MACo to General Assembly: Libraries Need Financial Support Commensurate with Their Community Role

On February 8, 2023, Associate Policy Director Brianna January submitted testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee in support of HB 0276 – Education – Libraries – Funding.

The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee considered the bill’s cross-file, SB 0205, on January 25, and has since issued a favorable report.

HB 0276 updates the minimum required state and local funding for libraries, and in doing so, better aligns the State’s financial support to recognize the important role libraries play in our communities. County governments have long exceeded mandated funding requirements to equip their public libraries with the necessary resources to provide Marylanders with everything from childcare support to ready access to high-quality internet. Unfortunately, state support has lagged behind that provided by local government. HB 276 builds on the good work done by the General Assembly in 2022 to rectify this disparity, and guarantees the continuation of support on the part of the State for fiscal year 2028 and beyond.

From the MACo Testimony:

Libraries and regional resource centers increasingly serve growing purposes for Maryland’s communities. Maryland’s families seek these unique public institutions for educational and childcare support, access to technological resources and high-quality internet, labor and employment aid, and cultural enrichment. In essence, libraries and regional resource centers are a critical nexus of resources, community engagement, and enrichment unique to other community infrastructure – and the COVID- 19 pandemic has only exacerbated the need for maintaining and deepening the role they play in Maryland’s communities. In short, Maryland’s libraries and regional resource centers serve many more purposes for their communities than their original charge.

More on MACo’s Advocacy:

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