News Release

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

DATE: October 10, 2013
CONTACT: Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

NELA Announces Rob Maier as 2013 Greenaway Winner

The New England Library Association (NELA) is pleased to announce that it is awarding the 2013 Emerson Greenaway Distinguished Service Award for Librarianship or "The Great Librarian Award" to Robert C. Maier of Salem, MA.

After many years of service to libraries, librarians, and the people they serve, Mr. Maier retired this year from his position as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), the state agency that oversees library service in the Commonwealth. The Greenaway Award is given to Mr. Maier because of his dedicated and effective service to libraries during his career; he has been a staunch advocate for improved library service and funding as well as for innovation, new programs, and technology in libraries. He was one of the founding members of the Minuteman Library network as Director of the Bedford Public Library in the 1980s, and in his first years at the MBLC, he oversaw the development of a major and sustained effort by the Commonwealth to build and renovate over 200 public libraries over the last 20 years.

Mr. Maier's influence reaches far beyond the borders of Massachusetts. He has also been a strong supporter of library programs for the blind and physically handicapped in Massachusetts and beyond. His support for the New England Library Leadership Symposium has been critical in the program's ability to successfully train and develop new library leaders. His leadership during good and bad fiscal times was remarkable for its steadiness and optimism.

On the national level, he assumed a leadership role in legislative affairs for the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA.) He continues his involvement with libraries by volunteering on the Digital Content Working Group, a committee of the American Library Association that is working on making e-books available through libraries.

Mr. Maier was nominated for this honor by the Massachusetts Library Association.

The "Great Librarian Award" was established by NELA in 1988 and its first recipient was former Worcester Public Library Director Emerson Greenaway. After his death, the Award was renamed in his memory. It is given annually by NELA whenever there is a worthy candidate. The Award will be presented at the NELA Annual Banquet, on Sunday, October 20th. The Banquet is a featured event at the Association's Annual Conference, which is being held October 20-22, 2013 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland Maine.

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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