February 1, 2005
Director, Communications & Public Information
Institute of Museum and Library Services Awards $3,423,733 to Support Library Services in Massachusetts
Washington, DC-Dr. Robert Martin, Director of the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), today announced grants totaling over $160 million to state library agencies. "Libraries help connect us to our communities and to each other. They address our many information needs and encourage us to be lifelong learners," said Dr. Martin. "These grants play an important role in building the capacity of libraries to help communities address their changing educational, economic, and social needs."
The grants are awarded under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and are made to each state's library agency to administer the funds according to a population-based formula. Massachusetts will receive $3,423,733.
These funds help state library agencies provide library resources and services to an entire community. Highlights of how the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners uses these funds in Massachusetts include:
The Watertown Free Public Library received a grant of $20,000 for the acquisition of materials in "community languages": Arabic, Armenian, Greek, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The project supported the development of ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) materials for the many newcomers who seek opportunities to practice the English language. In addition to print materials (books, periodicals, newspapers), the library purchased videotapes and audiotapes. Librarians developed the project with input from community advisors. They reached out to "new" populations-the Arabic and Russian communities-while continuing to meet the needs of the Armenian community. The librarians surmounted the challenges of cataloging materials in nonroman alphabets (Armenian, Cyrillic and Arabic) and developed creative programming that included all targeted cultures while still serving the needs of the English-speaking community. The library plans to purchase 20 new titles each year in each target language and has broadened its definition of community language by providing outreach in braille to the Perkins School for the Blind.
The Central Massachusetts Regional Library System in Shrewsbury, in collaboration with youth services consultants from the five other Regional Library Systems in Massachusetts, reached out to youth services staff across the state. This allowed librarians in the youth services field to act as mentors to other library staff serving young people. At YSLead, a youth services leadership institute, 60 participants from school and public libraries came together for three days of collaborative training in leadership and mentoring. The project had a profound effect on the ability of youth services librarians, especially those new to the field of children and youth services, to receive much-needed support in their pursuit of excellence.
Serving People with Disabilities: Northeastern University Libraries designed a project based on long-range planning to provide access and services to all members of the Northeastern Community. The Snell Library carried out an outstanding project, involving a cross-section of staff and students in developing and shaping the program. The library offered extensive staff training for library personnel and extended training opportunities to others in the library community throughout Boston, including other university libraries. The library created an awareness of what students used, what they needed and what resources were available.
For more examples, please access the IMLS Web site at www.imls.gov.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners. The Institute fosters leadership, innovation, and a lifetime of learning by supporting the nation's 15,000 museums and 122,000 libraries. The Institute also encourages partnerships to expand the educational benefit of libraries and museums. To learn more 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.