Policies

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

Emergency State Aid Policy Changes for FY2021 and FY2022

In acknowledgement of the current COVID 19 emergency and its continuing impact on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and, in an effort to support and protect the Commonwealth’s municipal libraries, their dedicated staff members, trustees, and the patrons they serve, and to assist them in their ongoing recovery efforts, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners suspends and/or revises the following FY 2021 State Aid to Public Libraries Program Policies (Reported in the FY 2022 State Aid cycle) and revises the Five Year Waiver Policy and the Library Closure Policy.

Emergency State Aid Policy Changes for FY2020 and FY2021

As a result of the Governor’s Emergency Declaration on March 10, 2020, libraries began closing to the public. In addition, most libraries stopped ordering and purchasing materials for their collections and may not be able to meet the annual spending percentages as required in the Minimum Standards of Free Public Library Service by the end of the current fiscal year.

In an effort to support libraries participating in the State Aid to Public Libraries Program as they cope with this emergency, the Board of Library Commissioners approved changes to the State Aid Program Standards Policies at their monthly Board meeting on April 2, 2020.

Rather than address the changes individually in each of the ten policies for both 2020 and 2021, the modifications are reflected and were approved through an Emergency Preamble to the State Aid to Public Libraries Program Policies which has been added to the State Aid Policies section of the website and as a preface to the printed versions of the policy documents going forward.

Commissioners will have an opportunity to again review and adopt policies and changes to policies in September/October at their regular Monthly Board Meetings when State Aid Policies are scheduled for annual review and implementation. If the need arises, the Board can and will take up and vote on policy recommendations at any regular or emergency Board meeting in the interim.

Libraries report their hours open and their materials expenditures each year on their State Aid Application and Compliance form with their State Aid Financial survey each October. The figures they report reflect the hours and materials expenditure for the prior fiscal year. In October 2020 (FY 2021), libraries will be reporting data collected for FY 2020 (July 1, 2019 to June, 2020) for materials expenditures and for a 38 week hours open requirement (usually Labor Day to Memorial Day).

The Emergency Preamble addresses:
Hours Open Requirement
Materials Expenditure Requirement
Accommodation Policies for the Hours Open and Materials Expenditure Requirement
The Closure of a Public Library (Policy)
Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) Chapter 78, Section 19A
The FY 2021 Five Year Waiver Plan Policy
Disproportionate Cuts

FY 2022 Policies

All

Hours Open Requirement: The Minimum Hours Open requirement is defined in statute and regulation (MGL, c.78, s.19B and 605 CMR 4.01[3]). The Hours Open Requirement (to be reported on the FY 2022 Application and Compliance form) is suspended for FY 2021 retroactively to July 1, 2020. Libraries that continue to provide library services to their patrons at a level (curbside pickup, limited browsing, etc.) appropriate to their local circumstances, will be considered as meeting the full Hours Open Requirement (reported on the FY 2021 Application and Compliance form) for the FY 2022 State Aid cycle.

Materials Expenditure Requirement: The Materials Expenditure Requirement is defined in statute and regulation (MGL, c.78, s.19B; 605 CMR 4.01[5]). The Board encourages all libraries to continue purchasing materials for their print, non-print, and online collections to share with patrons both locally and statewide through the full fiscal year and at a level that meets the full requirement. However, libraries that are unable to meet the Materials Expenditure Requirement for FY 2021 (ending June 30, 2021) will not be penalized with a reduced State Aid Award and will be considered as meeting the full Materials Expenditure Requirement (reported on the FY 2021 Application and Compliance form) for the FY 2022 State Aid cycle.

Accommodation Policies for the Hours Open and Materials Expenditure Requirement: Suspended for FY 2021 (reported in The FY2022 State Aid cycle) as they will not be needed; see above policy revision for requirements.

