Governor Baker Announces FY2020 Budget Recommendation


January 24, 2019
Matthew Perry
Outreach Coordinator
1-800-952-7403 x240

On January 23, 2019, Governor Baker released his budget proposal for FY2020. It includes a 3% increase for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners  administrative line (7000-9101),  a net 1% increase in funding for State Aid to Public Libraries (7000-9501), level funding for the Massachusetts Center for the Book (7000-9508), and a 1% increase for the other four line items overseen by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). A full budget chart can be seen here.

The $9,456,327 allotted to State Aid to Public Libraries marks a decrease of $156,373 over the total funding in FY2019, however the line included $250,000 in local earmarks last fiscal year, meaning this recommendation is a 1% increase over the pre-earmark funding. State Aid to Public Libraries is an annual, voluntary program administered by the MBLC that distributes local aid to municipalities. The funds received through State Aid can be used for any purpose that supports the library.

State Aid to Regional Libraries (7000-9401) was one of the priorities listed in the MBLC’s FY2020 Legislative Agenda. The line funds two organizations, the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) and the Library for the Commonwealth (LFC) at Boston Public Library. The recommended funding of $10,384,961 falls short of the $11,516,000 request made and jeopardizes statewide delivery and resource sharing provided by MLS.

Technology and Resource Sharing (7000-9506) is the other priority in the Legislative Agenda and was funded below the ask of $3,259,000 at $2,848,279. It remains much lower than its funding high of $4,420,235 which it received 19 years ago in FY2001. Despite the lack of funding, technology has continued to change, posing a challenge to libraries and the nine Automated Library Networks.

The Massachusetts Center for the Book was level funded again at $200,000. The Center operates as an affiliate of a federal agency, the Library of Congress (LOC), and represents the Commonwealth in several high-profile national initiatives, providing links for Massachusetts libraries to the programs and resources of LOC. It has received the same level of funding since FY2016.

The Worcester Talking Book Library (7000-9402), and the Perkins Library (7000-9406) both received a 1% increase in funding.

The House Committee on Ways and Means will now develop their own budget to be debated by House members in April. Following passage of the House version of the budget, the Senate will vote on their version in May. A conference committee will reconcile any differences between the two versions, and the FY2020 budget will be sent to the Governor to be put into place by July 1, 2019.

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.