County Supported Library Bill Heads to the Governor

books, library, roomHB 1000 – Building Lifelong Library Learners Act has moved through the House and Senate and is now heading to the Governor for signature.

This bill would boost funding for county library capital projects, accelerate increases to the library funding formulas, and encourage minors to continue to utilize their public libraries by eliminating certain fees.

From MACo’s testimony:

Maryland’s counties share funding responsibility with the State for our libraries and support
additional resources for them. County governments direct well over $300 million of their
operating budget general funds each year to supporting libraries.

Counties are proud to support libraries, which have become an integral facet to a county’s
ability to build community. HB 1000 offers welcome State support to help further their aims.
Already, libraries provide a safe place for our children to spend time after school and they
offer early literacy programs for young children. They also provide internet access to the
public and support for job-seekers and small business owners.

Throughout the movement of the bill, a few amendments were adopted.

The amendments do the following:

  • Change the language to ensure that all library materials (excluding “special collections” i.e. cake pans, tools, and frame art) are included in the bill rather than just library books.
  • Specify that the ability to of a public library to not charge fine for late materials will only apply to materials checked out under a minor’s card.
  • Change the timeline the public library may charge a fee for overdue materials from 3 months to 21 days.
  • Require library trustees to adopt regulations to carry out this legislation.
  • Strikes language referencing the minimum funding for the State Library Resource Center in Fiscal Years 2025 onwards.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2020 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.

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