Massachusetts Public Library Trustees Handbook
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is the state agency statutorily charged to support, develop, coordinate, improve and promote library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board also strives to provide every resident of the Commonwealth with full and equal access to library information resources regardless of geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background.
The Board was established in 1890 under Chapter 78 of the Massachusetts General Laws and consists of nine Commissioners, each appointed by the Governor for a five year term. This term is renewable by the governor one time, and many commissioners serve a full decade on the board.
Mandate and Mission
The Board of Library Commissioners' broad statutory mandate is stated in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78, section 19: "The Board of Library Commissioners may expend such sums as may be appropriated for the extension and encouragement of library services within the commonwealth."
The agency's mission, as stated in the Library Services and Technology Act Massachusetts Long Range Plan 1998-2002, is: "To provide every resident of Massachusetts with equal opportunity to access information resources that will satisfy individual, educational, working, cultural, and leisure time needs and interests, regardless of an individual's location, social or physical condition or level of intellectual achievement."
The goals of the Board of Library Commissioners are to maintain a system of free public libraries, to coordinate and support statewide and regional programs which strengthen and supplement local library services, to promote resource sharing and the utilization of electronic information technology by libraries, and to provide specialized library services to blind and physically handicapped residents.
The Board also advises municipalities and trustees regarding the operation and maintenance of public libraries and is statutorily authorized to administer state and federal programs for Massachusetts libraries.
The MBLC is your state agency and primary resource on library-related issues. Its commissioners and staff work to provide the library community with encouragement, support and guidance. Through the MBLC, trustees and library directors all across the commonwealth can work together to reinforce Massachusetts' position of leadership in library services. Please refer to MBLC Fact Sheets of this Handbook for information on the services and programs which the MBLC offers.
Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC)
98 North Washington St., Suite 401
Boston, MA 02114
Office: 617-725-1860 / 800-952-7403 (toll free)
http://mass.gov/mblc or http://mblc.state.ma.us
The Statewide Advisory Council On Libraries (SACL) is appointed by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to advise the state agency on the development of the Massachusetts Long Range Program, a statement required for federal funding. SACL members participate in the annual program and budget activities and related policies, assist the agency in the review and evaluation of statewide programs, and review applications and proposals in the Direct Grant Program. SACL makes funding recommendations to the MBLC based on these activities and reviews. SACL members are appointed annually for three year terms. The members of the Council represent public, school, academic, special, and institutional libraries, libraries serving the disabled, and library users including disadvantaged persons.