At its February Board Meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) wrapped up the FY 2013 State Aid to Public Libraries application process by certifying the two remaining libraries that met all program requirements and by approving waivers of the Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) for ninety one applicants. [Our emphasis] In total, 344 libraries are currently certified in the State Aid to Public Libraries program. This is the largest number to be certified in the history of the program. Of those certified, 253 public libraries met all program requirements, up from last year when 220 met the standards.
The number of libraries needing MAR waivers in FY2013 dropped from FY2012, when 121 libraries received waivers, making this is the lowest number of MAR waivers granted since 2009. Of the 91 libraries receiving FY2013 MAR waivers, 70 experienced budget increases, five were level funded, and 16 had budget reductions. Saugus Public Library, which originally applied for a MAR waiver, received additional funding making a waiver unnecessary.
Board Vice-chair Mary Rose Quinn expressed concern, “When a community cuts its library disproportionately, it is not only the “home” library’s community that is affected. We all share the costs of the disproportionate cuts. There is a ripple effect; an immediate and negative impact on the surrounding communities’ libraries, on the networks that serve those communities, and on the statewide and regional services we all share.”
This is the last round of FY2013 State Aid to Public Libraries. The MBLC awarded the first round of state aid funding in November when it approved the disbursement of FY2013 State Aid awards, totaling $360,326 to 71 municipalities. The second round, totaling $1.5 million to 167 libraries, was awarded in December, 2012. In January, 13 libraries were awarded $86,996.
Funding from the State Aid to Public Library Program goes directly to support public library services. [Our emphasis] The reciprocity that comes with library certification in the State Aid program is often what patrons value most. It allows them to use any State Aid certified library in the Commonwealth and gives patrons access to more than 37 million items available through the shared library system. In FY2012 residents borrowed 11.4 million items from libraries outside their own community.
More information about the State Aid to Public Libraries Program is available on the MBLC website along with a list of municipalities that are currently certified and those that are not certified in the program.
Read the Complete Announcement