OCLN is letting residents know that they’re Wired to Reach You

Residents love their libraries. And thanks to the  Old Colony Library Network’s (OCLN) Wired to Reach You campaign, residents will be able to share what they love about their network, too.
“Statewide awareness and advocacy campaigns are reaching librarians and trustees,” said Dave Slater, Executive Director at OCLN. “We want to reach residents.”

OCLN’s small but mighty four-member legislative committee worked with MBLC staff to develop Wired to Reach You, a campaign that helps residents understand that many of the library services they love are made possible by OCLN. Residents can go to http://links.ocln.org/wired and say what they love about OCLN and their comments will be shared with state legislators.

Funding to networks and library technology (state budget line 7000-9506 Library Technology and Resource Sharing) is a priority in the FY2020 Legislative Agenda so the more information legislators have about how much residents value their networks, the better.  Especially since technology has a changed a lot in the past twenty years; but what hasn’t changed is state funding to support library technology and library networks. In fact, this funding is 36% lower than it was in 2001.

OCLN will launch the campaign during the week of January 14 and it will run for a month.

Wired to Reach you materials are available on the MBLC Awarehouse (link). Please contact Celeste Bruno or Matt Perry for more information.

Visiting Eastham and Reading Public Libraries: Town-Wide Preservation Assessments

By Evan Knight, Preservation Specialist at the MBLC

Since joining MBLC as Preservation Specialist last month, I quickly realized how important it is to get know the libraries, people, and collections that make our Commonwealth so culturally rich.

Much of my work here at MBLC is either project consulting (for annual LSTA direct grants) or general advisory services for collection management and risk assessment (e.g., water, fire, theft, intellectual control, light, temperature, humidity, pests, etc.).

So a few weeks ago, I reached out to Debra DeJonker-Berry, Director of Eastham Public Library, to learn more about her experiences leading recent projects in Eastham that related to both of those aspects of my work: an LSTA-funded Town-Wide Preservation Assessment and Collection Identification, and MBLC’s environmental monitoring program.

What a visit! She arranged a number of meetings around town with a couple of the local institutions who were a part of the Town-Wide grant, first with the volunteer staff of the Eastham Historical Society.

Gloria, Eileen, Sylvia (l-r), Eastham Historical Society
Debra DeJonker-Berry, Eastham Public Library

We talked about their continuing work to process their collections, best practices in the preservation of scrapbooks, and their digitization projects with Digital Commonwealth (and the challenges of preparing metadata), as we toured their Archives and storage spaces. The next visit was with the Town Clerk’s Office, who maintain and preserve some of Eastham’s oldest legal and historical documents (among many other responsibilities!). The public library plays a role in sharing and interpreting some of these old documents, the “ancient records” as they’re called, by providing electronic copies on CD and online. This is just another example, in the same spirit as the Town-Wide Assessment grant, of the collaborative vision Debra has for the Eastham Public Library. One of the greatest values of the Town-Wide project, as she put it, was having everyone at the same table talking about big-picture issues regarding their collections, now and for the future, together.

The Eastham Library, by the way, occupies a beautiful building, opened in 2016, that is worthy of a visit in its own right. We discussed their environmental monitoring report for their archives storage room, and although we didn’t find major concerns, they’re continuing to check their data every month to make sure the humidification system is working correctly.

Sue, Cindy, Linda (l-r), Eastham Town Clerk
Interior views, Eastham Public Library

Reading Public Library is another institution pursuing an LSTA-funded Town-Wide Preservation Assessment and Collection Identification, and wouldn’t you know it, they have a beautiful building too, recently renovated! Amy Lannon, Director, hosted me for a recent visit to get to know their collections and better familiarize myself with their goals in this project.

South façade panorama, Reading Public Library

The Reading Antiquarian Society, the Reading Historical Commission, and the Reading Town Clerk will all participate with the Public Library to analyze their collections and determine their preservation needs.

Amy, Eileen (l-r), Reading Public Library

On my visit, I also spent a lot of time looking at the collection and the storage area with Eileen, Local History Librarian, to talk about collection development policies, security, oversize maps, environmental monitoring, and what to expect in the Assessment process.

It was a great pleasure to visit all of these institutions, and I was happy to see the work that MBLC is helping to support. But what I like most is meeting the folks who manage the collections and do the day-to-day work to preserve the cultural heritage of the Commonwealth. Thank you!

The Updated MBLC Trustee Handbook

By Rob Favini, Head of Library Advisory and Development at the MBLC

Library trustees have a unique and vital role in the oversight, stewardship and advocacy of public libraries in Massachusetts. Trustees gain their authority from legislative statute (MGL Chapter 78, Section 11) but the details of their day-to-day duties are based on local rules, bylaws and traditions. Because of this, the MBLC does not have legislatively mandated regulations for how trustees must carry out their duties. What we do have is the benefit of over 125 years of experience as a statewide agency overseeing libraries in Massachusetts. This experience has established a wealth of best practices that is available in the newly revised MBLC Trustee Handbook.

