MBLC Adopts FY2020 Legislative Agenda


October 11, 2018
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

At its October Board Meeting the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) adopted the FY2020 Legislative Agenda. Funding to the MBLC impacts library services across the Commonwealth. “We appreciate the funding we received last year, but libraries need sustained funding in order to meet the needs of the residents we serve,” said MBLC Director James Lonergan. “State funding to libraries is lower than it was in 2001 and much has changed since then, especially technology,” he added.

Funding to support technology through MBLC budget line 7000-9506 Library Technology & Resource Sharing is a focus of the FY2020 agenda and the MBLC is asking for an additional $443,072 that will be invested in technology and in increasing digital collections. The MBLC is also requesting an increase in funding to support library delivery through the Massachusetts Library System in budget line 7000-9401. Each year residents receive millions of items through library delivery, but delivery costs have increased 45% since 2011 and state funding has not kept pace. This increase also supports sharing both digital and physical resources through the Boston Public Library as the Library for the Commonwealth.

The MBLC is also asking for a new bond authorization to support its highly successful Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP). There are currently 19 libraries waitlisted for construction funds through the MPLCP. Over 35 million children, teens, and adults visited a public library in the past year, more than attended Red Sox, Bruins, and Patriots games combined. Yet many public libraries were built before computers existed and for populations much smaller than the ones they serve today.  The MBLC is requesting $250 million in a new bond authorization that will fund the waitlisted libraries and pave the way for a new grant round.

The MBLC develops the legislative agenda with extensive input from the library community, including a statewide survey and in-person testimony at board meetings. The full FY2020 Legislative Agenda funding request is available on the MBLC website.

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.

19 libraries