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Legislative Agenda FY2023

No matter where you live or where you’re from, how much you earn, what your ability or age, how you identify, or who you love, Massachusetts libraries are in your corner. Effective and efficient, we’ve leveraged pandemic-related funding to tackle some of the challenges facing the Commonwealth, and we’re not done yet. Increased funding to State Aid to Public Libraries (7000-9501) and State Aid to Regional Libraries (7000-9401) will help us keep going.

Addressing Mental Health

We’ve trained public and school librarians in teen mental health so they recognize warning signs in teens and refer them to the help they need. Libraries are piloting programs that put social workers in libraries; others are training librarians in working with people experiencing homelessness.

Internet and Technology for Everyone

We’ve distributed thousands of hotspots to communities across the Commonwealth, narrowing the digital divide and increasing access to job information, telehealth, e-government, and schoolwork. Librarians continue to teach technology skills to all ages.

Back to Work

Libraries are holding resume writing and job-hunting workshops to teach people the ins-and outs of applying for a job. They’re offering English language and literacy programs and librarians are teaching computer and internet skills so people can get back to work in a job they want and that will support them.

Meaningful Inclusion

Libraries are offering innovative learning opportunities like Brockton Public Library’s new culturally based ELL and citizenship curriculum; Longmeadow’s Storrs Library’s Hidden Voices of History series featuring stories that dominant historical narratives have neglected; and a recent statewide Watch Party and Conversation with over 400 people talking about social hierarchies, race, ethnicity and the roots of inequality.

Learning Year-round

With more than 400,000 participants, summer library programs stop the summer learning slide and build skills needed for the upcoming school year. The National Women’s Hockey League champions, Boston Pride, joined the Boston Bruins and First Lady of the Commonwealth Lauren Baker for our library program. Kids read more than 5 million minutes this summer.

Food Insecurity

In communities with high food insecurity or limited access to healthy food, libraries are providing information about local sources and are coordinating with local organizations to offer programs that teach residents about healthy eating, wellness, and how to feed families with available resources. During the summer, many libraries collaborate with Project Bread to be lunch sites.

Ramped Up eContent

For schools, we increased funding to our top-notch school eBook program adding nearly 10,000 items and adding extra access to more than 16,000 titles at a time when it was hard to keep the virtual shelf full.

For public libraries, we increased funding to our statewide eBook/audiobook program to try to keep pace with the 40% increase in demand. Library for the Commonwealth at Boston Public Library targeted funds to children’s and teen resources, crucial for at-home learning.

Breaking Down Barriers

Physical challenges, lack of childcare, limited transportation, and language are just some of the challenges that prevent people from fully accessing library services. Libraries are using federal funds for outreach vans, translation services, childcare, transportation assistance, and to ensure accessibility both digitally and physically. The twenty communities hardest hit by COVID-19 have received special grants from the MBLC.

Talking book libraries at Perkins and Worcester never stopped providing vital services that keep their patrons connected and engaged.

Building Rural Infrastructure

MBLC provides grants to library networks for infrastructure and telecommunications to make internet and community Wi-Fi access affordable for libraries. The Small Libraries in Networks program helps nearly 160 libraries in communities with populations under 10,000 provide full and equal access to statewide resources for local residents.

We’re also piloting a new construction project type so that residents in the Commonwealth’s smallest communities can share in the benefits that a new library brings.

FY2023 MBLC Budget Request

Line Item Number and Name FY 2021 FY 2022 Budget FY 2023 Legislative Agenda FY 2023 Increase Over FY 2022
7000-9101 Board of Library Commissioners $1,579,876 $1,702,272* $1,708,636 $81,364
7000-9401 State Aid to Regional Libraries $12,516,000 $13,516,000 $14,516,000 $1,000,000
7000-9402 Talking Book Library $482,264 $496,732 $521,569 $24,837
7000-9406 Talking Book & Machine Lending $2,745,774 $2,828,147 $2,969,554 $141,407
7000-9501 State Aid to Public Libraries $12,000,000 $13,000,000 $16,000,000 $3,000,000
7000-9506 Library Technology & Resource Sharing $4,386,770 $4,518,373 $4,744,293 $225,920
7000-9508 MA Center for the Book, Inc $225,000 $300,000 $400,000 $100,000
Totals $33,935,684 $36,361,524 $40,860,052 $4,573,528
*includes 2 earmarks for $25,000 and $50,000