DATE: November 09, 2012
FY2014 Federal Grant Round Announced
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) is pleased to announce the FY2014 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant round. The MBLC uses federal LSTA funding to provide direct grants to libraries that allow them to offer innovative services for local residents. “At a time when local budgets are stretched thin, federal LSTA grants help libraries develop much needed programs and services, “said Cindy Roach, Head of Library Advisory and Development at the MBLC. The focus of the MBLC’s federal grant program continues to be projects that encourage cooperation and that meet the needs of the diverse libraries and library users in the Commonwealth.
Grant opportunities are available to public, academic, school, and special libraries. New this year is Customer Service in a Digital Age which helps libraries better serve patrons who use remote access to library resources and keep in touch with library happenings through social media. Returning popular grants include Next Chapter: Vital Aging for Older Active Adults in which libraries become centers for productive aging, lifelong learning and civic engagement, Science is Everywhere which helps public libraries develop innovative programs and strategies that promote interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Libraries for Job Seekers which helps libraries meet the needs of today's job seekers who need Internet access and career-related programming and workshops, and Conversation Circles which helps the Commonwealth's newest residents learn English.
To start the grant process, applicants submit a letter of intent form. Letters of Intent are due December 3, 2012 and are reviewed by the MBLC for eligibility. Applicants also attend a mandatory workshop on the application process held in January. Awards made for this round will be announced in July 2013, and projects will begin no earlier than October 1, 2013. Visit the MBLC website for more information on including grant round calendar, listing of grant offerings and fact sheets about each grant offerings.
In addition to direct library grants, the MBLC uses federal LSTA funding to support statewide library services and resources including summer reading, preservation and disaster recovery in cultural institutions, online resources, the virtual catalog and the statewide website. Federal funding also assists small libraries in participating in one of the nine automated networks that make efficient automated library services affordable.
The MBLC's LSTA program was recently called exemplary in two separate evaluations. The evaluation was part of the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) LSTA Grants to States program. The MBLC was evaluated on the goals it set forth in its 2008-2012 LSTA Plan and the extent to which the MBLC goals align with IMLS LSTA Grants to States Priorities. Evaluators found the MBLC met or surpassed all six of its LSTA goals as well as successfully addressing all six of the LSTA Grants to States Priorities. The evaluators found that [MBLC] “efforts in all areas are well-designed and executed.”
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.