2024 Bond Bill

Support is Needed for Library Construction 

On June 5, the Economic Development Committee advanced H.4722, the economic development bill filed on March 1 by Governor Maura Healey (formerly H.4459), An Act relative to strengthening Massachusetts' economic leadership (also known as the Mass Leads Act). The bill provides $150 million to support the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP).

Why this funding is so important:

  • To continue the program and to award projects from the 2023-2024 competitive grant round in which 27 libraries submitted letters of intent. Applications are due in May and awards are to be announced in October 2024. 
  • Many of the Commonwealth's public libraries were built 100 years ago, before technology and COVID changed the way people live, work, and use libraries and for populations much smaller than they serve today. The MPLCP helps modernize and adapt library buildings.

What's happening today in the MPLCP:

Since the last grant round seven years ago, significant changes have been made to the MPLCP regulations to streamline the process, reduce the waitlist, and combat climate change:

  • One pared-down application, reducing the up-front cost for municipalities
  • Reduction of the grant process timeline by two years, mitigating escalation impact
  • More assistance to municipalities with smaller populations and capacity with a Small Population Grant Type for municipal populations less than 2,500
  • Greater emphasis on economic and community need in scoring applications, and need-based increases to base grant awards
  • Three pathways to obtain the Green Library Incentive, which rewards libraries for eco-friendly buildings
  • Regulations and design guidelines supporting resilience, renewable energy, and the elimination of fossil fuel usage

What else you need to know:

  • The MPLCP has been in existence without interruption since 1987. The MBLC has awarded a total of 253 municipalities with over $500 million in grants for 236 library construction projects and almost $3 million in grants for planning and design projects.
  • The MPLCP has assisted over 70% of the Commonwealth's municipalities with planning and design and/or construction funding. Over 50% of those projects are nearing 30 years since completion. Changes to population, services, infrastructure, and climate may indicate the further need for MPLCP services, in addition to needs of libraries that have never participated in the MPLCP.
  • MPLCP projects create construction jobs in local communities during the library building phase.  Municipalities continue to see economic growth in the areas surrounding the new library long after the projects are completed. Learn more about the transformational impact recently completed projects have had on their communities on the Building Literacy: Public Library Construction podcast.