Boston Public Library
Finances & Budget

FY13 Budget Update

by Sean Nelson

FY13 Budget Update. Mayor Menino unveiled his recommended FY13 operating budget and five-year capital plan on Wednesday. As anticipated, the Mayor increased the BPL’s operating budget by nearly 3% over FY12 to a total appropriation of $31 million. Included in the FY13 funding is a restoration of the materials budget to the FY11 funding level, an increase in lease-purchase funds for IT equipment, an insurance policy for fine arts and special collections, and a maintenance contract for the self-check machines. The FY13 recommended budget also reflected a reduction in utility consumption for the fourth consecutive year. Additionally, as part of the FY13 budget process, the Mayor challenged city departments to offer new ideas and program innovations to be supported by one-time funding in the operating budget.  As a result, the BPL was successful in securing an additional $130K for several new initiatives, including:

  • Establishment of an e-reader lending program (approximately 250 devices)
  • Early literacy nook at the Charlestown Branch
  • Teen writing lab at the Egleston Square Branch
  • Teen zone renovation at the Hyde Park Branch
  • Outdoor space rejuvenation at the South Boston Branch

The Mayor’s recommended budget next goes to the City Council for discussion with final approval by June 30. The Mayor’s five-year capital plan (FY13 – FY17) also calls for significant new investments for the BPL, including replacing the pay-for-print infrastructure systemwide, the addition of approximately 20 self check-out machines, a systemwide facilities audit, immediate improvements in the Roslindale and Jamaica Plain Branches, and a programming study for the Johnson Building which will include options for a new Children’s Room, Rabb Lecture Hall, and front entrance. The entire City of Boston operating budget and capital plans can be viewed online at www.cityofboston.gov/budget.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives’ Ways & Means Committee also released their FY13 budget recommendation on Wednesday. As expected, the funding for the line items that impact the BPL will be level-funded from FY12 at approximately $2.75 million.This amount includes $2.2 million for the Library for the Commonwealth (LFC) and approximately $560K in unrestricted State Aid. The state’s budget process now moves to the Senate’s Ways & Means Committee for a recommendation to be released in mid-May.

A timeline posted on the “FY13 Budget” tab of the BPL Finance and Budget blog shows important milestones during the BPL budget process. Additional budget information, including planning documents, will be periodically posted to www.bpl.org/budget