DATE: September 28, 2010
Beth Wade Retires
After over 25 years of library service, Beth Wade, Grants Manager at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), retired in September. As Grants Manager, Ms. Wade was responsible for federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funding that totals an estimated $3.5 million yearly. From this, the Board awards an average of $1 million in Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants that have a direct impact on library services across the state.
IMLS federal funding also supports statewide programs developed by the Board and the Massachusetts Library System including statewide summer reading which serves an estimated 100,000 children, teens, and adults, the Library Leadership Institute, and the statewide consumer website mass.gov/libraries. "Beth has been an asset to the Board," said MBLC Director Robert C. Maier. "She brought a fresh vision and dedication to her work that increased the opportunities available through LSTA funding and helped improve library services across the state."
Under Ms. Wade's direction, many LSTA grants were developed that assisted libraries in meeting the needs of their local communities. LSTA grants that promote early childhood literacy were put into place enabling many libraries to begin "Mother Goose on the Loose," an innovative, emergent literacy program that builds on the most recent findings in brain research. "On the Same Page" community reading programs, which promote literacy and community ties through the shared experience of reading the same book, were also established. Recently "Libraries for Job Seekers" grants were created to help libraries expand beyond the traditional ways that they have provided career development resources to meet the needs of today's job seekers.
As a former library director for eighteen years at Hazen Memorial Library in Shirley, Ms. Wade used grant funding from the MBLC to improve library services in her own community. "We did lots of things that we could never have done on our own. Our LSTA projects led to community partnerships and more funding," said Ms. Wade. "Going through the grants process in my own town helped me understand just how much LSTA funding can make a difference, especially to small and medium-sized libraries. It motivated me to want to work statewide and help as many communities as possible benefit from LSTA funding through the MBLC."
While director at Hazen Memorial Library, Ms. Wade was responsible for the "Shirley Miracle"-- the new library that was built using an MBLC Public Library Construction Program grant. "People thought it couldn't happen; but through LSTA funding the library was doing many projects that met residents' needs and the community became proud of its library. Residents and local officials overwhelmingly supported the project."
When she began as director, the library in Shirley was not automated, not completely catalogued and had a staff of two. Ms. Wade left behind a new library, complete with the latest technology, interesting and innovative programming, and a surging circulation. "There is a saying: ‘Leave it better than you found it.' I hope I've done that," said Ms. Wade. The residents of Shirley, the staff and Commissioners at the MBLC, and the many libraries that have benefited from LSTA grants and statewide programming certainly agree that she has.