April 14, 2003
Director, Communications & Public Information
The Institute of Museum and Library Services Awards $3.2 Million to Support Library Service in Massachusetts
Washington, DC -Robert S. Martin, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, made grants totaling $150,435,000 to state library agencies in the 50 States, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories. "This is the premiere federal grant program for the nation's libraries," Director Martin explained. "The grants help provide library service to some of America's neediest rural and urban residents, particularly children living in poverty. The grants also provide libraries with technology for resource sharing and for keeping the American public connected to the important information they need and use."
The grants are awarded under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and are made to each State according to a population-based formula. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners will administer the $3,247,148 that Massachusetts will receive.
"These federal library funds have had a dramatic effect on library services in Massachusetts over the history of the program," says Robert C. Maier, Director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. "Much of what has been accomplished in the area of library automation is based on these funds. Now, with state funds for libraries cut back by 24 percent, LSTA will be even more important."
Highlights of how the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners uses these LSTA funds to benefit Massachusetts libraries follow:
• Newton Free Public Library - "Business and Career Resource Mini-Grant" - Newton Public Library participated in a Business and Career Institute held in June 2000. The library developed its own business and career resources. Newton decided to focus on a program that would respond to the need for information on jobs and careers. Hands-on classes that highlight career Web sites and print resources are held in the library's Information Technology Training Center. In addition, the library added a Career Center Homepage as a link off the library's Web site that provides easy access for people searching for career information.
• Five public libraries (in Cambridge, Haverhill, Oak Bluffs, North Adams and Quincy) with active literacy programs have been engaged in an innovative approach to working with adult learners diagnosed with dyslexia. Using the Wilson Reading System, a successful Massachusetts-based training curriculum using multi-sensory techniques, literacy staff have spent the past year learning to teach the multisensory curriculum.
• Boston Public Library, Boston - "Digitizing Historical Resources: Sports Temples of Boston" - In an effort to make our national memory available to all, the library documented sports venues in Boston by scanning postcards, photographs, posters, maps, scorecards and other printed images of the city's ballparks, stadiums, arenas, racetracks and other pre-1923 sports venues. The composite collection of 1,445 images has been mounted on the library's Web site at www.bpl.org for the benefit of researchers and sports fans, young and old.
• Douglas Elementary School, Douglas - "Discovery Kits" - The library developed ten multi-format kits of substantial size, each addressing two subject areas studied in each of the five grades. As part of the project, the library also worked on the development of Research Benchmarks, outlining what library, research and technology skills children should be able to accomplish at each grade level. The project had collaboration among faculty and staff, and also developed a special Web site for the project: www.discoverykits.org.
Background: The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent Federal agency that promotes leadership, innovation, and a lifetime of learning by supporting the nation's 15,000 museums and 122,000 libraries. The Institute encourages partnerships to expand the educational benefit of libraries and museums. For more information about the Institute, please log onto www.imls.gov.
The Board of Library Commissioners (mass.gov/mblc) is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.