Library Valentines Show Libraries aren’t just Loved, they’re Necessary

Valentines are a way we show how much we care. So why not use them as a way to show how much libraries are loved?  That’s exactly what the MBLC has done.  The MBLC’s 3rd annual Library Lovers campaign provides a way for residents to write valentines to their libraries. The MBLC collects the valentines and delivers them to legislators to help them better understand how much residents value libraries. Last year 4,000 valentines were delivered to Massachusetts legislators. Last year we delivered 4,000 valentines to 121 state legislators.

More important than the quantity of valentines is what residents say. It’s truly heartfelt (pun intended.) It’s not just that they love their helpful librarians (they do, in droves!) or that there’s amazing books, programs and resources. It’s that libraries play a role in residents’ lives that no one or no other institution can.

Have a look at just a few of the thousands we received. Please note: with the exception of Perkins Library at Perkins School for the Blind, all identifying information has been removed:

The Library has been an integral part of my life, for my entire life. I learned how to read in the Children’s Room and wrote my college applications on the computers upstairs. It’s hard not to love the Library’s kind and caring staff, and the love of reading that they share with patrons. Recently, I was able to utilize the Library in a new fashion-- professional research.
The Director of the library helped me with research for a television show I was working on. Despite the fact that I now live in New York, there was no one I’d rather have spoken with; she, along with the rest of the Library staff, are incredibly well-informed, with excellent knowledge of the resources at their fingertips.  I love the Library and
My local library is very small but its benefit to the community is enormous. The library is very important to me. I work from home and am very isolated. Our town is rural, so I don’t get to see a lot of people. The library has been so helpful in getting me out into my community, learning what is going on within it, meeting other residents, and creating a social civic life that I feel fully engaged in.
The library is the only place I’ve always belonged, no matter what.
My library supported me! I emailed them with an idea to start an environmental themed book club, and they helped me brainstorm which books we should choose for the program, took care of all the advertising and scheduling, and now I have this awesome book club to look forward to every month! I get to meet people in my community who care about the same things I do too. As a recent college graduate, finding ways to connect with my community after being away for 4 years is really important to me. I’m so happy I was able to continue learning new things with other like-minded people at my local library!
The Perkins Library has served me throughout my entire life. First as a student at Perkins, and then as a wife mother and homemaker. And the books that were made available to me, and all of the subjects pertaining to the occupation in my life then, were of invaluable help. 
Later on, my work in community theater benefited from the Library's wide selection of helpful material. But, when I became a caregiver to my daughter during her long battle against Glioblastoma brain cancer, the constant flow of books from my beloved library provided me with the information about the disease, escape, and sometimes humor which I needed to get through those impossible twelve years. 
Now, Perkins Library still walks beside me through sleepless nights and empty days, helping me get through my grief. Perkins Library has done what even well-meaning friends could not do and I shall be forever grateful. 
I love you Perkins Library!
Listening to recorded books I've received from the Perkins Talking Book Library it is a lifeline for me, it allows me to be connected to the world, to learn, to be entertained, to feel companionship. It gives meaning and hope for me. Thank you so much.
I love our local Library because it brings our community together. It allows us to meet each other in person and share experiences
My library helps to make my retirement years meaningful.
Perkins Library became part of my life 18 years ago. It's right up there with the air I breathe.
My library opens up my world. It allows me to travel to new places, to meet new people, to cook new foods, and to hear new music all with one little card (and without spending a dime). I am forever grateful for the resources available and the friendly staff that make these experiences possible. This is TRUE LOVE!
Love the opportunities to meet with other teens and play Minecraft! What a great group. Thank you Library.
Dear Library, I loved you but I left you... I want you back! I miss you so much! Here in Maine there’s no SAILS network, no New Release DVD’s, no amazing Juvenile DVD’s, no coupon sharing, no dropping off items at any network library location ...You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone!
Please support our libraries - they are an essential continuing education resource and invaluable to those who do not have access to a computer at home, especially those who are looking for work.
I love the staff and the access to such a wide variety of resources through the consortium. It’s so good to see all these institutions working together. I’ve lived lots of places and no other state or commonwealth does this as well. I was even able to take grad classes in history at Harvard without spending a fortune on books because of interlibrary loans. Please keep them funded!
I love my library because it still can instill a love of reading in children.
Libraries are essential in providing access to digital media that many may not have access to otherwise. They play a critical role in leveling the “digital divide” playing field. Libraries are worthy of our support and worthy of tax payer support.
Our library is more than just a place to borrow materials...it is a hub of our community with a community room that is used every day of the year by over 150 different groups. It is a place where people come together to discuss common interests, meet up with friends, see/hear fabulous authors talk,etc.
…It is also an essential resource for those of us whose work relies on access to accurate and up-to-date information; I use my local library’s services on a weekly basis, including interlibrary loan services, and would be hard-pressed to do my job as effectively without it.

For more information on the Library Lovers campaign, contact Celeste Bruno at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. To be a part of the campaign, access all materials on the MBLC Awarehouse.

Inspiration at Provincetown Public Library

By Evan Knight, Preservation Specialist at the MBLC

I had an inspiring visit to

Nan and Amy

Provincetown Public Library with Amy Raff, Director, and Nan Cinnater, Lead Librarian. If you visit the Library’s website, you’ll see they consider themselves “a cultural storytelling center,” and I couldn’t agree more. Some of the unique collections that help tell Provincetown’s story include:

  • Beautiful art on the walls: the art is actually part of the town’s collection but the Library beautifully showcases the area’s rich artistic heritage.
  • Historic and beautiful building, right in the center of town.

    The Rose Dorothea replica
  • There’s a half-scale replica of a schooner upstairs! The Rose Dorothea replica, dedicated in 1988, was built by Francis A. “Flyer” Santos and a team of volunteers as a “grand tribute to the fishermen of Provincetown and to New England’s shipbuilding tradition.” (N.B. Did you know that the New Bedford Whaling Museum also has a half-size whaling boat, the Lagoda?)
  • The Josephine C. Del Deo Heritage Archives, containing the records and photographs of Provincetown’s Heritage Museum.
  • Digital collections of Provincetown Newspapers and the ambitious and successful Provincetown History Project.

While in their climate-controlled storage area, I leafed through historic manuscript volumes from the early 1700s that seemed to be good potential candidates for LSTA-supported conservation treatment due to their acute condition issues, research value, and high artefactual value. When the name Peregrine White caught my eye, I was happy to learn from Amy and Nan something new, and thrilling: Peregrine White was born on the Mayflower in Provincetown Harbor in the winter of 1620 – the first English child born in the New World. What a story; what a piece of history.

We talked about other potential next steps to enhance the

preservation of their unique collections, particularly the Heritage Museum’s Archives, including the potential for taking a more thorough inventory, rehousing fragile objects, and reformatting A/V materials. LSTA grants can potentially help.

I’ll finish with inspiring quote I found outside their archives storage room engraved on a bronze sculpture:

Bronze by Romolo Del Deo

“…the process of preservation is never finished; it continues for the patient and the brave to address and resolve in each succeeding generation.” The Watch at Peaked Hill – Joesephine C. Del Deo

Here here.

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.