MBLC Announces New Construction Grant Round


February 02, 2023
June Thammasnong
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x240

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) is pleased to announce the 2023-2024 grant round for the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP). The MPLCP provides grants that help pay for major capital improvement projects such as new construction, addition or renovation of an existing library, as well as conversions of another building into a library space.

“It’s been over seven years since the last grant round, and we’ve made significant changes to the program to reduce wait times and escalation costs. The program continues to support the construction of sustainable public libraries across the Commonwealth, ensuring lifecycle-conscious buildings that meet the needs of the communities they serve,” said Library Building Specialist Andrea Bono-Bunker.

The new grant round will be governed by construction regulations 605 CMR 6.00 approved at the MBLC’s December 2022 meeting. It will be more competitive and streamlined, requiring only one application, significantly reducing the cost for municipalities to apply.  The single application has two phases: a planning and design phase and a construction phase. Each phase will undergo evaluation by an independent review team. This eliminates two years of the previous grant process, thereby reducing escalation costs. Initial costs are further reduced by no upfront design requirements.

In an effort to provide more assistance to municipalities with smaller populations and capacity, this grant round features two grant types: Standard Grants for municipal populations of 2, 500 and over; or Small Population Grants for municipal populations less than 2,500. Program notices for each provide specific information including eligibility, application components, the Green Library Incentive, and funding formulas for each phase. Construction grant awards will be based on eligible project costs determined at the close of the planning and design phase and include a need factor specific to each community.

An estimation of grant awards for the Small Population Grant type is below:

  Eligible Project Cost *

Grant Award 


















An estimation of grant awards for the Standard Grant type is below:

  Eligible Project Cost *

Grant Award 


















To apply, eligible libraries must submit a Letter of Intent by April 28, 2023 through Amplifund.  Libraries will have an entire year to complete the application process with MBLC Library Building Specialists Andrea Bono-Bunker and Lauren Stara guiding each municipality and library. Final applications are due May 31, 2024. Grant recipients will be announced in the Fall of 2024.   

Three information sessions in February will provide library and municipal attendees an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the requirements and application process.  Information sessions begin on February 7, with two more scheduled on February 9 and February 15.  Registration is through the MBLC events calendar online

The MPLCP was first funded by a state bond authorization in 1987. Since then, it has helped more than 250 communities plan, build, renovate and/or expand their public libraries. The MPLCP is currently seeking a new $150 million bond authorization to support upcoming grant rounds. MPLCP projects are underway in the following communities:  Amherst, Deerfield, Gloucester, Marlborough, Melrose, Sharon, Shutesbury and Westford. Learn more about the program on the MBLC website and the Building Literacy podcast.

*eligible project costs are not the same as total project cost. MPLCP construction grant funds pay for a percentage of eligible costs based on a funding formula. Eligible costs include: acquisition of land, planning, design, and engineering services, project management services. Grant funds do not pay for furniture, computers, landscaping, paving, and other ineligible costs as defined in 605 CMR 6.00.

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.