MBLC Service Update
April 8, 2020
As we work together to get through the current reality, the MBLC will provide regular updates on MBLC services and other statewide issues. Please let us know if there’s info you’d like us to cover—we’ll include it if we are able. Stay well.
Due to technical difficulties, the Ways and Means (virtual) Hearing about revised revenue projections that was scheduled to take place on April 7 has been moved to next week. Director Lonergan and Mary Rose Quinn plan to participate. The House and Senate will use these revised figures to develop their FY 2021 budget proposals. House Ways and Means typically releases their budget in April and Senate Ways and Means releases theirs in May. The next fiscal year begins on July 1, 2020.
MBLC Monthly Board Meetings
Contact: Rachel Masse
On April, 2, for the first time in its 130 year history, the MBLC held its monthly board meeting virtually-via Zoom. The MBLC will continue to address board business in this way until in-person meetings are again possible. Board meetings are the first Thursday of every month.
MBLC Chair Roland Ochsenbein opened the meeting with some thoughtful observations of our current circumstances.
Library construction not considered essential
MBLC management has been working to get clarification on public library construction activity in light of the Governor’s narrowing of the definition of “essential” construction found here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-essential-services#public-works-&-infrastructure-support-services-.
On Monday, the Chief Secretary and Director of Personnel and Administration in Gov. Baker’s office, stated “In our intention of the order and the reading of the order, Library construction, if not part of a State College Campus or being performed under the care and oversight of The State Division of Capital Asset Management, is deemed non-essential work at this time.”
Contact: Tracey Dimant
The MBLC business office is preparing to send out the final payments to the networks, as soon as the final allotment for the 7000-9506 line comes in. They are also continuing to process contracts, funding requests from affiliates, and invoices from vendors, as well as handling daily operations.
LSTA (Federal funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services)
Contact: Lyndsay Forbes
Strategic Planning Guidance
The MBLC has important information for libraries regarding the October 1, 2020 deadline for filing strategic plans. Due to the tremendous disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries with expired strategic plans as of October 1, 2020 will be given a one year extension. Libraries under this extension will still be eligible for LSTA direct grants if they file an updated action plan that will be due on December 1, 2020.
We recognize that the shutdown of libraries and all non-essential businesses makes the collection of community and stakeholder input into the strategic planning process nearly impossible. In addition it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a long lasting impact on libraries and the services they provide. With this extension of strategic planning deadlines, libraries will have the ability to gather input when they re-open and are better able to engage their communities in the process.
If you have any questions please contact Rob Favini, Head of Library Advisory and Development.
Libraries get even more creative with their LSTA grants
In addition to the many online story hours and virtual book groups that have been scheduled, Shelley Quezada (MBLC Consultant to the Unserved) attended an first hour long zoom strength-based training session for seniors that the Shutesbury library held as part of their LSTA outreach grant. There were 14 people including one Shutesbury resident who zoomed in from Puerto Rico. They will be holding thee zoom sessions twice a week. Shelley reports, “The class was a lot of work but this is a novel way for us as program monitors to do a virtual site visit.”
Contact: Paul Kissman
The Taylor Memorial Library in Hancock received assistance from a Library Services and Technology (LSTA) grant given by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) for joining the CW MARS Automated Network in FY20. They are one of seven small libraries that have joined CW MARS in the last five years with grant assistance; the others include: Ashburnham, Blandford, Charlemont (which also serves Hawley), Tolland, Oakham, and Lanesborough.
Preservation and Disaster Recovery
Contact: Evan Knight
- The MBLC recently approved four LSTA Preservation Assessment Grants. These grants fund an outside consultant to conduct institutional preservation assessments that include a site visit and the delivery of a written report.
The following grants were approved:
Porter Memorial Library, Blandford – $4,200
Griswold Memorial Library, Colrain – $4,200
Hamilton-Wenham Public Library, Hamilton – $4,200
Wellesley High School, Wellesley – $4,200
- Evan has created a COSTEP site that is being continuously updated with the latest info and provides a wealth of resources and guidance for personal and institutional preparedness and response.
- Important reminder about the valuable webinar from IMLS and the CDC: Mitigating COVID-19 When Managing Paper-Based, Circulating, and Other Types of Collections.
The webinar recording can be accessed here.
Follow-up questions for the CDC, may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The materials and links mentioned in the webinar have been added to the IMLS coronavirus page under “Official Government Information and Resources.”
Contact: Celeste Bruno
Staff are using MBLC social media channels to connect users and librarians to digital resources.
The team has also created promotional posts for libraries to use on their social media channels:
Digital Library social media posts
New databases social media posts
The MBLC has developed database promotion for social media that takes users directly into the databases and gives the local library the usage statistic:
Databases: Home Improvement
Databases Healthy Aging
- State Aid requirements relaxed
In an effort to support libraries participating in the State Aid to Public Libraries Program as they cope with this emergency, the Board of Library Commissioners approved changes to the State Aid Program Standards Policies at their monthly Board meeting on April 2, 2020. There will be other updates as we assess the ongoing crisis and determine how best the MBLC can support you, your staff, your libraries, and the communities you serve.
Rather than address the changes individually in each of the ten policies for both 2020 and 2021, the modifications are reflected and were approved through an Emergency Preamble to the State Aid to Public Libraries Program Policies which has been added to the State Aid Policies section of the website and as a preface to the printed versions of the policy documents going forward.
Press release regarding changes
- Tracking library status/closures
Liz Babbitt continues to update the Public Library Closures Google Docs for both libraries and the public.
Links to the documents:
Changes and updates can be submitted through the LibWizard form
- Liz has been meeting with other State Data Coordinators and IMLS about extending the deadlines for submitting FY2020 data by libraries. There is also discussion about the definitions of some of the programming questions and possibly adding a few snapshot questions that will help libraries capture some additional data due to this year’s unusual situation. More to come on this.
Statewide digital library – libraries.state.ma.us
Contact: Kate Butler (website issues)
Matt Perry (content additions)
MBLC staff have been updating our public portal, libraries.state.ma.us, with free resources both from libraries and from other outside groups. We’re calling it: We’re in this together digital library. The entire state has been given access to TumbleBooks collections for free until August 31, 2020, and EBSCO has also granted free access to some of their eBooks until June 30, 2020: EBSCO and Tumblebooks. Always free statewide resources are also included. This one-stop place makes it easy for residents to find library resources and other free resources.
Please email Matt if you have content you’d like us to add.
MSLA’s new website the Virtual School Librarian highlights the statewide databases and other statewide resources from BPL in addition to connecting users with a school librarian.
Contact: Celeste Bruno
Matt Perry (materials and orders)
MBLC Staff has worked with our partners the Massachusetts Library System, the Boston Bruins and First Lady of the Commonwealth Lauren Baker to create a simple and fun Summer Reading Challenge that may help kids and families stay connected to public libraries over the summer as typical summer programs may not be possible. MBLC Staff will email further information about the challenge later this week.
While it remains unclear when Blades visits can happen, the MBLC will still conduct the drawing for Bruins prizes in May.
Trustees and Friends
Contact: Maura Deedy
Trustee Orientations are moving to a virtual format. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime don’t forget to take advantage of the resources available to trustees on the MBLC website: https://mblc.state.ma.us/for/trustees.php . Here you will find links to the MBLC Trustee Resource Guide and the Library Trustee Handbook.
Maura has also put together a list of Open Meeting Law directives about remote participation and resources http://guides.mblc.state.ma.us/c.php?g=43533&p=7408550