Flexibility for the Materials Expenditure Requirement per 605 CMR 4.01
(Each library shall be open at least the minimum required hours for its population group (refer to the minimum standards contained in 605 C.M.R.4.01(3)). A library that is open the required hours for a larger population group may expend the required materials expenditure for that population group.) Suspended for FY 2021 (reported in The FY2022 State Aid cycle) as they will not be needed; see above policy revision for requirements.

The Closure of a Public Library (Policy): The Policy is revised beginning with the FY 2020 Policy and going forward to include for clarification, examples of natural catastrophes, i.e. fire, flood, storms, and epidemics/pandemics and other states of emergencies (Federal, State, and Local).

Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) Chapter 78, Section 19A
The MAR formula has not changed, and the requirement is not reset. “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. Said waiver may only be granted by said board in a given fiscal year to not more than ten cities and towns in the commonwealth.”

WAIVER REMINDER: The Board continues to request additional waivers beyond the statutory limit (ten) in budget language to provide municipalities experiencing financial hardship with an opportunity to continue participation in the State Aid Program.

The number of Municipal Appropriation Requirement Waivers available for FY2021 has been established in the final FY2021 State Budget language: ( …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 under the second paragraph of section 19A of chapter 78 of the General Laws for fiscal year 2021 for not more than 1 year;…)

As part of the Waiver application process, municipalities are required to complete a Disproportionate Cut Worksheet to determine whether the cut to the library budget was disproportionate when compared to the overall municipal budget. (i.e., the library is singled out for steeper cuts than other municipal departments). A cut to the library budget is considered disproportionate when the library budget reduction exceeds the overall municipal budget cut. The benchmark is set at 5%*. Municipalities that reduced the library appropriation more than 5%* over the municipal budget cuts are required to present the Waiver request at the monthly Board meeting in person (virtually for FY 2021).

The Board will review FY2021 MAR Waiver Petitions based on:

a. evidence of municipal fiscal hardship

b. demonstration by the municipality that the libary's budget was not disproportionately reduced

The FY 2022 Five Year Waiver Plan Policy (Year Two): Municipalities that reduced their library budgets disproportionately and receive a waiver of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement in FY 2021 and plan to apply for a waiver in FY 2022, will be required to provide additional budget planning documentation and present their Year 2 Waiver application in person at the January 2022 Board Meeting. All other waiver applicants (under 10% disproportionate cuts) will be subject to Year 1 requirements of the Five-Year Waiver Plan.

Deadline Extension for Acting Directors:
For libraries that have Acting or Interim Directors that are approaching the three-year limit within this fiscal year, the deadline for appointing a Permanent Director is extended through September 2021.

*The State Aid Unit has recommended that the Disproportionate Cut benchmark be increased from 5% to 10% for the FY21 State Aid cycle.

 

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.

Please note: Only materials that circulate to all residents of municipalities certified for State Aid to Public Libraries count toward meeting the Minimum Materials Expenditure Standard unless there are special circumstances, such as a stipulation in a vendor contract or a Trust is designated for special purproses.

Initial Approval of Policy: January 9, 1997
Revision of Policy: October 3, 2019
FY 2022 Initial Approval Date: October 3, 2019
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

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 2022 grant round:

The FY 2019 figure will be either the FY 2019 MAR or the FY 2019 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2019, the actual final FY 2019 TAMI will be used.

The FY 2020 figure will be either the FY 2020 MAR or the FY 2020 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2020, the actual final FY 2020 TAMI will be used.

The FY 2021 figure will be either the FY 2021 MAR or the FY 2021 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2021, the actual final FY 2021 TAMI will be used.

FY 2022 Municipal Appropriation Requirement Calculation

(FY 2019 + FY 2020 + FY 2021) / 3 = average of three years

average x 1.025 = FY 2022 MAR (average of three years plus 2.5 %)

Initial Approval of Policy: August 8, 1991
FY 2022 Approval Date: October 3, 2019
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

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 2022 Approval Date:
October 3, 2019
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

The Board of Library Commissioners will consider requests for waivers of the FY 2022 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 1, 2021:

  1. a signed Petition for Waiver of the FY 2022 Municipal Appropriation Requirement.

