Policies

Each year, the MBLC reviews and approves policies for the State Aid program. These policies further define statutory and regulatory requirements.

FY 2017 Policies

All

The minimum materials expenditure standard is computed for all municipalities using the amount appropriated by the municipality to the library for operations and the percentage requirement as stated in regulation (MGL, c.78, s.19B; 605 CMR 4.01[5]).

Operating expenditures include:

  1. Personnel
    Salaries only.

  2. Library Materials
    The cost of books, serials, audio materials, and other non-print materials that circulate to library patrons or are used by library patrons in the library. Included are online costs (including money paid to networks for electronic content), and museum passes. Supplies used to prepare library materials for circulation are not included (e.g., bar codes, book pockets, etc.) and the monetary value of donated books may not be included.

  3. Other Operating Expenditures
    The current and recurrent costs necessary to support the provision of library services. These include expenditures made by the library that are not capital, personnel, or for library materials. Other operating expenditures include building maintenance, energy and utilities, network membership, supplies, repair or replacement of existing furnishing and equipment, and other miscellaneous expenditures.

Initial Approval of Policy: January 9, 1997
Revision of definition:October 8, 2014
FY 2017 Approval Date: November 6, 2014

The Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) for each award year is computed using figures for the three prior fiscal years. For each of those three years that a municipality received a State Aid to Public Libraries award, the figure used will be either the MAR or Total Appropriated Municipal Income (TAMI), whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in any year, the actual TAMI for that year will be used.

For the FY 2017 grant round:

The FY 2014 figure will be either the FY 2014 MAR or the FY 2014 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2014, the actual final FY 2014 TAMI will be used.

The FY 2015 figure will be either the FY 2015 MAR or the FY 2015 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2015, the actual final FY 2015 TAMI will be used.

The FY 2016 figure will be either the FY 2016 MAR or the FY 2016 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2016, the actual final FY 2016 TAMI will be used.

FY 2017 Municipal Appropriation Requirement Calculation

(FY 2014 + FY 2015 + FY 2016) / 3 = average of three years

average x 1.025 = FY 2017 MAR (average of three years plus 2.5 %)

Initial Approval of Policy: August 8, 1991
FY 2017 Approval Date: October 2, 2014

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners considers any municipality that closes its main public library or ceases offering library service to the public for any reason other than the undertaking of a project to improve library services (such as construction, automation preparation or inventory) or the occurrence of a natural catastrophe (including a limited emergency closing due to illness or death) to be, as of the date of that termination of service, no longer a certified participant in the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

The Commissioners will confirm the municipality's loss of certification at their next regularly scheduled Board meeting.

Once the municipality has lost certification, it cannot be recertified as meeting the minimum standards of public library service for State Aid to Public Libraries (as set forth in MGL c.78, s. 19A and 19B, 605 CMR 4.0, and current budget language) until the municipality's library has been meeting the standards for one complete fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) and proper application for State Aid to Public Libraries is made to the Board of Library Commissioners.

Initial Approval of Policy: March 5, 1993
FY 2017 Approval Date:
October 2, 2014

The Board of Library Commissioners will consider requests for waivers of the FY 2016 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) from municipalities that demonstrate fiscal hardship. Requests for waivers must include the following documentation and must be received by the MBLC State Aid and Data Coordination Unit with a postmark no later than October 14, 2016:

  1. a signed Petition for Waiver of the FY 2017 Municipal Appropriation Requirement.

    And...with a postmark no later than November 10, 2016:

  2. a completed FY 2016/FY 2017 Total Municipal Operating Budget Worksheet

  3. supporting municipal budget document(s) (such as copies of warrant articles or summary pages from the municipal budget), listing the FY 2016 and FY 2017 total operating and departmental budgets for the municipality,

  4. a statement from a municipal official:

    1. citing the fiscal hardship surrounding the municipality's inability to meet the FY 2017 MAR,

    2. explaining the municipality's FY 2017 budget process regarding the library,

    3. providing evidence that any reduction to the library budget is not disproportionate relative to changes in other municipal departments and the overall municipal budget.

  5. a cover letter from the library director and trustee chair, with enclosures if appropriate, explaining the library's FY 2017 budget process and reasons why the community did not comply with the FY 2017 MAR. (Examples of enclosures include: narratives from municipal officials describing the fiscal situation, text of referenda.)

The Waiver Review Process

According to Massachusetts General Laws, c.78, s19A:

"No city or town shall receive any money under this section in any year when the appropriation of said city or town for free public library services is below an amount equal to the average of its appropriation for free public library service for the three years immediately preceding, increased by two and one-half per cent of said average. Said board may, upon petition of a community, waive aforesaid requirement upon demonstration of fiscal hardship. "

The number of waivers available for FY 2017 will not be determined until the budget language is final for FY 2017.

  1. Petitions for a waiver will be reviewed by the Board of Library Commissioners at their January 2017 meeting.

  2. All petitioners for a waiver determined to have a disproportionate cut to their budget must present their petition in person at the January 2017 meeting.

