State Aid is Largest in Program’s History


December 01, 2022
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

At its December board meeting the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) approved 186 municipalities that met all requirements for certification in the FY2023 State Aid to Public Libraries Program. These libraries join the 96 that were approved in November. To date more than $6.6 million has been awarded in state aid funding.

These are the largest state aid awards that certified libraries will receive since the program began over 100 years ago. Legislators and the governor responded to years of efforts by the library community with steady increases to the program since 2018 and a 23% increase in FY2023.

“It’s an acknowledgement that our libraries have gone above and beyond to keep serving their communities through these difficult times,” said Board Chair Debby Conrad. “This is local aid that helps libraries keep the doors open and supports them as they strive to meet the needs of every member of their communities.”

Funding from the State Aid to Public Library Program  directly supports public library services. The reciprocity that comes with library certification in this voluntary program is often what patrons value most. It allows them to use any State Aid certified library in the Commonwealth and gives patrons access to more than 53 million items available through the shared library system. Last year patrons borrowed nearly seven million items from outside their own communities.

To be certified each fiscal year in the State Aid to Public Libraries Program, a municipality and its library must meet the  Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR)  and the Minimum Standards of Free Public Library Service. State Aid has been awarded to municipalities and their libraries since 1890 when The Acts of 1890, chapter 347, ‘An Act to Promote the Establishment and Efficiency of Free Public Libraries,’ established the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts, now known as the MBLC.

The remaining state aid applicants will be presented at the January and February meetings. State Aid awards are made in two installments. The second half payments will be sent out to the entire list of award recipients in early spring.

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.