HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 4399        FILED ON: 6/14/2023

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 4005


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



James K. Hawkins


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act ensuring freedom to read in the Commonwealth.






Date Added:

James K. Hawkins

2nd Bristol


Lindsay N. Sabadosa

1st Hampshire


Francisco E. Paulino

16th Essex


Patricia A. Haddad

5th Bristol


David Paul Linsky

5th Middlesex


Margaret R. Scarsdale

1st Middlesex


Jennifer Balinsky Armini

8th Essex


Mike Connolly

26th Middlesex


Michelle L. Ciccolo

15th Middlesex


Carmine Lawrence Gentile

13th Middlesex


Vanna Howard

17th Middlesex


Christine P. Barber

34th Middlesex


Steven Owens

29th Middlesex


Samantha Montaño

15th Suffolk


Carol A. Doherty

3rd Bristol


Michael J. Barrett

Third Middlesex


Natalie M. Blais

1st Franklin


John Barrett, III

1st Berkshire


Tram T. Nguyen

18th Essex


Estela A. Reyes

4th Essex


Tommy Vitolo

15th Norfolk


Adrian C. Madaro

1st Suffolk


Nick Collins

First Suffolk


Paul R. Feeney

Bristol and Norfolk


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 4399        FILED ON: 6/14/2023

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 4005

By Representative Hawkins of Attleboro, a petition (subject to Joint Rule 12) of James K. Hawkins and others for legislation to encourage the improvement of free libraries and library systems.  Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the One Hundred and Ninety-Third General Court



An Act ensuring freedom to read in the Commonwealth.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Because the state has a financial responsibility in promoting public education, and because the public library is a vital agency serving all levels of the educational process, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the state to encourage the improvement of free libraries and library systems to encourage cooperation among all types of libraries in promoting the sharing of library resources, including digital resources. In keeping with this policy, the provision is hereby made for a program of state grants designed to establish, develop and operate a network of library systems covering the entire state.

It is further declared to be the policy of the State to encourage and protect the freedom of libraries and library systems to acquire materials without external limitations and to be protected against attempts to ban, remove, or otherwise restrict access to books or other materials.

The State Librarian and their staff shall administer the provisions of this Act and shall prescribe such rules and regulations as are necessary to carry the provisions of this Act into effect.

The rules and regulations established by the State Librarian for the administration of this Act shall be designed to achieve the following standards and objectives:

A.  provide library service for every citizen in the state by extending library facilities to areas not now served.

B. provide library materials for student needs at every educational level.

C. provide adequate library materials to satisfy the reference and research needs of the people of this state.

D. provide an adequate staff of professionally trained librarians for the state.

E. adopt the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights that indicates materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval or, in the alternative, develop a written statement declaring the inherent authority of the library or library system to provide an adequate collection stock of books and other materials sufficient in size and varied in kind and subject matter to satisfy the library needs of the people of this state and prohibit the practice of banning specific books or resources.

F.  provide adequate library outlets and facilities convenient in time and place to serve the people of this state.

G. encourage existing and new libraries to develop library systems serving a sufficiently large population to support adequate library service at a reasonable cost.

H. foster the economic and efficient utilization of public funds.

The Advisory Committee of the Massachusetts State Library shall confer with, advise, and make recommendations to the State Librarian regarding any matter under this Act, particularly regarding the formation of library systems.

This Act shall take effect upon passage.