DATE: June 10, 2014
Governor Reappoints Alice Welch
Commissioner Alice M. Welch has been reappointed by Governor Deval Patrick to a five-year term on the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). The nine-member Board is one of the most active and engaged in recent history with commissioners from across the state participating in and leading advocacy efforts, supporting innovation in libraries and statewide services, and working to expand access to library services for all Massachusetts residents.
Ms. Welch, who was first appointed to the Board in 2010, serves as the liaison to the Massachusetts Friends of Libraries and the Massachusetts Library Trustees Association. As president both of the Massachusetts Friends of Public Libraries and the Friends of the Worcester Public Library, Ms. Welch understands the key role friends and trustees have in strengthening library services. As a commissioner, she has worked to expand the MBLC's interaction with these vital groups and has stressed the importance of friends and trustees working well together to benefit libraries.
In her role as MBLC liaison to the State Advisory Council on Libraries (SACL), Ms. Welch works with other members of the council to shape federal Library Science and Technology Act (LSTA) grant offerings that are available to libraries. She also evaluates applications to determine grant awards.
The FY2014 LSTA grant round was one of the most competitive in recent history with over 100 letters of intent for projects totaling more than $1.6 million. The MBLC, through SACL recommendations, awarded LSTA grants totaling nearly $500,000 in 37 grants to public, academic, school, and special libraries and library networks across the Commonwealth. Libraries use LSTA grants in a variety of ways, including implementing literacy programs that benefit all ages, increasing library access to underserved populations, providing advanced automation services, training staff, and preserving valuable historical documents.
Throughout her more than 20-year career in libraries, Ms. Welch has made patron needs a priority. As the former Director of Library Services for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Ms. Welch facilitated access to critical healthcare information for departmental employees, as well other state agencies and patrons from both the public and private sector. She developed collections and information to address pressing healthcare needs, including a specialized collection of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) materials for veterans; a special project that addressed informational, educational, and therapeutic issues for patients with a focus on substance abuse, PTSD and AIDS; and materials targeting the needs of patients with disabilities.
A lifelong resident of Massachusetts, Ms. Welch earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Clark University and went on to attain her Master of Library Science from the University of Rhode Island.
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.