    And...with a postmark no later than November 5, 2021:

  2. a completed FY 2021/FY 2022 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 2021 and FY 2022 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 2022 MAR,

    2. explaining the municipality's FY 2022 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 2022 budget process and reasons why the community did not comply with the FY 2022 MAR. (Examples of enclosures include: narratives from municipal officials describing the fiscal situation, text of referenda.)

For municipalities that received a waiver of the FY 2021 MAR, in addition to documents 2-5 listed above:
6. Five Year MAR Waiver Plan (Year Two) or update (Year Three) written by a senior municipal official in conjunction with library director and trustees.

NOTE: Municipalities are limited to 5 consecutive fiscal years as a waiver applicant. Commissioners have the discretion to request that any waiver applicant present their petition in person.

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 2022 will not be determined until the budget language is final for FY 2022.

  1. Petitions for a waiver will be reviewed by the Board of Library Commissioners at their January 2022 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 2022 meeting.

  3. All petitioners for a waiver who received a disproportionate cut in the prior fiscal year must present their petition in person at the January 2022 meeting.
  4. The Board of Library Commissioners will review FY 2022 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

  5. The Board of Library Commissioners will vote on the petitions for waivers of the FY 2022 MAR at their February 2022 meeting.

  6. The Board will hear any appeals of the denial of an FY 2022 MAR waiver at their March 2022 meeting.

  7. The Board will act on any appeal at their April 2022 meeting.

  8. The FY 2022 State Aid to Public Libraries Program officially concludes at the conclusion of the April 2022 Board of Library Commissioners meeting.

Initial Approval of Policy: February 7, 2002
Revision to the Policy: October 3, 2019
FY 2022 Approval Date: October 3, 2019
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

The Board of Library Commissioners recognizes that municipalities that demonstrate fiscal hardship may need to request a waiver of the FY2022 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR). Requests for waivers must include documentation as outlined in the DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR A WAIVER OF THE FY2022 MUNICIPAL APPROPRIATION REQUIREMENT (MAR) policy.

NOTE: Municipalities are limited to 5 consecutive fiscal years as a waiver applicant. Commissioners have the discretion to request that any waiver applicant present their petition in person.

For Municipalities that received a waiver of the FY2021 MAR (Year One), and are petitioning for a waiver of the FY2022 MAR (Year Two), a plan must be submitted, written by a senior municipal official in conjunction with the library’s director and trustees. This plan outlines the steps to be made in FY2022 (and for the next three fiscal years) which will bring the municipality’s library appropriation back to the required level of funding, the MAR.

For Municipalities that received a waiver of the FY2020 MAR (Year One), and FY2021 (Year Two) and are petitioning for a waiver of the FY2022 MAR (Year Three), an update to the plan created in Year Two must be submitted, written by a senior municipal official in conjunction with the library’s director and trustees. This update reviews the steps that were made in FY2021 (and outlines the steps to be made for the next two fiscal years which will bring the municipality’s library appropriation back to the required level of funding, the MAR.)

For Municipalities that received a waiver of the FY2021 MAR with reservation, i.e. the library’s budget was DISPROPORTIONATELY CUT in FY2021, and are petitioning for a waiver of the FY2022 MAR, a plan or update as described above must be submitted, written by a senior municipal official in conjunction with the library’s director and trustees, and IN ADDITION, they must present their petition in person at the Board of Library Commissioners meeting in January, 2022.

 

Initial Approval of Policy: October 4, 2018
Revision to the Policy: October 3, 2019
FY2022 Approval Date: October 3, 2019
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

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 2022 State Aid to Public Libraries if it:

  • meets the FY 2022 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR), or receives a waiver of the FY 2022 MAR,
  • meets the materials expenditure and hours open standard at either a full (100%), or mid-level (90%),
  • meets all other statutory and regulatory requirements for State Aid to Public Libraries as contained in 605 CMR 4.01.

