking Book & Machine Lending (Perkins) $2,516,693 $2,592,194 $2,516,693
(FY 2016)
$2,516,693 $2,516,693
7000-9508 MA Center for the Book, Inc. $200,000 $206,000 $200,000
(FY 2016)
$200,000 -
TOTAL: $25,324,998 $34,923,902 $36,427,026 $25,200,998 $25,200,998

* 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.