112 Libraries Certified in First Round State Aid


November 06, 2018
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

At its November Board meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) approved the disbursement of the first round of FY 2019 State Aid awards totaling $1,559,545.88 to 112 municipalities that have 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.

Among the certified libraries is Wareham Free Library, which hasn’t been certified since 2014. Commissioners were pleased to welcome Wareham back into the State Aid to Public Libraries Program and Chair Roland Ochsenbein presented Wareham representatives Priscilla Porter and Steve Rogers with the certificate typically mailed to libraries that are certified in the program. In 2014 the library’s petition for a waiver of the FY2014 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) was denied due to budget cuts at the municipal level and the library lost certification.

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 53 million items beyond what their local library is able to offer.

This funding is also vital to the operation of local libraries. Libraries often use state aid funding to join automated library networks, supporting better technology in libraries and facilitating the sharing of library resources. Residents received more than 15 million items through resource sharing last year.

Funding to the FY2019 State Aid to Public Libraries Program totals $9,362,700 (does not include $250,000 in earmarks), roughly $500,000 lower than the historic high in FY2001. 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 all 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.