NOTE: Prior to FY2020, accomodation of the Materials Expenditure of the Hours Open standards included a minimum level of compliance (80%). Municipalities who received an accommodation at the minimum level (80%) in FY2019 (hours open or materials collected ub FY2018 reported in FY2019) can remain at that level until FY2022 (hours open or materials collected in FY2021 to be reported in FY2022.) A reduction of 12.5% for each level of accommodation shall still be in effect.

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

A municipality may meet a reduced standard of as low as 90% 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 75% of the full award for meeting the minimum (90%) 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%. If funds remain at the end of the FY2022 grant round. no additional award of the State Aid to Public Libraries will be made to a municipality using this policy of accommodation.

Examples: Library A

Library A 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 2022 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% Mid-Level(90%) compliance with both standards.

Materials Expenditure Requirement

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

Hours Open Requirement

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

Initial Approval of Policy: April 3, 2003
FY 2022 Approval Date: October 3, 2019

State Aid policies are reviewed 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

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 2022 Approval Date: October 3, 2019
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

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 2022 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MGL, c.78, s.19A).
    2. meet the other minimum library standards required for receipt of FY 2022 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 2022 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 2022 State Aid to Public Libraries grant round. Compliance for State Aid to Public Libraries in the FY 2022 grant round is measured by library performance in FY 2021. 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 2022 Approval Date:
October 3, 2019
State Aid Policies are reviewed annually.

FY 2021 Policies

All

Hours Open Requirement: The Minimum Hours Open requirement is defined in statute and regulation (MGL, c.78, s.19B and 605 CMR 4.01[3]). The Hours Open Requirement (to be reported on the FY 2022 Application and Compliance form) is suspended for FY 2021 retroactively to July 1, 2020. Libraries that continue to provide library services to their patrons at a level (curbside pickup, limited browsing, etc.) appropriate to their local circumstances, will be considered as meeting the full Hours Open Requirement (reported on the FY 2021 Application and Compliance form) for the FY 2022 State Aid cycle.

Materials Expenditure Requirement: The Materials Expenditure Requirement is defined in statute and regulation (MGL, c.78, s.19B; 605 CMR 4.01[5]). The Board encourages all libraries to continue purchasing materials for their print, non-print, and online collections to share with patrons both locally and statewide through the full fiscal year and at a level that meets the full requirement. However, libraries that are unable to meet the Materials Expenditure Requirement for FY 2021 (ending June 30, 2021) will not be penalized with a reduced State Aid Award and will be considered as meeting the full Materials Expenditure Requirement (reported on the FY 2021 Application and Compliance form) for the FY 2022 State Aid cycle.

Accommodation Policies for the Hours Open and Materials Expenditure Requirement: Suspended for FY 2021 (reported in The FY2022 State Aid cycle) as they will not be needed; see above policy revision for requirements.

Flexibility for the Materials Expenditure Requirement per 605 CMR 4.01
(Each library shall be open at least the minimum required hours for its population group (refer to the minimum standards contained in 605 C.M.R.4.01(3)). A library that is open the required hours for a larger population group may expend the required materials expenditure for that population group.) Suspended for FY 2021 (reported in The FY2022 State Aid cycle) as they will not be needed; see above policy revision for requirements.

The Closure of a Public Library (Policy): The Policy is revised beginning with the FY 2020 Policy and going forward to include for clarification, examples of natural catastrophes, i.e. fire, flood, storms, and epidemics/pandemics and other states of emergencies (Federal, State, and Local).

Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) Chapter 78, Section 19A
The MAR formula has not changed, and the requirement is not reset. “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. Said waiver may only be granted by said board in a given fiscal year to not more than ten cities and towns in the commonwealth.”

