News Release

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

DATE: May 03, 2009
CONTACT: Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

MBLC Awarded Prestigious Grant

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) a $40,000 Connecting to Collections: Statewide Planning Grant to support library collections care in the Commonwealth.

“The grant is invaluable in assisting us in our efforts to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Massachusetts,” said MBLC Director Robert C. Maier. Throughout the Commonwealth, repositories and museums house irreplaceable collections of monographs, manuscript material, records, statuary, paintings, and other items of historic significance. The MBLC will use the IMLS funds to train librarians, archivists, curators, and other staff in preservation activities.

The MBLC also plans to conduct a survey to identify gaps in preservation efforts. Survey results will be used to create a blueprint for future initiatives.

The MBLC has been committed to preservation of library and archival collections for over 20 years. The MBLC began a statewide preservation program in 1988 which included a series of preservation workshops on topics such as care and handling of library archival materials, disaster preparedness and recovery, basic repair of library and archival materials, and collections security.

In 1998, the MBLC initiated the Emergency Assistance Program to assist organizations in disasters. Components of the program include training workshops, disaster supply caches at sixteen locations across the state, technical assistance through MBLC or the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), and a “weather alert” email system. The MBLC also worked closely with the NEDCC to develop dPlan an online disaster-planning tool, in 2001. This free resource is available for any library, archive, or museum and provides a template for organizations to create a disaster plan.

The MBLC is one of 19 Connecting to Collections: Statewide Planning Grant recipients. “I applaud these grantees as they take action to combat the crises in collections care that threaten to rob our heritage,” said IMLS Director Dr. Anne-Imelda M. Radice. The grants are an important component of the IMLS initiative, Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, a multi-year, multi-faceted national plan to raise public awareness and inspire action on collections care.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( 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.

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