  3. The Board of Library Commissioners will review FY 2017 MAR Waiver Petitions based on:

    1. evidence of municipal fiscal hardship, and

    2. demonstration by the municipality that the library's budget was not disproportionately reduced

  4. The Board of Library Commissioners will vote on the petitions for waivers of the FY 2017 MAR at their February 2017 meeting.

  5. The Board will hear any appeals of the denial of an FY 2017 MAR waiver at their March 2017 meeting.

  6. The Board will act on any appeal at their April 2017 meeting.

  7. The FY 2017 State Aid to Public Libraries Program officially concludes at the conclusion of the April 2017 Board of Library Commissioners meeting.

Initial Approval of Policy: February 7, 2002
FY 2017 Approval Date:
December 4, 2014

The Board of Library Commissioners recognizes the necessity of continuing the policy of accommodation of the standards of the State Aid to Public Libraries program. This policy for the accommodation of the Materials Expenditure and the Hours Open standards seeks to certify as many municipalities as possible while still reinforcing the principles of library service.

A municipality will receive certification for FY 2017 State Aid to Public Libraries if it:

  • meets the FY 2017 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR), or receives a waiver of the FY 2017 MAR,
  • meets the materials expenditure and hours open standard at either a full (100%), mid-level (90%), or minimum (80%) amount,
  • meets all other statutory and regulatory requirements for State Aid to Public Libraries as contained in 605 CMR 4.01.

State Aid to Public Libraries grants will be awarded to all certified municipalities.

A municipality may meet a reduced standard of as low as 80% of the materials expenditure and hours open requirement contained in regulation (605 CMR 4.01), while continuing to remain certified and receive State Aid to Public Libraries. Award amounts will be unchanged for municipalities meeting 100% of both standards.

Awards for municipalities meeting adjusted standards will be reduced according to compliance with reduced standard, and will be no less than 50% of the full award for meeting the minimum (80%) of both standards. Each standard that is met at a lower level will result in a 12.5% reduction to the full award for each level of reduction. Awards may be made in amounts of; 100%, 87.5%, 75%, 62.5%, 50%. If at the end of the FY 2016 grant round funds remain, no second award of State Aid to Public Libraries will be made to a municipality using the flexibility of this policy of accommodation.

Examples: Library A and Library B

Library A with a population of 11,000, is meeting its MAR. For State Aid compliance the library is required to be open 40 hours each week and expend 16% of its municipal appropriation on library materials. However, it was only open 34 hours and expended 14% on materials, minimum compliance for both standards. As a result, the FY 2017 State Aid award will be reduced to 50% of the Cherry Sheet total.

Library B has a population of 17,000 and is meeting its MAR. It is required to be open 50 hours each week and expend 15% of its municipal appropriation on materials. It was only open 46 hours and spent 14% on library materials, mid-level compliance for both standards. As a result, the FY 2017 State Aid award will be reduced to 75% of the Cherry Sheet total.

Adjusted Awards

Amount Level of Compliance with Materials Expenditure Requirement and Hours Open Standards
100% Full (100%) compliance with both standards
87.5% Full(100%) compliance with one standard and Mid-level (90%) compliance with the other standard.
75% Full (100%) compliance with one standard and Minimum (80%) compliance with the other standard OR Mid-Level(90%) compliance with both standards.
62.5% Mid-Level (90%) compliance with one standard and Minimum (80%) compliance with the other standard.
50% Minimum (80%) compliance with both standards.

Materials Expenditure Requirement

Population Group Full Compliance
(100%)
Mid-Level Compliance
(90%)
Minimum Compliance
(80%)
Under 2,000 20.00% 18.00% 16.00%
2-4,999 19.50% 17.55% 15.60%
5-9,999 19.00% 17.00% 15.20%
10-14,999 16.00% 14.40% 12.80%
15-24,999 15.00% 13.50% 12.00%
25-49,999 13.00% 11.70% 10.40%
over 50,000 12.00% 10.80% 9.60%

Hours Open Requirement

Population Group Full Compliance
(100%)
Mid-Level Compliance
(90%)
Minimum Compliance
(80%)
Under 2,000 10 hours, including some evening 9 hours, including some evening 8 hours, including some evening
2-4,999 15 hours, including some evening 13.50 hours, including some evening 12 hours, including some evening
5-9,999 25 hours, including some evening 22.50 hours, including some evening 20 hours, including some evening
10-14,999 40 hours, 5 days, including some evening 36 hours, 5 days, including some evening 32 hours, 4 days, including some evening
15-24,999 50 hours, 6 days, including some evening 45 hours, 5 days, including some evening 40 hours, 5 days, including some evening
25-49,999 59 hours, 6 days, including some evening 53 hours, 5 days, including some evening 47 hours, 5 days, including some evening
over 50,000 63 hours, 6 days, including some evening 57 hours, 5 days, including some evening 50 hours, 5 days, including some evening

Initial Approval of Policy: April 3, 2003
FY 2017 Approval Date: October 2, 2014
(State aid policies are approved annually.)