WAIVER REMINDER: The Board continues to request additional waivers beyond the statutory limit (ten) in budget language to provide municipalities experiencing financial hardship with an opportunity to continue participation in the State Aid Program.

The number of Municipal Appropriation Requirement Waivers available for FY2021 has been established in the final FY2021 State Budget language: ( …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 under the second paragraph of section 19A of chapter 78 of the General Laws for fiscal year 2021 for not more than 1 year;…)

As part of the Waiver application process, municipalities are required to complete a Disproportionate Cut Worksheet to determine whether the cut to the library budget was disproportionate when compared to the overall municipal budget. (i.e., the library is singled out for steeper cuts than other municipal departments). A cut to the library budget is considered disproportionate when the library budget reduction exceeds the overall municipal budget cut. The benchmark is set at 5%*. Municipalities that reduced the library appropriation more than 5%* over the municipal budget cuts are required to present the Waiver request at the monthly Board meeting in person (virtually for FY 2021).

The Board will review FY2021 MAR Waiver Petitions based on:

a. evidence of municipal fiscal hardship

b. demonstration by the municipality that the libary's budget was not disproportionately reduced

The FY 2022 Five Year Waiver Plan Policy (Year Two): Municipalities that reduced their library budgets disproportionately and receive a waiver of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement in FY 2021 and plan to apply for a waiver in FY 2022, will be required to provide additional budget planning documentation and present their Year 2 Waiver application in person at the January 2022 Board Meeting. All other waiver applicants (under 10% disproportionate cuts) will be subject to Year 1 requirements of the Five-Year Waiver Plan.

Deadline Extension for Acting Directors:
For libraries that have Acting or Interim Directors that are approaching the three-year limit within this fiscal year, the deadline for appointing a Permanent Director is extended through September 2021.

*The State Aid Unit has recommended that the Disproportionate Cut benchmark be increased from 5% to 10% for the FY21 State Aid cycle.

 

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 2021 Approval Date: October 4, 2018
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

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 2021 grant round:

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.

The FY 2019 figure will be either the FY 2019 MAR or the FY 2019 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2019, the actual final FY 2019 TAMI will be used.

The FY 2020 figure will be either the FY 2020 MAR or the FY 2020 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2020, the actual final FY 2020 TAMI will be used.

FY2021 Municipal Appropriation Requirement Calculation

(FY 2018 + FY 2019 + FY 2020) / 3 = average of three years

average x 1.025 = FY2021 MAR (average of three years plus 2.5 %)

Initial Approval of Policy: August 8, 1991
FY 2021 Approval Date: October 4, 2018
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

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 2021 Approval Date: October 4, 2018
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

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 2, 2020:

  1. a signed Petition for Waiver of the FY 2021 Municipal Appropriation Requirement.

    And...with a postmark no later than November 6, 2020:

  2. a completed FY 2020/FY 2021 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 2020 and FY 2021 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 2021 MAR,

    2. explaining the municipality's FY2021 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 2021 budget process and reasons why the community did not comply with the FY 2021 MAR. (Examples of enclosures include: narratives from municipal officials describing the fiscal situation, text of referenda.)

For municipalities that received a waiver of the FY2020 MAR, in addition to documents 2-5 as listed above:

6. Five Year MAR Waiver Plan written by a senior municipal official in conjunction with library director and trustees.

NOTE Municipalities are limitedto 5 consecutive fiscal years as a waiver applicant. Commissioners have the discretion to request that any waiver applicant present their petition in person.

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 2021 will not be determined until the budget language is final for FY 2021.

  1. Petitions for a waiver will be reviewed by the Board of Library Commissioners at their January 2021 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 2021 meeting.

  3. All petitioners for a waiver who received a disprportionate cut in the prior fiscal year must present their petition in person at the January 2021 meeting.
  4. The Board of Library Commissioners will review FY 2021 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

  5. The Board of Library Commissioners will vote on the petitions for waivers of the FY 2021 MAR at their February 2021 meeting.

