MBLC Suspends Open Hours Requirement


January 06, 2022
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

In an ongoing effort to support frontline library staff and encourage safe library services, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) voted unanimously to relax specific State Aid to Public Libraries program requirements. The vote, taken at the board’s January meeting, suspends the Hours Open Requirement from December 20, 2021 through April 4, 2022, but may be extended if needed**.

“Safety of staff and residents is our top priority,” said MBLC Director James Lonergan. “This gives libraries the option of reducing hours and returning to curbside delivery or other service changes that were successfully implemented during the pandemic, without the concern of losing certification in our State Aid program.”

This is the third time (April, 2020, January, 2021) since the pandemic began that the MBLC has adjusted State Aid program requirements. The State Aid program provides local library funding and is vital to the operation of the successful statewide library system because it provides the basis for sharing library items 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 can offer. The MBLC will distribute $13 million dollars in State Aid Program funds to municipalities for their libraries this year.

“Libraries have demonstrated flexibility and innovation, especially during the past two years,” said MBLC’s Head of State Programs and Government Liaison Mary Rose Quinn. “Curbside service, outdoor programming, outdoor Wi-Fi, hybrid programming, home delivery, increased eBook and audiobook collections, and hotspot lending are just some of the ways librarians continue to meet the needs of their communities.”

In 2021, 347 were certified in State Aid to Public Libraries program, making it the most libraries certified in sixty years. The State Aid to Public Libraries Program is funded through state budget line 7000-9501. MBLC Commissioners have made increased funding to State Aid to Public Libraries a priority in the FY2022 Legislative Agenda.  

**At the March 3, 2022 Board meeting, the MBLC approved unanimously the extension of the Hours Open Requirement moratorium for the remainder of FY 2022 (reporting cycle October FY 2023). 

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.