March 23, 2006
Director, Communications & Public Information
Institute of Museum and Library Services Awards $3.4 Million to Support Library Service in Massachusetts
Washington, DC - The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services announced grants today totaling more than $163 million to state library agencies, with the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (which administers the funds in the Commonwealth) scheduled to receive $3,449.395.
Awarded under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the grants are made to each state according to a population-based formula. States provide at least one dollar for every two dollars of federal support.
The Institute's Grants help expand learning resources and access to information for individuals of all ages and all walks of life. The grants also help libraries develop partnerships with other organizations to enhance their services to the community. In FY05, the MBLC made 71 grants to libraries and library organizations with its allotment. Highlights of how Massachusetts has used these funds to benefit residents of Massachusetts include:
- MASSAnswers is a collaborative statewide virtual reference project that uses Web conferencing software to connect users with libraries. Librarians conduct real-time online reference interviews by "chatting" with patrons and assisting them in response to their queries. The grant supports training for librarians to use the software and design of the Web pages. The Web site generated close to 11,000 questions over two years.
- The Athol Public Library conducted a community read-a-thon to provide the "one book" experience to local residents. The project promoted the culture of reading and encouraged closer ties among members of the community from the experience of reading and discussing the same book. The grant provided funds to purchase books (in print and audio formats); the library developed promotional strategies, held book discussions, provided online reader support, and hosted author talks and book signings.
- The Leverett Elementary School created 10 multimedia Discovery Kits for K-6 curriculum support. The topics were simple machines, nature, insects, ponds, the human body, rocks and minerals, weather, the night sky, oceans, water, light, and phonics. Approximately 800 books, 30 videos, 245 hands-on materials, and 8 software programs were purchased for inclusion in the kits. The kits were used in the school and widely publicized to encourage families to check them out.
For more examples, please access the IMLS Web site at www.imls.gov.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 15,000 museums. Its mission is to grow and sustain a "Nation of Learners" because life-long learning is essential to a democratic society and individual success. Through its grant making, convening, research and publications, the Institute empowers museums and libraries nationwide to provide leadership and services to enhance learning in families and communities, sustain cultural heritage, build 21st century skills, and provide opportunities for civic participation.
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.