  6. The Board will hear any appeals of the denial of an FY 2021 MAR waiver at their March 2021 meeting.

  7. The Board will act on any appeal at their April 2021 meeting.

  8. The FY 2021 State Aid to Public Libraries Program officially concludes at the conclusion of the April 2021 Board of Library Commissioners meeting.

Initial Approval of Policy: February 7, 2002
Revision to the Policy: October 4, 2018
FY 2021 Approval Date: October 4, 2018
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

The Board of Library Commissioners recognizes that municipalities that demonstrate fiscal hardship may need to request a waiver of the FY2021 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR). Requests for waivers must include documentation as outlined in the DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR A WAIVER OF THE FY2021 MUNICIPAL APPROPRIATION REQUIREMENT (MAR) policy. 

NOTE: Municipalities are limited to 5 consecutive fiscal years as a waiver applicant. Commissioners have the discretion to request that any waiver applicant present their petition in person.

For Municipalities that received a waiver of the FY2020 MAR (Year One), and are petitioning for a waiver of the FY2021 MAR (Year Two), a plan must be submitted, written by a senior municipal official in conjunction with the library’s director and trustees. This plan outlines the steps to be made in FY2021 (and for the next three fiscal years) which will bring the municipality’s library appropriation back to the required level of funding, the MAR.

For Municipalities that received a waiver of the FY2020 MAR (Year One) with reservation, i.e. the library’s budget was DISPROPORTIONATELY CUT in FY2020, and are petitioning for a waiver of the FY2021 MAR (Year Two), a plan must be submitted, written by a senior municipal official in conjunction with the library’s director and trustees; which will bring the municipality’s library appropriation back to the required level of funding, the MAR. IN ADDITION, they must present their petition in person at the Board of Library Commissioners meeting in January, 2021.

 

Initial Approval of Policy: October 4, 2018
FY2021 Approval Date: October 4, 2018
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

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 2021 State Aid to Public Libraries if it:

  • meets the FY 2021 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR), or receives a waiver of the FY 2021 MAR,
  • meets the materials expenditure and hours open standard at either a full (100%), or mid-level (90%),
  • meets all other statutory and regulatory requirements for State Aid to Public Libraries as contained in 605 CMR 4.01.

NOTE: Prior to FY2020, accommodation of the Materials Expenditure or the Hours Open standards included a minimum level of compliance (80%). Municipalities who received an accomodation at the minimum level (80%) in FY2019 (hours open or materials collected in FY2018 reported in FY2019) can remain at that level until FY2022 (hours open or materials collected in FY2021 to be reported in FY2022.) A reduction of 12.5% for each level of accommodation shall still be in effect.

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

A municipality may meet a reduced standard of as low as 90% 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 75% of the full award for meeting the minimum (90%) 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%. If at the end of the FY2021 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.

Example: Library A

Library A 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 FY2021 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 MinimumMid-Level (90%) compliance with both standards.

Materials Expenditure Requirement

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

Hours Open Requirement

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

Initial Approval of Policy: April 3, 2003
FY 2021 Approval Date:
October 4, 2018
State Aid policies are reviewed 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

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 2021 Approval Date: October 4, 2018
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

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 2021 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MGL, c.78, s.19A).
    2. meet the other minimum library standards required for receipt of FY2021 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 FY2021 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 FY2021 State Aid to Public Libraries grant round. Compliance for State Aid to Public Libraries in the FY2021 grant round is measured by library performance in FY2020. 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 2021 Approval Date: October 4, 2018
State Aid policies are reviewed annually.

FY 2020 Policies

All

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Massachusetts and in an effort to support and protect the Commonwealth’s municipal libraries, their dedicated staff members, Trustees, and the patrons they serve and to assist them in their future recovery efforts, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners suspends the following FY 2020 State Aid to Public Libraries Program Policies (Reported in the FY 2021 State Aid cycle) and revises the Five Year Waiver Policy and the Library Closure Policy in acknowledgement of the current crisis:

Hours Open Requirement:   Hours reported for FY 2020 compliance period up to the Governor’s State of Emergency Declaration on March 10, 2020 will meet full compliance with the Hours Open Requirement (reported on the FY 2021 Application and Compliance form).

