Tag Archives: Massachusetts Center for the Book

Massachusetts Center for the Book Funding in Jeopardy @MassBook

Please Write to Your Reps

If you live in Massachusetts (the Bay State!) and are a fan of libraries, literacy, the literary life – or all three –  it is urgent to alert your state representative and senator that funding for the Massachusetts Center for the Book has been eliminated from the state Senate’s FY17 budget and you need them to support the reinstatement of Line 7000-9508 with the Budget Conference Committee.

Representatives can only throw in their support for a small number of causes during Conference Committee time, so it is important that we library advocates make our voices heard early and often!


Sample Email to State Legislators

This is the basic email that I sent to my state legislators on Friday. Feel free to take and use anything from it (except the personal anecdote, of course, as that might seem odd!) in writing your own quick email or making your own easy phone call of support:

Dear________

I know you are a strong supporter of library legislation. I’m writing now to ask you to support line item 7000-9508 Massachusetts Center for the Book during the upcoming budget conference negotiations. After 7000-9508 was zeroed out in the House’s FY17 budget proposal, it was put back in by amendment and passed. After it was zeroed out in the Senate budget, there was very little time to advocate for the amendment to put it back into the budget and the amendment failed. A very similar thing happened with the FY16 budget.

7000-9508 For the Massachusetts Center for the Book, Inc., chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress; provided, that the Massachusetts Center for the Book, Inc. shall continue its work as a public-private partnership ……..$200,000

The Massachusetts Center for the Book is the state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. The Center administers the largest state book awards program in the country. (The announcement of this year’s Massachusetts Book Award finalists is on hold at the moment, due to the need for an all-out advocacy effort related to the FY17 budget.)

The mission of the Massachusetts Center for the Book is to develop, support, and promote cultural programming that will advance the cause of books and reading and enhance the outreach potential of Massachusetts libraries. The Center represents Massachusetts at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. every year, and has just rolled out the only online statewide calendar of cultural and literary events happening in libraries in every region of Massachusetts. Check out the calendar and find out more about the Mass Center for the Book at massbook.org.

The Center also administers one of the largest Letters About Literature awards programs in the country every year, engaging students, grades 4 through 12, in writing letters to authors about a book that was meaningful to them. My first contact with the Center for the Book was when my daughter Molly won an honorable mention for her submission to the Letters About Literature writing contest through the Brockton Public Library and she was invited to the State House for the annual awards presentation with her family, where she also received a citation from Rep. Christine Canavan. The Letters About Literature annual writing contest is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate centers for the book, state libraries and other organizations.

If the Center has to cease planning and collaborations for three months of every year while its staff and board of directors fight for basic funding, its mission is compromised. Your support for 7000-9508 Massachusetts Center for the Book will help persuade the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees that this line item must no longer be skipped over or zeroed out when they create their budget proposals.

Thank you!


How to Contact Your Legislators

Put your zip code in on the State House Web site to find your legislators contact info here.

What is the Massachusetts Center for the Book?

The Massachusetts Center for the Book, chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is a public-private partnership charged with developing, supporting, and promoting cultural programming that will advance the cause of books and reading and enhance the outreach potential of Massachusetts libraries. (Mission statement taken from the Center’s Web site)

Where Does MassBook Get Its Funding?

The Center (affectionately known as “MassBook” is supported in large part by an appropriation from the General Court of Massachusetts, through budget line 7000-9508, administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.  MassBook also receives grants from the following institutions and organizations:

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation
The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program
Massachusetts Cultural Council
Simmons College School of Library and Information Science

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.

Your Massachusetts Library Advocacy Is Still Needed! @massbook @masslibassoc

Your local libraries need you again!

Thank you if you called or emailed your House representative about the library legislative FY2017 budget amendments that I posted about last month. Funding in the amount of $200,000 for the Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) was reinstated in the House budget, thanks to you and the many state reps who signed on to the budget amendment filed by Rep. Kate Hogan.

Now the Senate Ways & Means Committee has released its budget, and funding for the Massachusetts Center for the Book has been zeroed out again!

Other FY17 library line items have been level-funded, but because costs of library services have increased so much over the past several years, level-funded will not mean level services. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is focusing advocacy efforts on three budget line items, 7000-9101, 7000-9401, and 7000-9506, and the Massachusetts Center for the Book is 7000-9508, so there’s a total of four budget amendments that urgently need your support and the support of your senator!

The Senate budget debate begins tomorrow, so please contact your senator today! (Not sure how to contact your senator? 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 state Senate.)

The three budget amendments for 7000-9101, 7000-9401, and 7000-9506 you can do easily through the Mass. Library Association’s Engage site, which has a prepared email ready to go. Please include an additional request to your senator to support Amendment 274 which will restore funding to line 7000-9508 Massachusetts Center for the Book, or send a separate email.

7000-9508  – Massachusetts Center for the Book – Reinstatement & $200,000 request filed by Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D Leominster) and Sen. William Brownsberger (D Belmont). (Amendment #274) Ms. Flanagan and Mr. Brownsberger moved that the proposed new text be amended in Section 2, by inserting after item 7000-9506 the following item:

7000-9508 For the Massachusetts Center for the Book, Inc., chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress; provided, that the Massachusetts Center for the Book, Inc. shall continue its work as a public-private partnership ……………………………………..$200,000

If you’d rather phone your senator, and speak to him/her or his/her aide directly, instead of emailing, the amendments that have been filed are as follows:

Sponsor: Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives – Line 7000-9101- Board of Library Commissioners-move to amend the bill in section 2, in line item 7000-9101, by striking out the figures “$1,147,491” and inserting in place thereof the figures “$1,225,000”.

Sponsor: Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives – Line 7000-9506 – Technology and Resource Sharing – move to amend the bill in section 2, in item 7000-9506, by striking out the figures “$2,376,564” and inserting in place thereof the figures “2,729,238”.

Sponsor: Senator Michael Rush – Line 7000-9401 – State Aid to Regional Libraries – move to amend the bill in section 2, in item 7000-9401, by inserting after “provided further, that the board shall provide funds for the continued operation of a single regional library system to serve the different geographic regions of the commonwealth in both eastern and western Massachusetts to serve the residents of those regions”, in line 14 the following: “and provided further, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the single regional library system shall not receive less than $1.3297 for each resident of the commonwealth;” and by striking out , in line 16, the words “40.7 cents per resident “ and inserting in place thereof the words “45 cents for each resident”; and in said item by striking out the figures “$9,883,482” and inserting in place thereof the figures “$10,940,475”

Remember, the Senate budget debate begins tomorrow, so please contact your senator today, if at all possible, but if not, as soon as you can!

Thank you!