This blog post was written by former MBLC Director Dianne Carty. Dianne retired on June 2, 2017.
Recently it was suggested to me that I write a good-bye blog post. Any number of clichés immediately popped into my brain, such that I could not write anything without cringing at my own words.
There is never a good time to transition out of a job as critical as Director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. I know that until the last minute of the last hour on my last day, there will be some communication or some issue that needs attention. It will be difficult to let it go, to let it be.
As I look at my time at the Board of Library Commissioners, it is not just the past few years that are foremost in my reminiscence, but the many years I spent digging into and shaping the State Aid program, advancing the collection of data for libraries to use and working with some incredibly wise, creative and committed people at the MBLC and throughout the library community. These last four years have been exceedingly full of activity and opportunity. Of particular note are the Strategic Planning process and the review of the State Aid to Public Libraries program. Both of these endeavors are near completion and promise to result in a more collaborative approach to programs and services for the library community of Massachusetts. I was extremely fortunate to be in my current position when the MBLC reached the 125 year milestone two years ago and to be part of the celebration. In recent years existing partnerships were strengthened and new connections formed, including the Social Law Library, the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, the Department of Children and Families, the Kennedy Library, and the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care. The MBLC opened another Public Library Construction grant round and received 33 applications that are near the end of the review and selection process. It has been a speedy four years and I am so very proud to have been part of the MBLC during this time.
We at the MBLC are about libraries, but ultimately we are about unfettered access to information by all residents of the Commonwealth. I am proud to have served at the Board of Library Commissioners in several capacities. Let me underscore the verb to serve—for that is what government work is—it is service to people and service that ensures access to information remains open and free for all people.
Libraries are the instruments of democracy; we in the library community have much work ahead of us. And with this work we also have the opportunity to create and to lead a way through the present into the future. The completion of the Board of Library Commissioners’ Strategic Planning document will be the start of the realization of a new way forward.
It is difficult for me to put words to paper or verbalize my emotions. My years at the MBLC have meant continual growth for me and gaining a deeper understanding of the complex, living organism that is Massachusetts and its library community. It is now time for another to enjoy and experience the fulfillment and gratification that comes from being at the MBLC and working with all levels of government and the library community.
This experience will be with me always.