Hancock among the 183 Libraries Certified in First Round State Aid


November 12, 2019
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 2020 State Aid awards totaling $2,271,072 to 183 municipalities  that have met State Aid to Public Libraries Program requirements.  For the first time since 1975, Hancock Public Library is among them.  “Becoming a member again is important for the community and the library.  We are looking forward to offering more than the four walls of our little library can hold and share it with our community,” said Library Director Connie Chase.

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 59 million items beyond what their local library is able to offer. “This kind of access is particularly important for small communities like Hancock,” said Liz Babbitt, State Aid Specialist at the MBLC. “It means that Hancock residents have the same access to library materials as residents of large cities like Boston or Springfield.”

The State Aid to Public Libraries Program is funded through state budget line 7000-9501. Funding to this line has rebounded slightly in recent years but it is still lower than it was in 2009* and makes up less than 3% of libraries’ total operating income. MBLC Commissioners have made increased funding to State Aid to Public Libraries a priority in the FY2021 Legislative Agenda.  

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.

*when earmarks are subtracted

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.