Calling All Massachusetts Library Advocates!

Your local libraries need you! The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners FY17 budget lines have been level funded in the House Ways and Means budget and the Massachusetts Center for the Book has been zeroed out completely (again)!

Please call your representative TODAY to ask him or her to sign on to these important amendments restoring cuts to library budget line items. The amendments listed here have been filed by House legislators to reverse the most recent long-term cuts to library funding across the state. Click on the amendment number to see who has already signed on!

Not sure how to contact your rep? Just plug in your zip code on the Mass. Library Association’s Engage site, and get the contact info for your legislator’s office in the House of Representatives.

7000-9508  – Massachusetts Center for the Book – Reinstatement & $250,000 request filed by Representative Kate Hogan. (Amendment #1015)

The Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB)  is a public-private partnership charged with raising funds to develop, support  and promote programming for libraries throughout the Commonwealth. By restoring  funding to the FY16 level, the MCB is able to sponsor programming that expands  our circle of readers and that deepens our understanding of and appreciation  for the past, present and future of the book and of the book arts in Massachusetts; it emphasizes the central role libraries play in civic and cultural life.

7000-9501  – State Aid to Public Libraries – additional $1,000,000 request filed by  Representative Kate Hogan. (Amendment #1024)

Libraries use state aid funds to meet  the needs of local residents including keeping libraries open, purchasing  computers and running homework centers and job-search workshops.  As long as libraries are certified in the  State Aid to Public Libraries Program, residents can use any public library and  access resources from the entire state.   An increase in funding will give public libraries an on-ramp to  participate in the new eBook system and keep current with technology. This line  is currently funded at 10% below FY2009 level.

7000-9506  – Technology & Resource Sharing: additional $1,000,000 request filed by  Representative Paul Brodeur. (Amendment #1078)

Libraries provide residents with  access to current technology such as Wi-Fi, digital resources and Internet  access, but the Automated Networks are behind the scenes making these and other services, including interlibrary loan, available and affordable to  libraries. This line item also makes network membership possible for the  smallest public libraries, those with populations under 10,000, through the  Small Libraries in Network Program. This line is currently funded at 52% below  2001 level.

7000-9101  – Board of Library Commissioners: $1,225,000 request filed by Representative Mary Keefe (Amendment #967)

This line item funds the staff and  operations of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. This level of  funding is necessary for the agency to oversee State Aid to Public Libraries,  the Public Library Construction Program, and critical infrastructure that supports  all libraries in the Commonwealth. The Board budget will be in deficit without  the requested increase in funds which jeopardizes all of the programs the MBLC  oversees. Is funded at 12% below 2001 levels. Without the additional funds  requested, this line that funds MBLC operations will be in deficit.

7000-9401  – State Aid to Regional Libraries: $10,940,475 request filed by Assistant  Majority Leader Byron Rushing. (Amendment #1032)

The Massachusetts Library System  receives funds to support delivery services, training and advisory services for  academic, school, public and special libraries across the Commonwealth,  electronic content, the Summer Reading Program, Cooperative Purchasing Program  and the e-book pilot project. An increase in funding for the Massachusetts  Library System would help support the infrastructure costs of the statewide  e-book platform. The Library for the Commonwealth has used state funding to  support the digitization of library resources throughout the Commonwealth and  to provide any resident of the Commonwealth with access to Boston Public Library electronic content. This line is currently funded at 44% below its  2002 level.

Library line  items 7000-9101, 7000-9401, 7000-9501, and 7000-9506 work together to enable  statewide resource sharing that reduces costs at both state and local levels  and also improves local library services. 96% of this funding goes either  directly to the local libraries or for services to local libraries.

Cuts are  putting the whole money saving system in jeopardy. It is critical to restore  funding to these library lines so that libraries can continue their role in Education across the Commonwealth. Libraries are an essential bulwark against unequal access to Education.

Most of the text of this post is from Massachusetts Library Association’s Engage, where library advocacy is made easy!

One thought on “Calling All Massachusetts Library Advocates!”

Would love to have you comment!