MBLC Adopts the FY2021 Legislative Agenda


September 18, 2019
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

At its September 3, 2019 Board Meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) unanimously approved the FY 2021 Legislative Agenda.  The agenda builds on the FY2020 increases that occurred in six of the lines overseen by the MBLC and requests a 21.2% increase for State Aid to Public Libraries (7000-9501). “We know that state aid funding is of key importance to libraries,” said MBLC Director James Lonergan, referring to the yearly survey that the MBLC conducts to gauge which budget lines are priorities for libraries before forming the legislative agenda.

State Aid to Public Libraries funding is local aid that can be used by libraries in any way that supports library services.  In the survey, many librarians included comments about the importance of state aid funding to their everyday operations. “State Aid is essential to less affluent communities. It levels (somewhat) the playing field between the “haves” and the “have nots,” commented one librarian. “This funding is essential for libraries to remain open,” said another.  The State Aid Program is at the center of reciprocal borrowing which gives residents equal access to more than 59 million items no matter where they live.

The FY2021 Legislative Agenda also requests a 12.5 % increase for the Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) which has been level funded since FY2016.  The MCB connects Massachusetts libraries to programs and resources of the Library of Congress including the national Letters About Literature student writing and reading program and spearheading an East Coast collaborative reading project, Route 1 Reads and works within the Commonwealth to enhance library programming with statewide impact.

Representatives from the Massachusetts Library System, Boston Public Library, CWMARS Network, the Minuteman Library Network, Metro Boston Library Network, the Massachusetts Library Association, the Western Massachusetts Library Advocates, and the Massachusetts School Library Association were all present at the meeting and endorsed the FY2021 legislative agenda. The FY2021 request for each budget line can be seen 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.