Minimum Hours Open Per Week

In keeping with the regulation that "library service should be available to the community a minimum number of hours per week," (605 CMR 4.0) the minimum hours requirement will apply during each week of the compliance period. To meet the requirement, a public library must be open the required hours, days and evenings during each week of the compliance period.

Compliance Period/Winter Hours

The compliance period (winter hours) will be defined as those days after the Labor Day holiday weekend until the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Summer Schedule

The summer schedule period will be those days from after the Memorial Day holiday weekend until the Labor Day holiday weekend, and the library's summer schedule must apply to each week during that period.

Massachusetts Legal Holidays

Libraries may close on Massachusetts legal holidays and local municipal holidays and not affect their compliance with the hours of service standards.

Minimum Hours Open Per Regulation

Population Size Number of Hours Number of Days Portion of Day
Under 2,000 10 not specified including some evening hours
2,000 - 4,999 15 not specified including some evening hours
5,000 - 9,999 25 not specified including some evening hours
10,000 - 14,999 40 5 including some evening hours
15,000 - 24,999 50 5 including some evening hours
25,000 - 49,999 59 6 including some morning, afternoon, & evening hours
50,000 and over 63 6 including some morning, afternoon, & evening hours
Initial Approval of Policy: February 4, 1993
FY 2017 Approval Date:
October 2, 2014
(Citations: MGL c.78 s.19B[3] and 605 CMR 4.01[3])
  1. To be eligible for the extension of a grace period for increased population-based requirements due to new population figures, the library must:

    1. be in compliance with or receive a waiver of the FY 2017 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MGL, c.78, s.19A).
    2. meet the other minimum library standards required for receipt of FY 2017 State Aid to Public Libraries (MGL, c.78, s.19B):

      (1) "be open to all residents of the commonwealth,"

      (2) "make no charge for normal library services,"

      (6) "lend books to other libraries in the commonwealth and extend privileges to the holders of cards issued by other public libraries in the commonwealth on a reciprocal basis."

  2. If a municipality is in a different population group according to the population estimates mandated by the General Court for use with the FY 2017 State Aid program, it is eligible for a grace period of up to three years to meet the increased standard for hours open or materials expenditure. This grace period is for the FY 2017 State Aid to Public Libraries grant round. Compliance for State Aid to Public Libraries in the FY 2017 grant round is measured by library performance in FY 2016. To be eligible for this grace period the library must be meeting the prior lower standard.

  3. A library director whose educational requirement is now "graduation with a degree from an approved library school" because the population of his or her community has gone above 10,000 will be exempt (grandfathered) from the increased requirement. However, any work in progress by the director on prior educational/professional requirements of the Basic Library Techniques must be completed within the previously established time limits. When a grandfathered director leaves the library, his or her replacement must meet the changed requirement at the time of appointment as library director.

Initial Approval of Policy: January 9, 1997
FY 2017 Approval Date:
October 2, 2014
(State aid policies are approved annually.)

FY 2018 Policies

All

The minimum materials expenditure standard is computed for all municipalities using the amount appropriated by the municipality to the library for operations and the percentage requirement as stated in regulation (MGL, c.78, s.19B; 605 CMR 4.01[5]).

Operating expenditures include:

  1. Personnel

    Salaries only.

  2. Library Materials

    The cost of books, serials, audio materials, and other non-print materials that circulate to library patrons or are used by library patrons in the library. Included are online costs (including money paid to networks for electronic content), and museum passes. Supplies used to prepare library materials for circulation are not included (e.g., bar codes, book pockets, etc.) and the monetary value of donated books may not be included.

    Up to 10% of the materials expenditure requirement may be used to purchase hardware for direct patron use. This includes but is not limited to hard drives, laptops, peripherals (mouse, keyboard, etc.), adaptive technology, and scanners.

  3. Other Operating Expenditures

    The current and recurrent costs necessary to support the provision of library services. These include expenditures made by the library that are not capital, personnel, or for library materials. Other operating expenditures include building maintenance, energy and utilities, network membership, supplies, repair or replacement of existing furnishing and equipment, and other miscellaneous expenditures.

Initial Approval of Policy: January 9, 1997
Revision of definition: March 22, 2017
FY 2018 Initial Approval Date: October 1, 2015
FY 2018 Revised Approval Date: May 4, 2017

The Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) for each award year is computed using figures for the three prior fiscal years. For each of those three years that a municipality received a State Aid to Public Libraries award, the figure used will be either the MAR or Total Appropriated Municipal Income (TAMI), whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in any year, the actual TAMI for that year will be used.

For the FY 2018 grant round:

The FY 2015 figure will be either the FY 2015 MAR or the FY 2015 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2015, the actual final FY 2015 TAMI will be used.

