State Aid to Public Libraries is an annual, voluntary program administered by the MBLC that distributes local aid to municipalities. It encourages municipal support and improvement for public library service, bolsters reciprocal resource sharing among libraries, compensates for differences in municipal funding capacities, and offsets costs to libraries that circulate materials to patrons from other certified municipalities.
A municipality and its library must be certified by the MBLC as meeting statutory and regulatory requirements to receive State Aid to Public Libraries funding. To be certified each fiscal year, a municipality and its library must:
- meet its Municipal Appropriation Requirement
- meet Minimum Standards of Free Public Library Service
- submit annual reports and forms to show compliance
State Aid funding is appropriated annually to the MBLC by the legislature.
Chapter 133 of the ACTS of 2016
For state aid to public libraries; provided, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, no city or town shall receive funds from this item in any year when the appropriation of the city or town for free public library service is below an amount equal to 102.5 per cent of the average of the appropriations for free public library services for the 3 years immediately preceding; provided further, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the board of library commissioners may grant waivers in excess of the waiver limit set forth in the second paragraph of section 19A of chapter 78 of the General Laws in fiscal year 2017 for a period of not more than 1 year; provided further, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, of the amount by which this item exceeds the amount appropriated in item 7000-9501 of section 2 of chapter 194 of the acts of 1998, funds shall be distributed under the guidelines of the municipal equalization grant program, the library incentive grant program and the nonresident circulation offset program; and provided further, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, any payment made under this item shall be deposited with the treasurer of the city or town and held in a separate account and shall be expended by the public library of that city or town without appropriation……………………………$9,000,000
Disbursement of Awards
After a municipality is certified to receive State Aid to Public Libraries, the MBLC disburses three awards: the Library Incentive Grant, the Municipal Equalization Grant, and Nonresident Circulation Offset.
The LIG is disbursed to all certified municipalities based on their population. It encourages municipalities to support and improve public library service.
The MEG is disbursed to all certified municipalities using a calculation based on the state lottery formula. This compensates for disparities among municipal funding capacities.
The NRC is disbursed to offset additional costs to municipalities whose libraries circulate materials to patrons of other certified Massachusetts municipalities.