The handbook is a valuable resource to help trustees navigate the many procedural and policy questions that boards face on a daily basis.  The handbook is arranged by the following sections:  Becoming a Trustee,  Board Organization, Legal Responsibilities, Policy Making, Planning, Personnel, Budgeting and Financial Management, Library support: Fundraising, Foundations and Friends, Advocacy; Library Construction and Resources.

The handbook is available in PDF format on the MBLC’s Trustee Page (https://mblc.state.ma.us/for/trustees.php). In addition to the handbook, the Trustee Page links to the MBLC Trustee Resource guide , MBLC resources and services, and to the Massachusetts Public Library Trustees Discussion List.

If you have any questions or feedback regarding the Trustee Handbook please let us know! Contact Rob Favini, Head of Library Advisory and Development (Robert.favini@state.ma.us) or Maura Deedy, Library Advisory Specialist (maura.deedy@state.ma.us).

Massachusetts Friends of Libraries Celebrate Success

By Maura Deedy, Library Advisory Specialist at the MBLC

If you happened to visit the Shrewsbury Public Library on Saturday October 20, you may have noticed the meeting room filled with people exchanging ideas and conversation. On this particular day, it was the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Friends of Libraries (MFOL) association. This group works to advance libraries and provide support to Friends groups across the commonwealth.

One of the highlights of the annual program is the presentation of the 2018 Donna Forand Fantastic Friends Award. This award is for a creative event or activity above and beyond traditional Friends activities like book sales.

The recipient of the 2018 Donna Forand award was the Friends of Millis Library  who hosted a Royal Wedding viewing party friend and fundraiser, complete with a lavish sit-down wedding breakfast tea with china and cloth napkins. Attendees were encouraged to dress up with their best hats and fascinators and have a moment on the red carpet with a cutout of Queen Elizabeth. A local bakery donated a wedding cake with the same flavor profile as the royal wedding cake.

Millis Friends’ President Sandra Elaine Scott and Millis Friends’ Treasurer Meghan Gavaghan were on hand to accept the award.  In addition to raising money for the library, this high profile event generated buzz and local media coverage was able to raise awareness of what the Friends of Millis Library do. Sandra and Meghan shared that there were many attendees who were new to the library, and learned about all the programs and activities the library offers. It ended up being a friendraiser in addition to a fundraiser.

The Friends of the Erving Public Library received runner- up recognition for their project to establish a Little Free Library to be placed in a new park called Riverfront Park of Erving. The Friends purchased a Little Library kit, assembled it, and negotiated with the Town to have it placed in the new park on the eastern side of town. Any person who uses the park can take a book, or leave a book. This Little Library is part of a national project and movement with over 75,000 locations.

Rebecca Hubbard, the president of the local Friends group accepted the award and Barbara Friedman, Library Director, accepted a cash contribution for use for Library activities. Rebecca shared some of their lessons learned from the process, like start early if you are interested in having it be in a local park and be aware of any local zoning requirements. They were able to get buy in and generate excitement in the town, who was supportive of the project and paid for the installation. The Friends also ensure the library is stocked with books.

These are just two of the exceptional activities that are organized and executed by Friends of the Libraries. Congratulations to Millis and Erving for their truly fantastic Friends!

Summer Reading Celebrated at the Boston Bruins Game

Imagine going to a Boston Bruins game and getting to take a ride on the Zamboni or hi-five Zdeno Chara. At their game against the Anaheim Ducks on December 20, 2018, that’s just what happened when the Boston Bruins celebrated the three grand prize winners of summer reading! The winners were all chosen through a random drawing after completing their local libraries summer reading programs. The winners this year were chosen from a pool of over 300,000 children and teens that participated in the annual summer program.

   The prize recipient from Topsfield got to ride the Zamboni before the first period began. She got to be down on the ice riding the world famous ice truck while taking in the sights and sounds of the TD Garden. She made a point to wave to all of the Bruins fans up in the stands. After the ride, she also had the opportunity to try on the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup championship ring.

After the first period, the two other prize recipients from Westwood and Erving went down to the tunnel between the ice and the Bruins locker room and lined up to get fist bumps from the players. Stars including summer reading champions Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Ryan Donato walked by and high fived the two boys who were ecstatic to meet their heroes up close.

To top the night off, the 3 summer reading prize winners got to enjoy watching the Bruins defeat the Ducks 3-1. The Bruins have been awarding prizes to readers since 2009, and summer reading participants from across the Commonwealth look forward to their chance to win at the end of every summer!

In addition to the in game experiences, participants from around the state are also rewarded with team-signed Bruins jerseys and Bruins pucks signed by Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy. In all, 27 children and teens from the following libraries received prizes. You can find out more about the prizes and the summer reading program here.