The FY 2016 figure will be either the FY 2016 MAR or the FY 2016 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2016, the actual final FY 2016 TAMI will be used.

The FY 2017 figure will be either the FY 2017 MAR or the FY 2017 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2017, the actual final FY 2017 TAMI will be used.

FY 2018 Municipal Appropriation Requirement Calculation

(FY 2015 + FY 2016 + FY 2017) / 3 = average of three years

average x 1.025 = FY 2018 MAR (average of three years plus 2.5 %)

Initial Approval of Policy: August 8, 1991
FY 2018 Approval Date: October 1, 2015

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners considers any municipality that closes its main public library or ceases offering library service to the public for any reason other than the undertaking of a project to improve library services (such as construction, automation preparation or inventory) or the occurrence of a natural catastrophe (including a limited emergency closing due to illness or death) to be, as of the date of that termination of service, no longer a certified participant in the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

The Commissioners will confirm the municipality's loss of certification at their next regularly scheduled Board meeting.

Once the municipality has lost certification, it cannot be recertified as meeting the minimum standards of public library service for State Aid to Public Libraries (as set forth in MGL c.78, s. 19A and 19B, 605 CMR 4.0, and current budget language) until the municipality's library has been meeting the standards for one complete fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) and proper application for State Aid to Public Libraries is made to the Board of Library Commissioners.

Initial Approval of Policy: March 5, 1993
FY 2018 Approval Date:
October 1, 2015

The Board of Library Commissioners will consider requests for waivers of the FY 2016 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) from municipalities that demonstrate fiscal hardship. Requests for waivers must include the following documentation and must be received by the MBLC State Aid and Data Coordination Unit with a postmark no later than October 13, 2017:

  1. a signed Petition for Waiver of the FY 2018 Municipal Appropriation Requirement.

    And...with a postmark no later than November 10, 2017:

  2. a completed FY 2017/FY 2018 Total Municipal Operating Budget Worksheet

  3. supporting municipal budget document(s) (such as copies of warrant articles or summary pages from the municipal budget), listing the FY 2017 and FY 2018 total operating and departmental budgets for the municipality,

  4. a statement from a municipal official:

    1. citing the fiscal hardship surrounding the municipality's inability to meet the FY 2018 MAR,

    2. explaining the municipality's FY 2018 budget process regarding the library,

    3. providing evidence that any reduction to the library budget is not disproportionate relative to changes in other municipal departments and the overall municipal budget.

  5. a cover letter from the library director and trustee chair, with enclosures if appropriate, explaining the library's FY 2018 budget process and reasons why the community did not comply with the FY 2018 MAR. (Examples of enclosures include: narratives from municipal officials describing the fiscal situation, text of referenda.)

The Waiver Review Process

According to Massachusetts General Laws, c.78, s19A:

"No city or town shall receive any money under this section in any year when the appropriation of said city or town for free public library services is below an amount equal to the average of its appropriation for free public library service for the three years immediately preceding, increased by two and one-half per cent of said average. Said board may, upon petition of a community, waive aforesaid requirement upon demonstration of fiscal hardship. "

The number of waivers available for FY 2018 will not be determined until the budget language is final for FY 2018.

  1. Petitions for a waiver will be reviewed by the Board of Library Commissioners at their January 2018 meeting.

  2. All petitioners for a waiver determined to have a disproportionate cut to their budget must present their petition in person at the January 2018 meeting.

  3. The Board of Library Commissioners will review FY 2018 MAR Waiver Petitions based on:

    1. evidence of municipal fiscal hardship, and

    2. demonstration by the municipality that the library's budget was not disproportionately reduced

  4. The Board of Library Commissioners will vote on the petitions for waivers of the FY 2018 MAR at their February 2018 meeting.

  5. The Board will hear any appeals of the denial of an FY 2018 MAR waiver at their March 2018 meeting.

  6. The Board will act on any appeal at their April 2018 meeting.

  7. The FY 2017 State Aid to Public Libraries Program officially concludes at the conclusion of the April 2017 Board of Library Commissioners meeting.

Initial Approval of Policy: February 7, 2002
FY 2018 Approval Date:
October 1, 2015

The Board of Library Commissioners recognizes the necessity of continuing the policy of accommodation of the standards of the State Aid to Public Libraries program. This policy for the accommodation of the Materials Expenditure and the Hours Open standards seeks to certify as many municipalities as possible while still reinforcing the principles of library service.

A municipality will receive certification for FY 2018 State Aid to Public Libraries if it:

  • meets the FY 2018 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR), or receives a waiver of the FY 2018 MAR,
  • meets the materials expenditure and hours open standard at either a full (100%), mid-level (90%), or minimum (80%) amount,
  • meets all other statutory and regulatory requirements for State Aid to Public Libraries as contained in 605 CMR 4.01.

State Aid to Public Libraries grants will be awarded to all certified municipalities.