Materials Expenditure Requirement:   Expenditures on materials for FY 2020 from July 1, 2019 up to the Governor’s State of Emergency Declaration on March 10, 2020 will meet full compliance with the FY 2020 Materials Expenditure Requirement (reported on the FY 2021 Application and Compliance form).

Accommodation Policies for the Hours Open and Materials Expenditure Requirement: Suspended for FY 2020 (reported in The FY2021 State Aid cycle); see above policy revision for requirements.

The Closure of a Public Library (Policy):    the Policy is revised starting with the FY 2020 Policy and going forward to include for clarification, examples of natural catastrophes, i.e.  fire, flood, storms, and epidemics/pandemics and other states of emergencies (Federal, State, and Local).

NOTE: Libraries should reopen as soon as possible once the state of emergency is lifted. A municipality that does not reopen its library after municipal services are restored risks decertification.

Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) Chapter 78, Section 19A
The MAR formula has not changed and the requirement has not been reset. 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. Said waiver may only be granted by said board in a given fiscal year to not more than ten cities and towns in the commonwealth.”

However, the Board will continue to request additional waivers beyond the statutory limit in budget language (ten) to provide municipalities experiencing financial hardship with an opportunity to continue participation in the State Aid Program.

The FY 2021 Five Year Waiver Plan Policy (Year Two):  The FY 2021 Waiver Plan Policy (Year Two) is replaced with the FY 2020 Waiver Plan Policy (Year One) and resets the Five Year Plan to FY 2021-FY 2025.

WAIVER REMINDER:
The number of waivers available for FY2021 will not be determined until the budget language is final for FY2021. The Board cautions against cuts to library budgets by municipalities that are disproportionate in nature; i.e., the library is singled out for steeper cuts than other municipal departments. A budget cut is considered disproportionate when the library budget reduction exceeds the overall municipal budget cut by 5% or more.

  1. Petitions are submitted in October with the Financial Survey and State Aid Application and Compliance Form.
  2. Petitions for a waiver will be reviewed by the Board of Library Commissioners at their January 2021 meeting.
  3. All petitioners for a waiver determined to have a disproportionate cut to their budget must present their petition in person at the January 2021 meeting.
  4. The Board will review FY2021 MAR Waiver Petitions based on:
  5. evidence of municipal fiscal hardship, and
  6. demonstration by the municipality that the library’s budget was not disproportionately reduced.
  7. The Board will vote on the petitions for waivers of the FY2021 MAR at their February 2021 meeting.
  8. The Board will hear any appeals of the denial of an FY2021 MAR waiver at their March 2021 meeting.
  9. The Board will act on any appeal at their April 2021 meeting.
  10. The FY2021 State Aid to Public Library Program officially concludes at the conclusion of the April 2021 Board of Library Commissioners meeting.

NOTE: The MBLC Commissioners will address any further policy changes necessary once the extent of the COVID-19 impact on libraries is better understood. The Board will continue its review over the summer and present further policy revisions at its Board meeting in September to be voted on in October. (See regular State Aid Calendar)

 

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 2020 Approval Date: October 5, 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 2020 grant round:

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.

The FY 2019 figure will be either the FY 2019 MAR or the FY 20169 TAMI, whichever is higher. If the municipality was not certified for State Aid to Public Libraries in FY 2019, the actual final FY 2019 TAMI will be used.

FY 2020 Municipal Appropriation Requirement Calculation

(FY 2017 + FY 2018 + FY 2019 / 3 = average of three years

average x 1.025 = FY 2020 MAR (average of three years plus 2.5 %)

Initial Approval of Policy: August 8, 1991
FY 2020 Approval Date: October 5, 2017

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 2020 Approval Date:
October 5, 2017

The Board of Library Commissioners will consider requests for waivers of the FY 2020 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 4, 2019:

  1. a signed Petition for Waiver of the FY 2020 Municipal Appropriation Requirement.

