MBLC Awards First Round of State Aid


November 17, 2016
Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

At its November meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) approved the disbursement of FY 2017 State Aid awards, totaling $689,630 to 74 municipalities that met State Aid to Public Libraries Program requirements. The awards are roughly half of the total state aid funding that these libraries will receive. Following the Commonwealth's disbursement schedule, additional payments to libraries are expected toward the end of the grant cycle in the spring.

This round of awards also includes the reinstatement of the Langley Adams Library in Groveland, which was not able to apply for the State Aid to Public Libraries program last year after failing to meet the materials expenditure requirements. Groveland will receive $4,197.83 for its initial award.

Funding to the FY 2017 State Aid to Public Libraries Program totals $9 million, the same as it was in FY 2015 (before 9c cuts reduced it to $8,847,300) and FY 2016. Funding for the Program is well below its 2009 funding high of $9,989,844.

State aid funding is vital to the operation of the successful statewide library system because it provides the basis for sharing library resources across the Commonwealth. Libraries that are certified in the state aid program work together to give residents access to more than 40 million items beyond what their local library is able to offer.

This funding is also critical to the operation of local libraries. Libraries use state aid funding to join automated library networks, supporting better technology in libraries and to facilitate the sharing of library resources.

“State Aid is local aid that allows libraries to meet their patron's needs” said Mary Rose Quinn, the MBLC's head of state programs and government liaison. “As demand for library services continues to increase, resource sharing is vital in allowing residents to access items and saves libraries money by allowing access to millions more items than their local collections can hold or afford.”

The Board is scheduled to consider the next round of libraries that meet full program requirements at its December meeting. Libraries that are not able to meet full requirements may be eligible to use the accommodation policy 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 in February.

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.

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.