A municipality may meet a reduced standard of as low as 80% of the materials expenditure and hours open requirement contained in regulation (605 CMR 4.01), while continuing to remain certified and receive State Aid to Public Libraries. Award amounts will be unchanged for municipalities meeting 100% of both standards.

Awards for municipalities meeting adjusted standards will be reduced according to compliance with reduced standard, and will be no less than 50% of the full award for meeting the minimum (80%) of both standards. Each standard that is met at a lower level will result in a 12.5% reduction to the full award for each level of reduction. Awards may be made in amounts of; 100%, 87.5%, 75%, 62.5%, 50%. If at the end of the FY 2018 grant round funds remain, no second award of State Aid to Public Libraries will be made to a municipality using the flexibility of this policy of accommodation.

Examples: Library A and Library B

Library A with a population of 11,000, is meeting its MAR. For State Aid compliance the library is required to be open 40 hours each week and expend 16% of its municipal appropriation on library materials. However, it was only open 34 hours and expended 14% on materials, minimum compliance for both standards. As a result, the FY 2018 State Aid award will be reduced to 50% of the Cherry Sheet total.

Library B has a population of 17,000 and is meeting its MAR. It is required to be open 50 hours each week and expend 15% of its municipal appropriation on materials. It was only open 46 hours and spent 14% on library materials, mid-level compliance for both standards. As a result, the FY 2018 State Aid award will be reduced to 75% of the Cherry Sheet total.

Adjusted Awards

Amount Level of Compliance with Materials Expenditure Requirement and Hours Open Standards
100% Full (100%) compliance with both standards
87.5% Full(100%) compliance with one standard and Mid-level (90%) compliance with the other standard.
75% Full (100%) compliance with one standard and Minimum (80%) compliance with the other standard OR Mid-Level(90%) compliance with both standards.
62.5% Mid-Level (90%) compliance with one standard and Minimum (80%) compliance with the other standard.
50% Minimum (80%) compliance with both standards.

Materials Expenditure Requirement

Population Group Full Compliance
(100%)
Mid-Level Compliance
(90%)
Minimum Compliance
(80%)
Under 2,000 20.00% 18.00% 16.00%
2-4,999 19.50% 17.55% 15.60%
5-9,999 19.00% 17.00% 15.20%
10-14,999 16.00% 14.40% 12.80%
15-24,999 15.00% 13.50% 12.00%
25-49,999 13.00% 11.70% 10.40%
over 50,000 12.00% 10.80% 9.60%

Hours Open Requirement

Population Group Full Compliance
(100%)
Mid-Level Compliance
(90%)
Minimum Compliance
(80%)
Under 2,000 10 hours, including some evening 9 hours, including some evening 8 hours, including some evening
2-4,999 15 hours, including some evening 13.50 hours, including some evening 12 hours, including some evening
5-9,999 25 hours, including some evening 22.50 hours, including some evening 20 hours, including some evening
10-14,999 40 hours, 5 days, including some evening 36 hours, 4 days, including some evening 32 hours, 4 days, including some evening
15-24,999 50 hours, 5 days, including some evening 45 hours, 4 days, including some evening 40 hours, 4 days, including some evening
25-49,999 59 hours, 6 days, including some evening 53 hours, 5 days, including some evening 47 hours, 5 days, including some evening
over 50,000 63 hours, 6 days, including some evening 57 hours, 5 days, including some evening 50 hours, 5 days, including some evening

Initial Approval of Policy: April 3, 2003
FY 2018 Approval Date: October 1, 2015

Minimum Hours Open Per Week

In keeping with the regulation that "library service should be available to the community a minimum number of hours per week," (605 CMR 4.0) the minimum hours requirement will apply during each week of the compliance period. To meet the requirement, a public library must be open the required hours, days and evenings during each week of the compliance period.

Compliance Period

The compliance period will be defined as 38 consecutive weeks per year. The 38 weeks may span two fiscal years if compliance includes summer months.

Massachusetts Legal Holidays

Libraries may close on Massachusetts legal holidays and local municipal holidays, and not affect their compliance with the hours of service standards.

Initial Approval of Policy: February 4, 1993
Revision of Definition: March 22, 2017
FY 2018 Initial Approval Date: October 1, 2015
FY 2018 Revised Approval Date: May 4, 2017

Minimum Hours Open Per Regulation

Population Size Number of Hours Number of Days Portion of Day
Under 2,000 10 not specified including some evening hours
2,000 - 4,999 15 not specified including some evening hours
5,000 - 9,999 25 not specified including some evening hours
10,000 - 14,999 40 5 including some evening hours
15,000 - 24,999 50 5 including some evening hours
25,000 - 49,999 59 6 including some morning, afternoon, & evening hours
50,000 and over 63 6 including some morning, afternoon, & evening hours
(Citations: MGL c.78 s.19B[3] and 605 CMR 4.01[3])
  1. To be eligible for the extension of a grace period for increased population-based requirements due to new population figures, the library must:

    1. be in compliance with or receive a waiver of the FY 2018 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MGL, c.78, s.19A).
    2. meet the other minimum library standards required for receipt of FY 2018 State Aid to Public Libraries (MGL, c.78, s.19B):

      (1) "be open to all residents of the commonwealth,"

      (2) "make no charge for normal library services,"

      (6) "lend books to other libraries in the commonwealth and extend privileges to the holders of cards issued by other public libraries in the commonwealth on a reciprocal basis."

