Library Line Items Lowered in Conference Committee Budget


July 11, 2017
Matthew Perry
Outreach Coordinator
1-800-952-7403 x240

On Friday, July 7, the Massachusetts Legislature approved the budget agreement made by the Conference Committee. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) saw dramatic reductions in funding compared to the final versions of both the House and Senate budgets.

“It is disappointing that the levels of funding voted on previously were not held” said MBLC Chair Mary Ann Cluggish. “This jeopardizes vital library programs including interlibrary loan and delivery services, services for the blind and visually impaired, statewide eBook and audiobook collections, and improved bandwidth that would provide reliable internet connections for libraries and help Massachusetts meet FCC standards.”

The MBLC’s administrative line was level funded at $1,077,431. This final figure is below the Governor’s budget recommendation and House Ways and Means budget recommendation, which raised the line to $1,088,205, and the Senate Ways and Means recommendation which funded the line at $1,225,000.

State Aid to Regional Libraries (7000-9401), State Aid to Public Libraries (7000-9501), and Technology and Resource Sharing (7000-9506) all received increases of 1% bringing them to $9,982,317, $9,090,000, and $2,097,330 respectively. However, these increases are well below what was voted on in the final versions of the House and Senate budgets.

The Perkins Talking Book and Machine Lending Library (7000-9406) also saw a 1% increase in funding over FY2017 with a total of $2,512,772. The Worcester Talking Book library (7000-9402) received an earmarked increase of $50,000, bringing its total to $491,715. These funds are to be used for a bookmobile at the Worcester Public library resulting in a decrease for services to the blind.

The Massachusetts Center for the Book was level funded to its FY2017 amount of $200,000 after not being included in the final version of the Senate budget.

The budget will now be sent to the Governor for his signature and any vetoes he may have. The House and Senate may decide to override the governor's line item vetoes and reductions in funding for line item budgets.

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.