House Approves Increased Library Funding


May 05, 2021
Matthew Perry
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x240

On April 29, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously approved their version of the FY2022 budget. This includes two funding increases above the requested amount in the FY22 Legislative Agenda. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) line item was increased to accommodate earmark funding for two libraries and an increase of $624,000 was added to the amount requested for the regional library budget line which funds the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) and the Library for the Commonwealth (LFC) at Boston Public Library.

State Aid for Public Libraries (7000-9501) was the focus of the Agenda this year and received the requested $13,000,000. 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. This year, a record number of libraries were certified in the State Aid program.

Library Technology and Resource Sharing (7000-9506) received the $4,518,373 in funding that was requested. This line helps fund the nine automated resource sharing networks across the state as well as statewide databases. The networks have worked to provide important services for libraries in response to the pandemic. Read the stories about these efforts on the FY22 Affiliate Sheets.

State Aid to Regional Libraries (7000-9401), received $13,516,000 which is $624,520 more than the amount requested. This line funds the Mass Library System (MLS) and the Library for the Commonwealth (LFC) which have both seen an increase in usage during the pandemic. LFC has had an 80% increase in eCard sign ups from Massachusetts residents, and MLS has had a 326% increase in attendance at their live learning opportunities for librarians, including trainings and support.

The Massachusetts Center for the Book received $300,000. 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. FY21 marked the Center’s first increase in funding since FY2016.

The Worcester Talking Book Library (7000-9402), and the Perkins Library (7000-9406) both received $496,732 and $2,828,147 respectively. Both Perkins and Worcester have been able to continue providing important resources for those who are visually impaired during the pandemic.

The budget also includes $1,627,272 for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners administrative line (7000-9101). An additional $75,000 was added to this line in the form of earmarks.

The Senate Ways and Means proposal is due out within the next two weeks, and the Senate will vote on their version later this month. A conference committee will reconcile any differences between the two versions, and the FY2022 budget will be sent to the Governor to be signed by July 1, 2021.

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.