  2. If a municipality is in a different population group according to the population estimates mandated by the General Court for use with the FY 2018 State Aid program, it is eligible for a grace period of up to three years to meet the increased standard for hours open or materials expenditure. This grace period is for the FY 2018 State Aid to Public Libraries grant round. Compliance for State Aid to Public Libraries in the FY 2018 grant round is measured by library performance in FY 2017. To be eligible for this grace period the library must be meeting the prior lower standard.

  3. A library director whose educational requirement is now "graduation with a degree from an approved library school" because the population of his or her community has gone above 10,000 will be exempt (grandfathered) from the increased requirement. However, any work in progress by the director on prior educational/professional requirements of the Basic Library Techniques must be completed within the previously established time limits. When a grandfathered director leaves the library, his or her replacement must meet the changed requirement at the time of appointment as library director.

Initial Approval of Policy: January 9, 1997
FY 2018 Approval Date:
October 1, 2015

FY 2019 Policies

All

The minimum materials expenditure standard is computed for all municipalities using the amount appropriated by the municipality to the library for operations and the percentage requirement as stated in regulation (MGL, c.78, s.19B; 605 CMR 4.01[5]).

Operating expenditures include:

  1. Personnel
    Salaries only.

  2. Library Materials
    The cost of books, serials, audio materials, electronic, and other non-print materials that circulate to library patrons or are used by library patrons in the library. Included are online costs, (including money paid to networks for electronic content), and museum passes. Supplies used to prepare library materials for circulation are not included (e.g., bar codes, book pockets, etc.) and the monetary value of donated books may not be included.

    Up to 10% of the materials expenditure requirement may be used to purchase hardware for direct patron use. This includes but is not limited to hard drives, laptops, peripherals (mouse, keyboard, etc.), adaptive technology, and scanners.

  3. Other Operating Expenditures
    The current and recurrent costs necessary to support the provision of library services. These include expenditures made by the library that are not capital, personnel, or for library materials. Other operating expenditures include building maintenance, energy and utilities, network membership, supplies, repair or replacement of existing furnishing and equipment, and other miscellaneous expenditures.

Initial Approval of Policy: January 9, 1997
Revision of Definition March 22, 2017
FY 2019 Approval Date: October 6, 2016
FY 2019 Revised Approval Date: May 4, 2017

The Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) for each award year is computed using figures for the three prior fiscal years. For each of those three years that a municipality received a State Aid to Public Libraries award, the figure used will be either the MAR or Total Appropriated Municipal Income (TAMI), whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in any year, the actual TAMI for that year will be used.

For the FY 2019 grant round:

The FY 2016 figure will be either the FY 2016 MAR or the FY 2016 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2016, the actual final FY 2016 TAMI will be used.

The FY 2017 figure will be either the FY 2017 MAR or the FY 2017 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2017, the actual final FY 2017 TAMI will be used.

The FY 2018 figure will be either the FY 2018 MAR or the FY 2018 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2018, the actual final FY 2018 TAMI will be used.

FY2019 Municipal Appropriation Requirement Calculation

(FY 2016 + FY 2017 + FY 2018) / 3 = average of three years

average x 1.025 = FY2019 MAR (average of three years plus 2.5 %)

Initial Approval of Policy: August 8, 1991
FY 2019 Approval Date: October 6, 2016

The MBLC considers any municipality that closes its main public library or ceases offering library service to the public for any reason other than the undertaking of a project to improve library services (such as construction, automation preparation or inventory) or the occurrence of a natural catastrophe (including a limited emergency closing due to illness or death) to be, as of the date of that termination of service, no longer a certified participant in the State Aid to Public Libraries program.

The Commissioners will confirm the municipality's loss of certification at their next regularly scheduled Board meeting.

Once the municipality has lost certification, it cannot be recertified as meeting the minimum standards of public library service for State Aid to Public Libraries (as set forth in MGL c.78, s. 19A and 19B, 605 CMR 4.0, and current budget language) until the municipality's library has been meeting the standards for one complete fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) and proper application for State Aid to Public Libraries is made to the Board.

Initial Approval of Policy: March 5, 1993
FY 2019 Approval Date: October 6, 2016

The Board of Library Commissioners will consider requests for waivers of the FY2016 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) from municipalities that demonstrate fiscal hardship. Requests for waivers must include the following documentation and must be received by the MBLC State Aid and Data Coordination Unit with a postmark no later than October 12, 2018:

  1. a signed Petition for Waiver of the FY 2019 Municipal Appropriation Requirement.

