Thursday, September 24, 2009

Please comment on MBLC Budget

To: Massachusetts Libraries and Library Users

The Board of Library Commissioners budget cap for FY2011 is a 16% reduction in total funding from this year (FY2010). This is a much more dramatic cut than we have been required to take at this point in the budget-making process than in preceding years, and the resulting reductions in program funding require Board direction.

In order to assure that the library community can comment on the potential impacts of this budget, the location of the October 1 Board meeting has been changed to the Sargent Memorial Library in Boxborough. The regular monthly meeting will be called to order at 10:00 and run until about 11:30. At that time the Board will take a half hour break and at Noon convene a budget comment session. Please take this opportunity to comment to the Board on how to direct a 16% budget cut. The Board asks that speakers limit their presentations to 5 minutes to assure that all who wish to be heard have that opportunity. Written comments for the record are requested and electronic versions of comments are most useful. It is not necessary to appear in person to comment. Comments may be submitted to

To give a sense of the magnitude of this reduction, one option under consideration is: reduce funding to regions and library of last recourse by 28% (use the remainder of this fiscal year to develop a consolidation plan with the regions), reduce funding to automated networks by 27%, reduce funding to the talking book programs by 16%, level fund State Aid to Public Libraries and the agency administrative account. Clearly, each of these is challenging for the Board, for our libraries and for the residents we serve.

Please take these opportunities to let us know what you think. The Board can make the best possible budget recommendations only after hearing from a broad segment of the library community. This is going to be a very challenging year for all of us and there is no end in sight to the fiscal challenges facing the Commonwealth. Revenues continue to decline and federal stimulus funds used to balance the FY2010 budget will not be available in FY2011. The road back will be rocky at best, so the changes we make in FY2011 should be viewed as permanent.

The Board will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, October 6 at the agency offices beginning at 10:00am. The purpose of this special meeting is to consider the comments received on October 1 and determine how to meet the 16% reduction. The Board’s budget submission which must meet the cap is due October 9.
Robert C. Maier, Director
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
98 North Washington Street, Suite 401
Boston, MA 02114
Ph (617) 725-1860 x249

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