Funding Massachusetts Center for the Book @massbook

This plea for support from the small, hardworking staff and board of the Massachusetts Center for the Book was posted Friday on Facebook, after the devastating news that the Senate’s amended FY17 budget proposal still completely left out state funding for the Center:

The Mass State Senate did not include the line which funds Mass Center for the Book in its final budget. We must now advocate for the line with the budget conference committee.

For the past three years, we have tried to proceed with business as usual while we advocated for our funding, but that is no longer possible.

Until we know if we are going to exist in the coming fiscal year, we must put our book awards announcements on hold.

If you are as frustrated as we are about this annual fight for the survival of Massachusetts Center for the Book — our commonwealth affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress — will you please write to your state Sen and State Rep to say that you want them to support 7000-9508 during the conference negotiations and that you want them to tell both the House and Senate Ways and Means committees that this line must no longer be simply skipped over, zeroed out, when they create their budget proposals?

62 State Reps supported us in the House budget debate. You can find them here: https://malegislature.gov/…/Amendme…/House/1015/OriginalText

7 State Sens supported us in the Senate debate: You can see them here: https://malegislature.gov/…/Se…/S4/Amendment/Senate/274/Text

Mass Center for the Book thanks all of those legislators for their hard work to ensure our future. Please help us convince the rest of our legislators that funding for 7000-9508 cannot annually be put in jeopardy. If we have to cease planning and collaborations for three months of every year while we fight for basic funding, our work is compromised.

Thanks as ever for your support and remember, if you want an easy way to get to the contact information for your Reps/Sens you can visit http://wheredoivotema.com

~ Sharon, Barrie, Ellen, Gretyl, and the Board of Mass Center for the Book

Graphic showing State House with "In Session" textMy thought as I perused the state senate budget amendments: “Why are so many projects that will serve only a single town’s residents or even just a portion of those residents, funded with thousands or even millions of state dollars, while a statewide cultural and literacy organization – our state’s affiliate with the Library of Congress Center for the Book – with an educational mission to serve all ages with outreach to public libraries in every city and town, has to beg for its $250,000 each and every year, and is grateful to get $200,000 to fund its programs?”

If you didn’t get to call your legislators and you live in Massachusetts, the Center for the Book needs you again! Follow MassBook on Twitter or Facebook to stay up to date.

Thank you to the state representatives and senators who signed on to support the budget amendment for the Center for the Book, including my own state rep, Michelle DuBois, always a champion of libraries! The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners concentrated its advocacy efforts on three senate budget amendments: 285, 286, and 309. Thank you to my state senator, Michael Brady, also a library champion, for signing on to two of them! Unfortunately, only one passed, so more advocacy is needed there, as well.

However, while very important and still underfunded, these budget lines have not been completely zeroed out, as Mass. Center for the Book has.

The Budget Conference Committee will meet privately in the coming days and hammer out the differences between the House and Senate budget proposals. FY17 starts on July 1, so there’s not much time left to get the budget set.

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