    And...with a postmark no later than November 9, 2018:

  2. a completed FY 2018/FY 2019 Total Municipal Operating Budget Worksheet

  3. supporting municipal budget document(s) (such as copies of warrant articles or summary pages from the municipal budget), listing the FY 2018 and FY 2019 total operating and departmental budgets for the municipality,

  4. a statement from a municipal official:

    1. citing the fiscal hardship surrounding the municipality's inability to meet the FY 2019 MAR,

    2. explaining the municipality's FY2019 budget process regarding the library,

    3. providing evidence that any reduction to the library budget is not disproportionate relative to changes in other municipal departments and the overall municipal budget.

  5. a cover letter from the library director and trustee chair, with enclosures if appropriate, explaining the library's FY 2019 budget process and reasons why the community did not comply with the FY 2019 MAR. (Examples of enclosures include: narratives from municipal officials describing the fiscal situation, text of referenda.)

The Waiver Review Process

According to Massachusetts General Laws, c.78, s19A:

"No city or town shall receive any money under this section in any year when the appropriation of said city or town for free public library services is below an amount equal to the average of its appropriation for free public library service for the three years immediately preceding, increased by two and one-half per cent of said average. Said board may, upon petition of a community, waive aforesaid requirement upon demonstration of fiscal hardship."

The number of waivers available for FY 2019 will not be determined until the budget language is final for FY 2019.

  1. Petitions for a waiver will be reviewed by the Board of Library Commissioners at their January 2019 meeting.

  2. All petitioners for a waiver determined to have a disproportionate cut to their budget must present their petition in person at the January 2019 meeting.

  3. The Board of Library Commissioners will review FY 2019 MAR Waiver Petitions based on:

    1. evidence of municipal fiscal hardship, and

    2. demonstration by the municipality that the library's budget was not disproportionately reduced

  4. The Board of Library Commissioners will vote on the petitions for waivers of the FY 2019 MAR at their February 2019 meeting.

  5. The Board will hear any appeals of the denial of an FY 2019 MAR waiver at their March 2019 meeting.

  6. The Board will act on any appeal at their April 2019 meeting.

  7. The FY 2019 State Aid to Public Libraries Program officially concludes at the conclusion of the April 2019 Board of Library Commissioners meeting.

Initial Approval of Policy: February 7, 2002
FY 2019 Approval Date: October 6, 2016

The Board of Library Commissioners recognizes the necessity of continuing the policy of accommodation of the standards of the State Aid to Public Libraries program. This policy for the accommodation of the Materials Expenditure and the Hours Open standards seeks to certify as many municipalities as possible while still reinforcing the principles of library service.

A municipality will receive certification for FY 2019 State Aid to Public Libraries if it:

  • meets the FY 2019 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR), or receives a waiver of the FY 2019 MAR,
  • meets the materials expenditure and hours open standard at either a full (100%), mid-level (90%), or minimum (80%) amount,
  • meets all other statutory and regulatory requirements for State Aid to Public Libraries as contained in 605 CMR 4.01.

State Aid to Public Libraries grants will be awarded to all certified municipalities.

A municipality may meet a reduced standard of as low as 80% of the materials expenditure and hours open requirement contained in regulation (605 CMR 4.01), while continuing to remain certified and receive State Aid to Public Libraries. Award amounts will be unchanged for municipalities meeting 100% of both standards.

Awards for municipalities meeting adjusted standards will be reduced according to compliance with reduced standard, and will be no less than 50% of the full award for meeting the minimum (80%) of both standards. Each standard that is met at a lower level will result in a 12.5% reduction to the full award for each level of reduction. Awards may be made in amounts of; 100%, 87.5%, 75%, 62.5%, 50%. If at the end of the FY2019 grant round funds remain, no second award of State Aid to Public Libraries will be made to a municipality using the flexibility of this policy of accommodation.

Examples: Library A and Library B

Library A with a population of 11,000 is meeting its MAR. For State Aid compliance the library is required to be open 40 hours each week and expend 16% of its municipal appropriation on library materials. However, it was only open 34 hours and expended 14% on materials, minimum compliance for both standards. As a result, the FY2019 State Aid award will be reduced to 50% of the Cherry Sheet total.

Library B has a population of 17,000 and is meeting its MAR. It is required to be open 50 hours each week and expend 15% of its municipal appropriation on materials. It was only open 46 hours and spent 14% on library materials, mid-level compliance for both standards. As a result, the FY2019 State Aid award will be reduced to 75% of the Cherry Sheet total.

Adjusted Awards

Amount Level of compliance with Materials Expenditure Requirement and Hours Open Standards
100% Full (100%) compliance with both standards
87.5% Full(100%) compliance with one standard and Mid-level (90%) compliance with the other standard.
75% Full (100%) compliance with one standard and Minimum (80%) compliance with the other standard OR Mid-Level (90%) compliance with both standards.
62.5% Mid-Level (90%) compliance with one standard and Minimum (80%) compliance with the other standard.
50% Minimum (80%) compliance with both standards.

