Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Massachusetts! Your Libraries Need You!

A Call to Action to Massachusetts Residents from Library Advocates

Dear Massachusetts Library Supporters:

A Conference Committee – their names and contact info are at the end of this letter – has been appointed to resolve differences between the Senate and House versions of the FY15 State budget. Now is the critical time for all of us – librarians, trustees, friends, library users, anyone – to let members know it’s important to reverse some long-overdue library funding deficits. This year is a big opportunity. We must act, even if you never have before!!!

The Western Massachusetts Library Advocates (WMLA) urge funding of the Senate version of the FY15 State Budget for Mass Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) accounts:

7000-9401: State Aid to Regional Libraries:
Senate $9,883,482 vs. House $9,805,978

7000-9501 State Aid to Public Libraries:
Senate: $9,989,844 This amount restores state aid to the 2009 funding level. This is the increase the library community has needed for many years. The Conference Committee should support this increase. The House called for $7,223,657. While any increase is helpful, we feel the State should be able to return funding for this account to the amount it had 6 years ago!

7000-9506 Library Technology and Resource Sharing:
Senate: $2,867,823. Provides an increase of $938,585 over the FY 2014 budget. This increase over the House’s $2,129,238 will help end the Digital Lockout that really needs addressing.

Center for the Book:
In this case, WMLA supports the House Budget that created line 7000-9508 For the 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 be established as a public- private partnership charged with the development, support and promotion of cultural programming designed to advance the cause of books and reading and enhance the outreach of potential of public libraries within the Commonwealth $125,000. The Senate did not pass the amendment.

Conference Committee Members
If you live or work in one of these communities, please consider taking 5 minutes to contact your legislator to ask for their support of these important line items. If you don't live in the communities, please write to your State Senator and State Representative and ask them to contact the committee to urge support.

Senator Stephen Brewer:
Ashburnham, Athol, Barre, Brookfield, Charlton, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Hubbardston, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Oakham, Paxton, Petersham, Phillipston, Rutland, Spencer, Sturbridge, Templeton, Warren, West Brookfield and Winchendon, Brimfield, Holland, Monson, Palmer and Wales, Ware, Ashby
Email: Stephen.Brewer@masenate.gov.
State House: 617-722-1540, District: 978-355-2444

Senator Jennifer Flanagan:
Fitchburg, Gardner and Leominster, Berlin, Bolton, Clinton, Lancaster, Lunenburg, Sterling, Westminster, Townsend
Email: Jennifer.Flanagan@masenate.gov.
State House: 617-722-1230, District: 978-534-3388

Senator Richard Pat Ross Ferry:
Millis, Needham, Norfolk, Plainville, Wellesley, Wrentham, Attleboro, North Attleborough, Natick, Sherborn and Wayland
Email: Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.
State House: 617-722-1555

Representative Brian Dempsey:
Email: Brian.Dempsey@mahouse.gov.
State House: 617-722-2990
Thank you,

Sharon Shaloo
Massachusetts Center for the Book