Construction Bond and Annual Cap Fall Short


July 02, 2019
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

The Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) is set to receive $100 million in a new bond bill (H3687), falling short of the $250 million requested by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) to support the program. The MBLC also requested that the annual capital budget, the amount of funding the MPLCP can spend each year, be increased from $20 million to $25 million. The MBLC was recently notified that the annual capital budget will remain at $20 million for FY2020. MBLC staff is working with legislators and representatives from the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to secure more funding for the program and to raise the annual capital budget.

“We thank the Baker/Polito administration and the legislature for their continued support of the MPLCP, which is a national model and has had a positive impact on our local communities for over 30 years. We look forward to working with the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to better align the MPLCP with the Commonwealth’s capital budget plan and to shorten the time a community waits for funding,” said MBLC Director James Lonergan.

The funding shortfalls affect the MPLCP in several ways. There are currently 42 public libraries interested in a future Construction Grant Round, but without an additional bond authorization, the MBLC will not be able to offer one. The $100 bond authorization is also insufficient to completely fund all waitlisted projects. Additionally, waitlisted projects are affected by the failure to raise the annual capital budget. At its current level of $20 million the last project on the wait list will be funded in 2028, completed in 2033. Communities can expect to pay millions more for their projects due to the increased construction costs that come with waiting several years for the state funding needed to start projects.

MPLCP grants provide crucial funding that enables public libraries to meet the growing and rapidly changing demand for services. Statewide, attendance at public library programs has increased 49% since 2006 and every 5.5 seconds a Massachusetts resident accesses the Internet through a public library. The MPLCP has benefitted more than 250 towns and cities in Massachusetts since its inception in 1987. Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program projects are currently underway in Dartmouth, Erving, Hadley, Marlborough, Medford, Monterey, Norwell, Sherborn, Springfield, and Weymouth.

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.