Library Funding Bill On Way to Passage

Mary Hastler, Director of Harford County Public Library and Legislative Officer of the Maryland Library Association

Senate Bill 430 Libraries – Regional Resource Centers and County Public Libraries – Funding has passed the full Senate and crossed over to the House.  MACo supports the legislation, which would provide additional funding for county libraries.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator Nancy J. King would increase the per capita funding amount that must be provided to each regional resource center and to each county public library system participating in the State’s library program, beginning in fiscal 2016. SB 430 creates incremental increases in State funding for libraries and regional resource centers, with the aim of restoring the library funding that the State reduced during the recession.

As described in our testimony,

Maryland’s counties share funding responsibility with the State for our libraries and support additional resources for them. County governments directed more than $200 million of their operating budget general funds in fiscal year 2014 to supporting libraries. By contrast, the State provided $69.5 million to libraries in fiscal year 2014.

Maryland’s counties provide a significant portion of funding for the state’s libraries.  According to the Maryland Library Association,  local funding for libraries can range from 46% to 88% of a county library revenue based on a few examples:

In fiscal year 2013 Harford County Public Library was funded as follows:  $16,054,066  from the county; $2,473,823 from the State; $967,912 from revenue generated by library; and $11,250 from federal grants.  So for fiscal year 2013, 82.2% came from Harford County  Government funding and only 7.9% from the State.  Also in fiscal 2013:

  • Baltimore County Public Library received 82% of its funding from the county, 10% from the State, and 8% from library revenue and grants.
  • Howard County Library received 88% of its funding from the county, 4% from the State, and 8% from library revenue and grants.
  • Prince George’s County Library received 63.56% of its funding from the county, 25.15% from the State, and 11.3% from library revenue and grants.
  • Wicomico County Library received 46% of its funding from the county, 39% from the State, and 15% from library revenue and grants.

MACo is pleased to partner with the Maryland Library Association in support of this bill.

For more information, see the bill text, or MACo’s testimony.