Library Valentines are a Powerful Message to Legislators

We’ve compiled the results from the third annual #LibraryLovers campaign. What’s the #1 thing residents’ love about their libraries?
The librarians! Nearly every one of the 3,000 valentines that were submitted this year mentioned how much librarians and are valued. They literally used the following words: “LOVE our librarians, “helpful”, “patient,” “friendly,”  “knowledgeable,” and “not shushers.” They mentioned librarians by name and really liked that the librarians knew them by name, too.

The valentines represent what we often say to legislators about why libraries are important; but there’s a difference between our saying it and hearing directly from residents who are impacted. It’s simply more powerful.  In the 3 years that we’ve done the #LibraryLovers campaign, the MBLC has given legislators nearly 15,000 valentines because, as one resident said, we “can’t imagine a community without a library” either.

We skim through them and are really moved by the emotional connection people have to their library. Some make us laugh and others pull at our heartstrings. Here’s a few of our favorite lines from the online valentines:

The library makes all my dreams come true, well pretty much all

I can't imagine a community without a library.

I love my library because they have the resources I need for life, the entertainment I need to relax, and the people who make it special
…i also like it cause of there free wifi. If i have no connection at home i could just go to the library so i dont have to stay after school.


I love that our library offers the tools that makes our community an equal opportunity place

-… they always have activities.I did one of the activities and it was awesome I made new friends and I learned new stuff.
For a small community, our library has a very large footprint.  Thank you.

It’s a pretty cool place to be

no matter how much money you have if there's a book you wan't and it's in the library you don't have to buy it you can just check it out

-[from a teenager] I love my library because I feel at home there.


Not everyone can afford books off the shelf and the library helps give the community an equal opportunity to information and knowledge.
Several of our librarians have become our friends, having seen my children and their love of reading grow over the years. Thank you for everything!
I would be lost without this library.  Between the staff and the books  this is such a gift!

…our library is a place to not only share books but share our community spirit with one another


… I also enjoy spending time in a completely commercial free community space.


For us, the library is essential for our success as homeschoolers.

Libraries deserve top funding for providing education and culture, museum passes, advice, friendship, services, and so much more to the town.
…everyone has treated me with respect and kindness, making me feel that my concern at that moment is the only thing that matters
-I love the feeling of belonging I get walking through the doors. It's my sons favorite place.

Librarians have always spoken directly to him [my son], even when he was four, and that made him feel valued.  
-I am proud of our town library and know that I will enjoy utilizing it for the rest of my life.


Diversity of opportunities, enthusiasm and helpfulness of library staff, feeling of being welcomed every time I visit library, library’s constant effort to address needs of the community ( I. E. Flu lecture )


I love my library! I have an emotional attachment to it. If you take the library away.... You take away a very important part of the social fabric of society


I brought my kids to this library. It's where they hooked their reading skills and are excellent readers today as well as life long Learners


Our library provides the critical service of keeping the public informed, educated, providing access to information that is a must in this day and age
If you ever want peace to do homework the library is for you.

THE answer center for questions about everything and anything; taxes to truffles.


I am so glad I live in a town with such a good library.  


Please keep funding and supporting the town library system it is one of the very best things about our town
We cannot afford cable and the number of DVDs that are available through inter-library loan in phenomenal!!
-Whenever i'm feeling bored my parents let me go to the library where i have an absolutely epic time listening to and reading stories
The cookbook bookclubs give me the opportunity to meet and enjoy other members of my community that I otherwise would not have the opportunity to do so.
Getting essentially any book in the world through inter-library loan!

-Not only can I borrow books but I can also receive tutorials on how to use my iPhone, iPad and laptop.  And all of these services are for free
The library is a community center where I can go to educational meetings about local issues, historical events or world affairs.  
 I remember one time i got to read to a dog and that was the best day ever.


this library means every thing to me please save it.

I love how I  get to pick any book I want and I also get to see my sister sometimes

No member of society, from the youngest to the oldest, is neglected there; libraries contain treasures for all.
As a senior citizen, nahant Library is a HAVEN of happiness, intellectual growth , and exploration.
I am new to America and I never read books before. I always ask confused questions to the librarians. They always never give up on me and they recommended new and easy books to improve myself in reading. Now I read novels and I love them


The MA library system is one of the few barrier free institutions in the Commonwealth…

My life would be greatly impoverished without my library visits and the excellent help and guidance I get there.


-My library opens a window to that world which would be shut to me without it.


Simply put, it’s home.  Ever since I was a child, the library has been a second home to me.  No matter what else was happening, I always had my books
-It is imperative that we keep community libraries open and that we better their internet access and technology which all MA citizens will need to move forward into the 21st century


[My kids are] always begging to read books and to go to the library and I attribute their love of books to the library's engaging programs.


Basically----I love my Library and am extremely satisfied.  I even like that they have a bin in the lobby to drop off cat & dog food and I am now trying to make a small donation of food every week/every other week.  I figure if I can check out books for free then I can make a donation that goes to a great cause!


Made me feel welcome the second I walked in and answered every question I asked them.


Being a low income single mom, the library has been a safe haven happy place for my children and I. The feeling of calmness of the library is what draws us. My library offers many free programs for my girls one of our favorites is story time, painting/art, and reading with therapy dogs
We would be diminished and impoverished without them and anybody who says otherwise is in a word woefully uninformed & perhaps obtuse.  However a visit or two to their local library could rectify that
Our library hosts school study evenings for high school students before mid-terms and final exams - includes pizza (imagine that in a Library!)


