Governor Healey includes Library Construction in Bond Bill


March 12, 2024
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director

On March 1, Governor Maura Healey filed the Mass Leads Act, which provides $3.5 billion in critical investments, including the Commonwealth's public libraries. The bill supports the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners' (MBLC) Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) with a proposed $150 million for the MPLCP, which works with local communities to build, renovate, and expand public libraries.

"We thank the Governor for recognizing the vital role libraries play in the state's economy and in the Administration's equity, affordability, and competitiveness efforts. Libraries support entrepreneurs, job seekers, immigrants, and learners of all ages and are key partners in finding solutions for the crisis in childhood literacy, increasing social isolation, and loss of a sense of community. Funding new libraries benefits every member of the Commonwealth and we ask that the legislature pass this critical bill," said MBLC Chair Debby Conrad.

If the proposed funding is approved by the legislature, it will support the MPLCP's current grant round. Over 50 communities expressed interest and 27 submitted letters of intent for the grant round demonstrating the ongoing need to renovate and expand libraries that in many cases were built 100 years ago, before technology and COVID changed the way people live and use libraries. Today thousands of people use the internet in libraries every day and they rely on quiet spaces in libraries to work, conduct telehealth visits, or job interviews; and last year, over a million people of all ages attended programs and events in public libraries. Across the state, people borrowed more than 53 million library items and there were more than 25 million visits to public libraries.

Since the last grant round seven years ago, significant changes have been made to the MPLCP regulations to reduce wait times and escalation costs. The process is now more competitive and streamlined, requiring only one application, which significantly reduces the cost for municipalities to apply and eliminates two years of the previous grant process. To provide more assistance to municipalities with smaller populations and capacity, this grant round features two grant types: Small Population Grants for municipal populations less than 2,500 and Standard Grants for municipal populations of 2,500 and over.

Since 2008, the MPLCP has championed green building practices under its Green Library Incentive and the MBLC will continue to award additional grant funding to libraries that meet or exceed sustainable building requirements. In fact, the new regulations used for the current grant round follow Executive Order 594 to support the construction of highly efficient public libraries across the Commonwealth and create additional pathways for communities to earn the Green Library Incentive.

The MPLCP has benefitted more than 250 towns and cities in Massachusetts since its inception in 1987. MPLCP projects are currently underway in Amherst, Deerfield, Fitchburg, Gloucester, Melrose, Sharon, Shutesbury, Swansea, and Westford. Projects in Greenfield, Sherborn, and Marlborough were recently completed. Learn more about the program on the MBLC website, Building Literacy podcast, and the MPLCP Municipal Impact website. Funding to the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program is part of the MBLC's FY2025 Legislative Agenda.

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.