Celebrate National Friends of Libraries Week!

By Maura Deedy, Library Advisory Specialist at the MBLC

We are thrilled to kick off National Friends of Libraries Week. This is an opportunity for libraries to celebrate the role of the friend. Friends advocate, fundraise, champion, and promote the library in their communities.

In 2018, libraries reported over 59,000 library friends at 308 libraries. These are the people who understand and value the importance of the library in their community. Some friends groups have less than ten people, and others count up to 1000 members! What they have in common is that they are passionate about their local library.

These organizations are usually private 501c3 groups with their own board and officers. A friends group will engage in membership drives, book sales and other activities to help raise funds to supplement the municipal budget. Maybe you’ve been to a local book sale or perused a cart tucked near the circulation desk. Donated books sold by friends groups help provide direct financial support. Friends purchase museum passes, furniture, and sponsor summer reading programs, cook book clubs and more.

Friends can play an important role in advocating for the library to local and state officials. They are able to leverage their voice and knowledge of the library, and help tell the library story to ensure adequate funding is needed. Friends can also play a key role in any local bond or ballot votes, overrides and more. The Massachusetts Friends of Libraries is an association formed to provide leadership on issues of regional, state and national concern to libraries, including encouraging and assisting in the formation and continued growth of Friends of Libraries. They promote awareness on library issues and advocate for state funding to libraries through the Commonwealth. Visit https://libraries.state.ma.us/pages/friends-of-libraries-week-19 to learn more about Friends groups in Massachusetts.

National Friends of Libraries Week is coordinated by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association with approximately 4,000 personal and group members representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. United for Libraries supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries, and brings together library trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century.

Growing in the City

By Lyndsay Forbes, Project Manager and Grant Specialist at the MBLC

There has always been a long-standing interest in gardening and urban agriculture in Somerville but as the densest city in New England, space is at a premium. The City has helped a number of residents develop gardens through their Urban Agriculture ordinance, but many residents live in housing without any green space. While there are several community gardens, the waitlist can take around two years. Some residents have taken matters into their own hands with ‘guerilla gardening’, planting on any unused portion of public space without permission.

Seeing a need in their community, Somerville Public Library realized they could help. Using an LSTA grant from the MBLC, the Library developed a community gardening initiative that would be accessible, affordable, and hands-on for Somerville residents.

In early April, raised beds were installed by Green City Growers on the Library’s lawn in order to provide residents with opportunities to learn and practice gardening. Following the installation, the first gardening workshop was held. This workshop was part of a larger Arbor Day and Urban Gardening Festival at the Library that included kid’s gardening and environmental activities as well as tree planting with the Somerville Urban Forestry Division. The timing of the event also lined up with SustainaVille Week, Somerville’s annual celebration of sustainability and climate action.

The Library had Green City Growers provide several more workshops throughout the season. Topics included when and what to plant as well as how to maintain, fertilize, and harvest successful crops. Working in an actual garden gave people valuable and practical experience with what was growing at that time of year as well as guidance about what to do as the season progressed.

Gardening wasn’t just limited to the Main Library. While the West Branch is currently closed for renovation, Somerville’s East Branch had two container gardening systems. Not only was the branch able to provide gardening opportunities at its own location, but this type of small space demonstrated what you can accomplish even if you didn’t have your own outdoor space. The Library also encouraged gardening at home with their circulating gardening tool kits for youth.

Another key part of the project was showing people what to do with all those vegetables they grew. Knowing how to prepare and cook fresh produce can be a bit overwhelming if it’s something you’re not familiar with. The The Library worked with local caterer JJ Gonson, owner of Cuisine en Locale, who provided a series of cooking workshops focusing on how to prepare and preserve fresh, seasonal produce.

The response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive, both from the public and staff. With their new garden, Somerville Public Library has found a unique way to reach out to their community and grow more than just readers.

Medford celebrates end of Medford Public Library building

The old Medford Public Library building will be coming down this fall, and Medford residents, city officials and library employees were able to celebrate and reflect on the building this past weekend.

On Saturday, the city held a party at the old library building at 111 High St. in Medford from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for kids and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. for adults, and everyone was welcome to attend.

Read more on Wicked Local Medford

Orange libraries to showcase community bookmarks next month

Pick up a bookmark at one of Orange’s libraries next month, and they might have some familiar faces on them.

Local firemen, dance students, a coach and library fans are just a few of the people pictured on a series of bookmarks the Orange public libraries have been creating this year.

In a project funded by the Friends of the Orange Libraries, library staff have been hosting photo shoots of different members of the community, printing their images on bookmarks, and will be giving the bookmarks out for free at both libraries — Moore-Leland Library on Athol Road in North Orange, and Wheeler Memorial Library on East Main Street — in September.

Read more on the Greenfield Recorder

ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom: Lynda’s Privacy Problem

The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom Blog highlights Lynda’s relationship with LinkedIn and problems that may cause for libraries:

In 2015, Lynda.com was acquired by LinkedIn, the professional networking site used by job-seekers and employers, and has since been rebranded as LinkedIn Learning. Recently, an email from a local librarian to the Connecticut library listserv alerted the community to a problematic platform update to LyndaLibrary/LinkedIn Learning. Library users would be required to create a LinkedIn account to use the LyndaLibrary technology learning resources. That librarian expressed concerns about patron privacy on LinkedIn. Other librarians consulted their account representatives and when pushed on the patron privacy concerns, they failed to adequately address the privacy concerns. As a result, a few libraries have reported that they would not be renewing their contracts with LyndaLibrary/LinkedIn Learning.

Read more on the Intellectual Freedom Blog

Moving on up: $35.6 million Jones Library project now second on statewide waiting list

A $35.6 million renovation and expansion planned for the Jones Library is now second on the statewide waiting list for library projects.

The project, in line for $13.87 million in funding, moved up two spots when the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) in July awarded provisional funding for a $7.49 million project in Sharon and a $5.84 million in Littleton.

Continue Reading on the Daily Hampshire Gazette

Commonwealth Catalog to Undergo Scheduled Upgrade

UPDATE 10/7/2019: The Commonwealth Catalog successfully underwent its upgrade and is now back online. Thank you for your patience while we underwent this process.

Note: This post was updated on October 1, 2019 to reflect a change in date for the Commonwealth Catalog upgrade.

On Friday, October 4, 2019 the Commonwealth Catalog will be taken down for a scheduled upgrade. The new version will bring improvements to help users find books and materials they want more easily and more efficiently. Though we hope the upgrade will take less than a day, it may take up to three. The Commonwealth Catalog will be unavailable to patrons and staff during this time.

What’s Coming with the Upgrade?

Increased Security and Patron Privacy: The system will now use “tokens” instead of internet cookies, which means your activities and searches cannot be tracked by cookie trails.

More efficient searches: Searches will be broader, with related words included for title results, easier search narrowing, and the ability to select multiple different ways to refine your search results.

Faster results: Search results will load faster, and you will no longer see those flickering book jackets. You will be able to navigate around the page as the search continues to bring in live results from the various Massachusetts library systems.

Thank you for your patience while we work on making the Commonwealth Catalog an even greater resource for you and all Massachusetts residents to find the books and materials they want from anywhere in the state.

Please be prepared for the system to be down from 5pm on Friday August 9 until August 11, and check the MBLC Twitter account for updates.

Medford to start work on new $34 million library

Medford is preparing to begin construction of a $34 million public library that officials said will allow them to meet a longstanding need for more space and improved facilities. In October, contractors are set to begin demolishing the existing 60-year-old library to make way for the new 44,000-square-foot facility, to be built on the same High Street site.

Read more on the Boston Globe