News Release

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: April 15, 2010
CONTACT: Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208
celeste.bruno@state.ma.us


MLS Designated as Regional Administrative Entity

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) held a special meeting on April 13 at which it voted to designate the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) as the administrative entity to provide regional services to libraries and residents beginning July 1, 2010. This action was necessitated by a severe reduction in funding to the regional budget line. Please see the chart below for funding details.

Account Number Account Name FY2009 FY2010 FY2011 - Governor's FY2011 - House Ways and Means

9101

Board of Library Commissioners

$1,042,269

$938,042

$938,042

$914,448

9401

State Aid to Regional Libraries

$17,166,071

$12,327,160

$8,781,475

$8,781,475

9402

Talking Book Library (Worcester)

$421,143

$421,143

$421,143

$421,143

9406

Talking Book & Machine Lending (Perkins)

$2,241,016

$2,241,016

$2,241,016

$2,241,016

9501

State Aid to Public Libraries

$9,989,844

$6,823,657

$6,823,657

$6,823,657

9506

Library Tech & Resource Sharing

$2,799,104

$1,929,238

$1,929,238

$1,929,238

 

TOTAL

$33,659,447

$24,680,256

$21,134,571

$21,110,977

The Board's vote, which was unanimous, followed more than two hours of discussion on the recommendations of the Regional Transition Planning Committee that a single administrative entity resulting from the merger of the six regional library systems be designated. This has been an ongoing effort since October 2009 when the budget reductions were first announced and the focus has been to develop a strategy that will keep core library services to the entire Commonwealth intact.

During the transition, MLS will operate from offices in Waltham and Whately beginning July 1, 2010.  MLS will provide essential and core services including delivery, interlibrary loan, continuing education and training programs, advisory and technical assistance, and online content. Other regional programs such as the summer reading program, cooperative purchasing of library materials and supplies, and the Basic Library Techniques classes will continue.

In its discussion the Board stressed the importance providing these services to all libraries statewide with training and advisory services available where they are most needed. The Board indicated that it will expect MLS to provide regular reporting on the provision of these services and to benchmark FY2011 service levels against past service levels. Close attention will be paid to the service plans for this new entity.

Several Board members commented on the sense conveyed in the report that the permanent hub of the new system be located in the 128 to 495 area along the Massachusetts Turnpike. They voiced concern that MLS not move too quickly to select office locations, and to fully understand the impact of site decisions on the provision of services across the Commonwealth before making changes. The MBLC will take an active role in managing the timeline, sites for services and the means by which services are located to insure that population and geographic needs are met.

Commissioner Chairman George Comeau said, " This is by far the most difficult decision we have to make in this round of budget cuts. The Commission has heard from patrons and library professionals from every corner of Massachusetts, and yet, the decline in the budget is so precipitous that today's action is necessary to insure that basic and core services are maintained to every city and town in the Commonwealth. Our thoughts are with the people who will lose their positions as a result of this change."

The Commissioners expressed their gratitude to the members of the Regional Transition Planning Committee for the quality of their report, and to the members of the board of the Massachusetts Library System for beginning their work.

Regional Transition Planning Committee Report (doc)
Massachusetts Library System Board Members (doc)
Massachusetts Library System

About MBLC

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.

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Page last updated on 04/15/2010