Two Library Priorities Funded in House Final Budget


May 02, 2016
Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has adopted its version of the FY 2017 state spending bill and has sent its budget on to the Senate. Statewide resource sharing is the library community's priority in the FY 2017 Legislative Agenda, and funding was increased to two of the four Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) line items that make resource sharing possible.

State Aid to Public Libraries (7000-9501) received an increase of $500,000. Funding from this line goes directly to local public libraries for use in any way that supports library services, including buying computers or keeping the library open. State Aid to Public Libraries is also the foundation for statewide resource sharing.

An amendment was also passed to increase funding to State Aid to Regional Libraries (7000-9401) by $250,000. The amendment raises the per capita funding to the Library for the Commonwealth at Boston Public Library from 40.7 cents to 44.7 cents. Funding to this line impacts the delivery of items that residents request through resource sharing and affects the availability of eBooks, research databases, and other statewide digital resources.

Amendments that would have increased funding to the other MBLC lines that support resource sharing failed. 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. Technology and Resource Sharing (7000-9506) is funded at a level that keeps the $652,674 (24%) budget cut imposed last year, impacting all Massachusetts libraries and automated library networks.

"These four budget lines work together to make the statewide resource sharing system possible," said MBLC Director Dianne Carty. "Without the increases, the entire system and the services residents depend on are at risk."

Statewide resource sharing saves local communities money while increasing patron access to resources. In 2014, residents borrowed 6.5 million items that their own libraries didn't have through resource sharing. For a community like Lawrence whose residents borrowed 45,000 items, it means a savings of $450,000. See what residents borrowed in each community.

An amendment to fund Massachusetts Center for the Book (7000-9508) at $200,000 passed. Since FY 2015, this budget line has increased 60%.

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.

Below are the details of the final House budget. The Senate Ways and Means Committee is expected to release its budget recommendations during the second week of May.

Item No. Item Name FY 2016 Current Budget FY 2017 Request (Legislative Agenda) Historic High FY 2017 Governor's Budget FY 2017 House Budget
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* $10,133,482^
7000-9501 State Aid to Public Libraries $9,000,000
+$29,000 (earmark)
$13,500,000 $9,989,844
(FY 2009)
$9,000,000 $9,500,000
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 $200,000
TOTAL: $25,324,998 $34,923,902 $36,427,026 $25,200,998 $25,950,998

* Library for the Commonwealth funded at 39.4 cents per capita
^ Library for the Commonwealth funded at 44.7 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.