MBLC Service Update
April 22, 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.
The MBLC is receiving CARES Act funds through the Institute of Museum and Library Services and are considering how to best use these funds to target the priorities detailed in the legislation.
The latest news release about the funding
Contact: Rob Favini
Governor Baker has reported that Massachusetts has entered the peak period for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. As we all anxiously look past the peak our thoughts turn to the day when we can begin to reopen our libraries. Right now the consensus is that this will be a multi phased approach beginning with library staff prepping the building for opening, then leading to a period of partial openings with limited hours and services, ending with resumption of full hours and services.
The MBLC is starting the conversation with the library community to learn what pressing issues face libraries relating to the reopening process. We have scheduled virtual update sessions planned around our State Aid and Construction programs, and with library trustees across the state. These sessions are designed to provide information and, more importantly, gather valuable feedback around library reopening concerns. In addition MBLC is working with the MLS to gather broader feedback to help prepare reopening guidance and resources. Announcements around these efforts will be coming soon.
MBLC Monthly Board Meetings
Contact: Rachel Masse
The regular monthly business meeting of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is scheduled for 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, May 7, 2020 by Zoom Videoconference Meeting. https://mblc.libcal.com/event/6201491
Andrea is working on a Library Construction Sustainability podcast that will be available soon.
The Construction Team has scheduled a virtual meeting to check in with libraries involved in the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP). Check with Lauren or Andrea for details.
Summary of MPLCP happenings:
- All public libraries are currently closed
- All active construction sites are shut down or are in the process of shutting down, as the result of explicit clarification from the Governor’s Office classifying public library construction as “non-essential” – those still in the process of shutting down are required to follow strict social distancing guidelines
- Planning, including design work and construction documentation, continues as architectural and OPM firms work from home or in accordance with social distancing guidelines
- Monthly reporting requirements have been suspended, but some libraries are still submitting monthly reports and we are able to receive and log them
- Final reports for projects scheduled to receive their final payment in this Fiscal Year are still due by April 30
- Disbursement requests for payments on current projects are being received and processed as usual.
- We have received no information on FY21 funding or the pending Capital Bond Bill
- We are still planning for new Provisional Grant awards in July or August of 2020; the number of grants will depend on the amount of our Annual Cap as set by the department of Administration & Finance, and we have been told that the soonest we will know this figure is sometime in May
Contact: Tracey Dimant
The MBLC business office has on-boarded a new MBLC staff member: Aparna Ramachandran, MBLC’s new IT Systems and Data Analyst. The final payments to the networks will be processed this week. They are also continuing to process contracts, funding requests from affiliates, and invoices from vendors, as well as handling daily operations.
Preservation and Disaster Recovery
Contact: Evan Knight
Evan is working with folks from Boston Public Library, Northeast Document Conservation Center, Massachusetts Library System, and the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts, and the Philadelphia Free Public Library to work out details, FAQs, and develop guidelines and considerations for the many types of lending practices in our respective constituent libraries.
Evan was interviewed for American Libraries’, Dewey Decibel podcast called Libraries Respond to Covid-19; Conversations with librarians about the pandemic. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/.
Evan is also part of the Massachusetts Libraries Respond to Emergencies with COSTEP MA (Webinar), run by MLS, this Friday at 10.30 am.
More info Registration
- New Statewide Summer Reading Challenge! The MBLC has worked with MLS, a public library focus group, the Boston Bruins, and First Lady Lauren Baker to come up with a fun way to have “summer reading” even with social distancing.
Register and order materials
- Summer Reading Fairy Tale Masks for kids to color: We’ve created masks to support the summer reading theme, Fairy Tales. There’s a unicorn, dragon, fancy mask, and knight.
State Aid To Public Libraries
Contact: Liz. Babbit
Mary Rose Quinn
1) Three State Aid Q&A sessions via Zoom filled up quickly and will take place later this week. We will be creating an FAQ document/webpage for questions that have general appeal. Additional sessions will be scheduled in the next couple of weeks.
2) A question was added to the COVID19 Public Library Closures/Status Google Docs about library staff affected by lay-offs or furloughs while the building is closed to the public. Liz Babbitt continues to update the Google Docs for both libraries and the public.
Links to the documents:
Changes and updates can be submitted through the LibWizard form
for both libraries and the public.
Statewide digital library-mass.gov/libraries
Contact: Kate Butler (website issues)
Matt Perry (content additions)
Paul Kissman (virtual calendar)
New Statewide Calendar for Virtual Library Programs is LIVE!
Trustees and Friends
MBLC’s Library Advisory & Development and State Aid staff will be hosting a virtual MBLC Service Update for Trustees about MBLC’s programs and activities as they have been impacted by COVID-19. This session will provide an update about the State Aid Program including policy changes for FY2020/2021, Open Meeting Law Changes, Strategic Plans updates, and will end with opportunities for questions from attendees.