House Releases Proposed FY2021 Budget


November 09, 2020
Matthew Perry
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x240

On November 5, 2020, the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee released their budget proposal for FY2021. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor’s initial budget originally released in January has not yet been voted on, and the state has been operating on  short-term budgets with level funding from FY2020. This budget proposal follows the revised budget Governor Baker released in October. The proposal increases or level funds all MBLC budget lines.

“We know how fiscally challenging this year has been,” said MBLC Director James Lonergan. “This funding demonstrates that library services are valued for their educational and economic impact on the communities and residents they serve. We hope these funding levels are maintained in the final FY2021 budget.”

State Aid to Public Libraries (7000-9501) is the focus of the FY2021 MBLC Legislative Agenda. The House has proposed $10,059,081 for the line, the amount given last year when earmarks are included. 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.

Technology and Resource Sharing (7000-9506) received an increase over Governor Baker’s budget to $4,259,000, level funding from FY2020. This is the same funding the line received in FY2020, which was an increase to the line. The additional funds provided in FY2020 allowed the MBLC to increase support for libraries’ eBook collections, and to increase the number of databases available statewide.

State Aid to Regional Libraries (7000-9401), received $12,516,000, an increase over the amount requested in the Legislative Agenda. This line funds two organizations, the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) and the Library for the Commonwealth (LFC) at Boston Public Library. Sustainable funding for this line helps to maintain delivery service levels for residents of the Commonwealth.

The Worcester Talking Book Library (7000-9402), and the Perkins Library (7000-9406) both received the amount requested in the Legislative Agenda, $482,264 and $2,745,774 respectively.

The Massachusetts Center for the Book also received the request of $225,000. The Center operates as an affiliate of 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. This would be the first increase in funding it has received since FY2016.

The budget also includes a $257,746 increase for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners administrative line (7000-9101).

Now that the Governor and House have both released their proposed budgets, the House will take it up in session and vote on amendments and a final version. The Senate will then release its proposed budget and will do the same.

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.