NEWS RELEASE

Governor Baker Releases Budget Proposal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 27, 2017
Celeste Bruno
Communication Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208
celeste.bruno@state.ma.us

Governor Baker Releases Budget Proposal

On January 25th, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker released his $40.5 billion FY2018 budget, an overall spending increase of 4.3% over FY2017. The seven line items overseen by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) all received a 1% increase, for a total budget increase of $251,671. This is the first time since FY2015 that every line item is seeing an increase. The per capita that funds the Library for the Commonwealth was kept at 40.7 cents per resident in the proposed budget.

In it’s FY2018 legislative agenda, the MBLC requested a total increase in all of its lines to prevent reductions in library services.

Statewide delivery through the Massachusetts Library System (MLS), line item 7000-9401, delivers 6.4 million items each year that residents request from other libraries. Without a further increase, delivery service will be reduced at 25 libraries, and Saturday delivery will be eliminated at 75 libraries. Each item is delivered for less than the cost of a postage stamp through this program.

Line item 7000-9506, Library Technology and Resource Sharing, received a $20,766 increase to bring it to $2,097,330. This is below the $3,259,000 requested by the MBLC. The funding is needed to improve infrastructure of the nine automated resource sharing Networks in order to increase Internet bandwidth. Currently, 360 libraries in the Commonwealth are below FCC guidelines for bandwidth. It would also go towards offsetting the cost of network membership for 328 libraries. Membership in a network allows residents access to materials from across the state. This is especially important to residents in smaller communities, 162 of which participate in the MBLC’s Small Libraries in Networks Program to help offset the cost of membership.

The MBLC’s administrative line, 7000-9101, has been in deficit for 14 months. Despite an increase of $10,774, the line still falls well below the $147,569 needed to close the deficit. Funding is currently at 1998 levels, and supports a small staff that runs statewide programs and services, including State Aid to Public Libraries, and the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program.

The House Committee on Ways and Means will now begin crafting their own to be debated by House members in April. Following passage of the House version of the budget, the Senate will vote on their own version in May. A conference committee will reconcile any differences between the two versions, and the FY2018 budget will be sent to the Governor to be put into place by July 1, 2017. More information on the budget process, and a detailed budget chart can be found here.

About MBLC

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.