Massachusetts Public Library Trustees Handbook
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners established three regional library systems in the 1960s. In 1997 the legislature amended the regional statute to permit the creation of six regional library systems to serve all types of libraries in the commonwealth. All 371 public libraries in the state continue to be members of one of these systems.
The regional library systems provide direct supplementary services in support of libraries. They strive to assist in the development and expansion of library services within the context of a comprehensive statewide program. A library of any type (public, school, academic, special, and institutional) is eligible to join a regional library system upon meeting certain basic eligibility requirements.
Regional Services to Member Libraries
Interlibrary loan to support resource sharing
Delivery system to move materials among member libraries
Supplemental reference services for librarians and residents
Deposit collections and in some regions, bookmobile service
Continuing education and training programs for library staffs and trustees
Professional technical and consulting support
Regional audiovisual collections
Regional electronic database provision
Cooperative purchasing of materials and supplies.
The six regional library systems are: Boston, Central, Metrowest, Northeast, Southeastern and Western (see Appendix F for a map of the regions). Each is administered by an agency with which the Board of Library Commissioners enters into contractual arrangements. All regional systems (with the exception of the Boston Region) are non-profit corporations. All six regional systems obtain virtually all of their funding through state appropriations administered by the MBLC. Resources are allocated through an annual program budget based on a per capita formula.
Each member library belongs to a regional users council which is governed with bylaws approved by its members and the Board of Library Commissioners. Members annually elect officers and other delegates to their Executive Board, which conducts the business of the region. Regional activities and responsibilities are delineated in the annual plan of service.
Metrowest Massachusetts Regional Library System (MMRLS)
135 Beaver Street
Waltham, MA 02154
Office: 781-398-1819 / 888-383-8882 (toll free)
Southeastern Massachusetts Regional Library System (SEMLS)
10 Riverside Drive
Lakeville Corporate Park
Lakeville, MA 02347
Office: 508-923-3531 / 877-923-3531 (toll free)
Western Massachusetts Regional Library System (WMRLS)
58 Main Street
P.O. Box 9
Hatfield, MA 01038
Office: 413-247-9306 / 800-282-7755 (toll free)