Certainly, I do not believe that I would be as worldly or open-minded as I am now without the vital support of the library, and all the services it provides to me and the community

Best Practice for Trustees: Town and City Charters

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

The laws that establish the authority and role of library trustees can be found in the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78. It is important to know that in some instances, state laws governing Libraries and trustees are superseded by local laws found in town and city charters. Trustees should be aware of all established and proposed local laws that pertain to the organization and management of their library. Today’s Trustee Handbook Focus looks at local charters and how they impact libraries.


Some Massachusetts municipalities are governed by special legislation or a charter, components of which may or may not relate directly to the library. It is critical for trustees to know if their municipality has such a charter or has plans to implement one, and if so, how its provisions affect their library. While trustees have traditionally looked to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78 to delineate the rights and responsibilities of trustees to exert “custody and management” over public libraries, a local charter will take precedence over Massachusetts General Laws.

If your community is planning a charter change or adoption, make sure that at least one trustee becomes familiar with the charter reform process, and is informed every step of the way about proposed changes. A proactive board is a well-informed board which serves as a partner in the change process. It is much easier to keep unfortunate changes out of the charter than to try to fix problems after the fact. The following are issues which may not constitute the main thrust of the changes to the charter, but may somehow “sneak” in if trustees don’t pay careful attention:

  • Who will the director report to? In some towns, the town administrator has the authority to appoint department heads. Make sure that the power of the library board is not eroded; in other words, make sure it is spelled out in the charter that the board of trustees governs the library and appoints the director.
  • Will the library be grouped with other town departments for purposes of efficiency? The library could lose its status as a separate department, becoming combined with other departments which do not share common missions or organizational/operational methods.
  • Will all human resource functions be centralized? Under whose control? Trustees should help develop a municipal plan for the transfer of employees between departments. Make sure the library director has responsibility for the hiring, dismissal, and supervision of library personnel.
  • Any charter proposal should contain provisions specifying the duties and powers of the board of trustees. Make sure the board has control of the library’s budget, personnel issues, and policy making authority.
  • Another issue that might be introduced is the number and kind of trustees. Monitor for proposals that would change the way trustees are elected or appointed. Who has the authority to appoint trustees? Will there be ex-officio trustees (those appointed by virtue of their office, i.e. selectmen and clergy) who may change the constitution of the library board?

If your municipality is considering a charter or home rule change, it is imperative for your board to be involved and aware of the seriousness of the issues at stake. If charter reform, home rule petition or other effort is underway to revamp municipal power and decision-making, the library should get involved from the start to advocate for wording which exempts the library from being under the control of another municipal department or officer.

Trustee Tip!
Successful boards of trustees know what’s happening in their communities and are active players in the local political process. Remember that it is your responsibility as a trustee to advocate for the best possible library services and practices. Library boards that stay active and involved in community affairs yearround are better positioned to make their case for the library than boards that wait until “crunch time” to get involved.

Today’s Trustee Handbook Focus can be found on pages 39 – 41 of the Massachusetts Public Library Trustee Handbook.

For more information about all services and resources available to trustees please visit the MBLC Trustee page (

Have a question relating to your board? Contact Maura Deedy ( or Rob Favini (

Please join us at the MBLC’s Trustee Institute, April 27th! For information and registration:

The 2019 PJ Drive was a Record Smashing Success!

By MBLC Communications Director Celeste Bruno

As MBLC staff member Rachel Masse said throughout the PJ Drive, “These libraries are killing it!” No truer words were ever spoken!

Not only did libraries hit their goal of 10,000 PJs, libraries beat the goal for the entire drive (all organizations from the entire state)  of 12,000! Libraries collected 13,022 A new record of 138 registered for the drive–thank you to all the libraries that participated—even if your library collected 2 pairs, they make a huge difference to the kids who receive them.

Results of the major rivalries

Bourne vs. Norwood
Champion by 782 pairs: Bourne

Blackstone Valley Competition (Sutton, Whitinsville, Blackstone, Simon Fairfield, Millbury, Uxbridge, and Upton)                                    Champion by just 8 pairs!:  Whitinsville; Uxbridge Free Public Library will deliver breakfast to  Whitinsville

Champion by 45 pairs: MLS; MBLC will deliver the PJ cup to MLS filled with chocolate.

Statewide Results (each will receive 5 tickets to a Bruins game)
#1 at 3,320 pairs of PJs is the  Jonathan Bourne Public Library
#2 at 2,538 pairs of PJs is the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood
#3 at 742 pairs of PJs is Liam Fitzgerald (learn more about Liam)

Winners of the 12 Days of PJs Prizes (random raffle, given out during the drive)
Team-signed Bruins Hockey Stick:
Salisbury Public Library
Great Barrington Public Library
Beverly Public Library (Main)

Player-signed Jersey:
Billerica Public Library (Brad Marchand)
Westborough Public Library (Tuukka Rask)
Whitinsville Library in Northbridge (David Krecji)

Team-signed Jersey:
Silver Lake Regional High School
Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield
Nashoba Regional High School

Signed photo:
Ventress Memorial in Marshfield (Patrice Bergeron)
Hazen Memorial Library in Shirley (Pasternak)
Beaman Memorial in West Boylston (Charlie McAvoy)