Libraries get a big boost in FY2024 State Budget


August 21, 2023
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director

Libraries fared well in the $55.98 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2024 recently signed by Governor Maura Healey. Library funding totaled $47,348,386, an increase of nearly 16% over FY2023. All but two of the funding requests in the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) legislative agenda were met. Funding to the Massachusetts Library System and the Library for the Commonwealth (line 7000-9401) was funded well above the legislative ask and the Massachusetts Center for the Book (line 7000-9508) was funded at $20,000 below the funding request.

“This funding will benefit libraries and more importantly, every resident of the Commonwealth. Our Governor and legislators recognize that when they fund libraries, they’re making the internet accessible to everyone. They’re funding early literacy, citizenship application assistance, and English language learning classes. They’re giving all of us, no matter our age or ability level, free access to educational resources. Everyone can access our statewide shared collection of more than 53 million items that represent the wonderfully diverse people of Massachusetts, our nation, and the world,” said Debby Conrad, Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

The MBLC’s legislative agenda prioritized funding to the Talking Book Programs at the Perkins Library in Watertown (line 7000-9406) and at the Worcester Public Library (line 7000-9402). These programs are vital to digital equity, an important goal of the Healy-Driscoll administration. At the recent signing of the executive order establishing a Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board, Kim Charlson, Executive Director of the Braille and Talking Book Library at the Perkins School for the Blind, represented residents of the Commonwealth who are blind, have low vision, or other disabilities. “When technological access for people with disabilities is available, it can be a powerful tool to overcome isolation, encourage people to build meaningful relationships, empower engagement, and allow for integrated participation as full members of their communities and beyond,” said Charlson at the signing ceremony.

The MBLC’s legislative agenda also prioritized funding to Library Technology and Resource Sharing (line 7000-9506) which was funded at $6,167,581, a 30% increase over FY2023. Funding to this line is critical as it supports the Library Networks that make affordable library internet possible and collectively provide the popular statewide Library eBook and audioBook (LEA) program. Statewide research databases and e-resources available to students and all residents are also made possible through this funding.

Line 7000-9401 State Aid to Regional Libraries, which funds the Massachusetts Library System and the Library for the Commonwealth, was funded at $750,000 over the legislative ask of $15,967,600. This increase was introduced by Senator Jake Oliveira in his inaugural speech to colleagues, “In today's post-pandemic world, libraries are sanctuaries for free speech, open thought, and expression. They are cultivators of equity and inclusion, and they are the last true community centers that we have. Where anyone can go to receive community resources and education or take their families and be a part of a community, and in almost every case, they can do so for free. That is worth protecting. Yet libraries are under attack. Libraries and librarians, already burdened by workforce challenges, find themselves on the first line of defense against hate, prejudice, and racism in what is becoming an ever-escalating culture war across the country.”

More information about library funding, including historic funding, is available on the MBLC website. The MBLC is currently developing the FY2025 legislative agenda with input from the library community.

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.