How You Can Support Books & Reading in Your State! @massbook #booksvote

photo of State HouseIt’s the time of year when budgets for next year are being prepared and decided on. Now is the time for the bookish community to rally in support of libraries and literacy in your state!

How can you support funding for public and school libraries in your state? Check out the the American Library Association’s Legislative Action Center. You can search by zip code or by state to find out how easy it is to advocate for libraries with a couple of quick emails or phone calls.

Library Legislative Day in Massachusetts this year is Monday, March 31. Library people from all over will converge on the State House – gathering together at first and then spreading out to find our own representative and talk to them personally, if possible, about the current library legislative agenda. (Anyone can come! Get the schedule and details here, from the Massachusetts Library Association.)

Apart from the official library legislative agenda, an important funding item that Massachusetts legislators are deciding on now is the fate of the Massachusetts Center for the Book. The Massachusetts Center for the Book (@MassBook) brings the Massachusetts literary community together – authors, publishers, libraries, and, most of all, readers, with programs that support libraries and literacy such as the Massachusetts Book Awards and Letters About Literature. The Center’s current total budget is $28,500 – for salaries, Web site, materials, postage, and necessary office expenditures. The Center’s funding is down by more than 75% from its inception, and its reserves have been depleted.

Rep. Kate Hogan (D-Stow) has stepped up to sponsor Bill H.3292 to establish the Massachusetts Center for the Book as a public-private partnership whose mission it is to raise the funds necessary to develop, support, and promote cultural programming in libraries statewide. The first step is passing the bill in the House before it goes to the Senate. If you live in Massachusetts, please contact your local representatives on or before Library Legislative Day to ask them to support Bill H.3292. (Not sure who they are or how to reach them? Find out here by just plugging in your zip code.)

Follow the Massachusetts Center for the Book on Facebook to keep up with the progress of Bill H.3292. Thank you to the members of the Joint Committee on Arts, Tourism, and Economic Development for recommending it out favorably last month!

The Massachusetts Center for the Book is one of only a few state centers for the book that aren’t funded as statewide literary programming/partnership arms of either a state library (over 50%), a large metropolitan public library (20%), or a state humanities council (20%). If you’re a Massachusetts reader, library user, and/or book blogger, the Center needs your support now!


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