Library Priorities Funded in House Budget


April 19, 2023
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

On Wednesday, April 12, 2023, the Massachusetts House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee released their proposal for the FY2023 budget. The budget funds library priorities, Library Resource & Technology, Worcester Talking Book Library, and the Talking Book & Machine Library at Perkins, at the amount request in the MBLC’s FY 2024 Legislative Agenda. The full House Ways and Means budget and the Governor’s proposed budget are available on the MBLC website.

Library Technology and Resource Sharing (7000-9506) received $6,167,581 in funding, matching the amount proposed in the Governor’s budget and an increase of $1.4 million over FY2023. This line helps fund the nine automated resource sharing networks across the state as well as statewide databases and the popular statewide eBook program.

An estimated  780,000 people are living with disabilities  in Massachusetts and the talking book libraries at Perkins and Worcester are working to ensure that reading is accessible to all. The Worcester Talking Book Library (7000-9402) was funded at $678,040. Perkins Library (7000-9406) was funded at $3,860,420. For both libraries this is a 30% increase over FY2023 and an increase over proposed funding in the Governor’s budget. Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners administrative line (7000-9101) was also funded at the amount requested.

At $15,241,800, funding to State Aid to Regional Libraries (7000-9401) was slightly lower than the requested amount of $15,967,600, which was met in the Governor’s budget. This line funds two organizations, the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) and the Library for the Commonwealth (LFC) at Boston Public Library. E-Card signups for all Massachusetts residents through LFC increased 80% last year and demand continues to grow. The MLS school eBook program currently ranks 2nd in the US and 3rd world in total circulation.

For State Aid to Public Libraries (7000-9501), the MBLC requested $17,600,000, which was met in the Governor’s budget; but House funding of $16,800,000 fell short. State Aid to Public Libraries is an annual, voluntary program administered by the MBLC that distributes local aid to municipalities. Currently, 347 of the 350 municipalities with library services participate in the State Aid Program each year.

Funding to the Massachusetts Center for the Book was $20,000 lower than the requested $440,000. 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.

The MBLC plans to file amendments for the budget lines that did not meet the legislative request. The House will debate the budget and any amendments and vote on a final version the last week in April. Following passage of the House version of the budget, the Senate will vote on their version in May. A conference committee will reconcile any differences between the two versions, and the FY2024 budget will be sent to the Governor to be put into place by July 1, 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.