    And...with a postmark no later than November 1, 2019:

  2. a completed FY 2019/FY 2020 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 2019 and FY 2020 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 2020 MAR,

    2. explaining the municipality's FY 2020 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 2020 budget process and reasons why the community did not comply with the FY 2020 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 2020 will not be determined until the budget language is final for FY 2020.

  1. Petitions for a waiver will be reviewed by the Board of Library Commissioners at their January 2020 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 2020 meeting.

  3. The Board of Library Commissioners will review FY 2020 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 2020 MAR at their February 2020 meeting.

  5. The Board will hear any appeals of the denial of an FY 2020 MAR waiver at their March 2020 meeting.

  6. The Board will act on any appeal at their April 2020 meeting.

  7. The FY 2020 State Aid to Public Libraries Program officially concludes at the conclusion of the April 2020 Board of Library Commissioners meeting.

Initial Approval of Policy: February 7, 2002
FY 2020 Approval Date:
October 5, 2017

The Board of Library Commissioners recognizes that municipalities that demonstrate fiscal hardship may need to request a waiver of the FY2020 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR). Requests for waivers must include documentation as outlined in the DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR A WAIVER OF THE FY2020 MUNICIPAL APPROPRIATION REQUIREMENT (MAR) policy.

NOTE: As of FY2020, Municipalities are limited to 5 consecutive fiscal years as a waiver applicant. Commissioners have the discretion to request that any waiver applicant present their petition in person.

For Municipalities that receive a waiver of the FY2020 MAR, this will constitute Year One of the Five Year, Waiver Plan. This is regardless of how many prior years a municipality has petitioned for a waiver.

Initial Approval of Policy: October 4, 2018
FY2020 Approval Date: October 4, 2018
State Aid Policies are reviewed annually

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 represented by the minimum standard of public library service.

A municipality will receive certification for FY 2020 State Aid to Public Libraries if it:

  • meets the FY 2020 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR), or receives a waiver of the FY 2020 MAR,
  • meets the materials expenditure and hours open standard at either a full (100%), or mid-level (90%),
  • meets all other statutory and regulatory requirements for State Aid to Public Libraries as contained in 605 CMR 4.01.

NOTE: Prior to FY2020, accomodation to the Materials Expenditure or the Hours Open standards included a minimum level of compliance (80%). Municipalities who received an accomodation at the minimum level (80%) in FY2019 (hours open or materials collected in FY2018 reported in FY2019) can remain at that level until FY2022 (hours open or materials collected in FY2021 to be reported in FY2022). A reduction of 12.5% for each level of accomodation shall still be in effect.

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

A municipality may meet a reduced standard of as low as 90% 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 75% of the full award for meeting the minimum (90%) 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%. If at the end of the FY 2020 grant round funds remain, no additional award of State Aid to Public Libraries will be made to a municipality using the flexibility of this policy of accommodation.

Example: Library A

Library A 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 2020 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% Mid-Level(90%) compliance with both standards.

Materials Expenditure Requirement

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

Hours Open Requirement

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

Initial Approval of Policy: April 3, 2003
FY 2020 Approval Date: October 5, 2017
Revised Approval Date: October 4, 2018

 

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.

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
Revision of Definition: March 22, 2017
FY 2020 Approval Date:
October 5, 2017
(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 2020 Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MGL, c.78, s.19A).
    2. meet the other minimum library standards required for receipt of FY 2020 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 2020 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 2020 State Aid to Public Libraries grant round. Compliance for State Aid to Public Libraries in the FY 2020 grant round is measured by library performance in FY 2019. 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 2020 Approval Date:
October 5, 2017
 

For More Information

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

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