Materials Expenditure Requirement

Population Group Full Compliance
(100%)
Mid-Level Compliance
(90%)
Minimum Compliance
(80%)
Under 2,000 20.00% 18.00% 16.00%
2-4,999 19.50% 17.55% 15.60%
5-9,999 19.00% 17.00% 15.20%
10-14,999 16.00% 14.40% 12.80%
15-24,999 15.00% 13.50% 12.00%
25-49,999 13.00% 11.70% 10.40%
over 50,000 12.00% 10.80% 9.60%

Hours Open Requirement

Population Group Full Compliance
(100%)
Mid-Level Compliance
(90%)
Minimum Compliance
(80%)
Under 2,000 10 hours, including some evening 9 hours, including some evening 8 hours, including some evening
2-4,999 15 hours, including some evening 13.50 hours, including some evening 12 hours, including some evening
5-9,999 25 hours, including some evening 22.50 hours, including some evening 20 hours, including some evening
10-14,999 40 hours, 5 days, including some evening 36 hours, 4 days, including some evening 32 hours, 4 days, including some evening
15-24,999 50 hours, 5 days, including some evening 45 hours, 4 days, including some evening 40 hours, 4 days, including some evening
25-49,999 59 hours, 6 days, including some evening 53 hours, 5 days, including some evening 47 hours, 5 days, including some evening
over 50,000 63 hours, 6 days, including some evening 57 hours, 5 days, including some evening 50 hours, 5 days, including some evening

Initial Approval of Policy: April 3, 2003
FY 2019 Approval Date:
October 6, 2016

Minimum Hours Open Per Week

In keeping with the regulation that "library service should be available to the community a minimum number of hours per week" (605 CMR 4.0), the minimum hours requirement will apply during each week of the compliance period. To meet the requirement, a public library must be open the required hours, days and evenings during each week of the compliance period.

Compliance Period

The compliance period will be defined as 38 consecutive weeks per year. The 38 weeks may span two fiscal years if compliance includes summer months.

Massachusetts Legal Holidays

Libraries may close on Massachusetts legal holidays and local municipal holidays and not affect their compliance with the hours of service standards.

Initial Approval of Policy: February 4, 1993
Revision of Definition: March 22, 2017
FY 2019 Approval Date: October 6, 2016
FY 2019 Revised Approval Date: May 4, 2017

Minimum Hours Open Per Regulation

Population Size Number of Hours Number of Days Portion of Day
Under 2,000 10 not specified including some evening hours
2,000 - 4,999 15 not specified including some evening hours
5,000 - 9,999 25 not specified including some evening hours
10,000 - 14,999 40 5 including some evening hours
15,000 - 24,999 50 5 including some evening hours
25,000 - 49,999 59 6 including some morning, afternoon, & evening hours
50,000 and over 63 6 including some morning, afternoon, & evening hours
(Citations: MGL c.78 s.19B[3] and 605 CMR 4.01[3])
  1. To be eligible for the extension of a grace period for increased population-based requirements due to new population figures, the library must:

    1. be in compliance with or receive a waiver of the FY 2019 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MGL, c.78, s.19A).
    2. meet the other minimum library standards required for receipt of FY2019 State Aid to Public Libraries (MGL, c.78, s.19B):

      (1) "be open to all residents of the commonwealth,"

      (2) "make no charge for normal library services,"

      (6) "lend books to other libraries in the commonwealth and extend privileges to the holders of cards issued by other public libraries in the commonwealth on a reciprocal basis."

  2. If a municipality is in a different population group according to the population estimates mandated by the General Court for use with the FY2019 State Aid program, it is eligible for a grace period of up to three years to meet the increased standard for hours open or materials expenditure. This grace period is for the FY2019 State Aid to Public Libraries grant round. Compliance for State Aid to Public Libraries in the FY2019 grant round is measured by library performance in FY2018. To be eligible for this grace period the library must be meeting the prior lower standard.

  3. A library director whose educational requirement is now "graduation with a degree from an approved library school" because the population of his or her community has gone above 10,000 will be exempt (grandfathered) from the increased requirement. However, any work in progress by the director on prior educational/professional requirements of the Basic Library Techniques must be completed within the previously established time limits. When a grandfathered director leaves the library, his or her replacement must meet the changed requirement at the time of appointment as library director.

Initial Approval of Policy: January 9, 1997
FY 2019 Approval Date: October 6, 2016

For More Information

Mary Rose Quinn, Head of State Programs
617-725-1860 x220
(in Massachusetts) 800-952-7403 x220
maryrose.quinn@state.ma.us

Liz Babbitt, State Aid Specialist
617-725-1860 x227
(in Massachusetts) 800-952-7403 x227
liz.babbitt@state.ma.us