St. Louis and Boston Public Libraries Used Twitter Book Stacks to Face Off Over Stanley Cup

During the 2019 Stanley Cup, there was another rivalry going on in addition to the one on the ice between the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins, which ended in the Blues winning last night. The friendlier sparring occurred between the cities’ respective libraries, the St. Louis Public Library and Boston Public Library, who were battling it out on Twitter.

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Letters About Literature: 2019 Awards Ceremony Held at State House

By Ellen Flanagan Kenny, Communications Associate at the Massachusetts Center for the Book

L-R: Norwood High School English teacher Elizabeth Colahan, Kenneth Amis, Elizabeth Amis, Norwood High junior Jason Amis (Level 3 Honoree), and Senator Michael Rush.

Thirty students were honored at the annual Letters About Literature awards ceremony, held on May 23 in the Reading Room of the State Library at the Massachusetts State House.  Representative Natalie Higgins, House Co-Chair of the Library Caucus, provided the legislative welcome and thanked the many legislators on hand to welcome families, teachers, and librarians to this “Celebration of Massachusetts Student Reading & Writing.”

The Letters About Literature program is sponsored nationwide by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and administered by state centers for the book which operate in each of the 50 states as well as in the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Students in Grades 4 to 12 write letters to authors about books, poems or speeches which had a profound effect on them.  One of the most active state programs, Massachusetts again received thousands of letters from all corners of the Commonwealth.

Level 2 (Grades 7-8) Top Honors awardee Bezawit Seyfe O’Neill of Brookline (Montrose School) reading her letter.

In her remarks, Sharon Shaloo, Executive Director of Mass Center for the Book, told the thirty honorees that they represented the top 1% of participants in Massachusetts.  “Every year, and perhaps this year more so, Letters About Literature reminds us of the power of books, the importance of reflective thought and writing, and the necessity of those activities in an engaged and civil society,” Shaloo said.

An outstanding team of 2019 judges including Sharon Bernard, Director, Fitchburg Public Library; Beth Ineson, Executive Director, New England Independent Booksellers Association; and David Mazor, Executive Director, Reader to Reader, Inc., presented awards to the student honorees.  Judging assistance was also provided by the English Department at Salem State University and MCB staff and volunteers.

The 26th annual Letters About Literature program was made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

L-R: David Mazor, Executive Director of Reader to Reader, Inc., Beth Ineson, Executive Director of NEIBA, Representative Natalie Higgins, House Co-Chair of the Library Caucus, Sharon Bernard, Director, Fitchburg Public Library, and James Lonergan, Director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

The Massachusetts Center for the Book, chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is a public-private partnership charged with developing, supporting and promoting cultural programming that advances the cause of books and reading and enhances the outreach potential of Massachusetts public libraries.

For more information, contact info@massbook.org or call 617-872-3718.

Best Practice for Trustees: Massachusetts Library Laws

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

Previous blog posts have been highlighting excerpts from the Trustee Handbook focusing on laws and liability relating to libraries and library trustees. What follows is a list of laws that apply to libraries for your reference.  As you can see many of the items on this list go beyond the specific laws governing boards of trustees that we have covered in MGL Chapter 78. Being aware of the broad range of laws governing libraries, human resources, finance, and labor relations is essential. And an important best practice for librarians and library trustees.

MASSACHUSETTS LAWS PERTAINING TO LIBRARIES

It is advisable for trustees and the library director to acquire a familiarity with local, state and federal laws which may have an impact on library management by consulting with local municipal officials and other authorities.

Although there are many Massachusetts laws which could apply to library management, the following is a selective list of Massachusetts laws which have a broad impact on the board of trustees and which are particularly relevant to the general administration of Massachusetts public libraries. Full text of Massachusetts General Laws may be accessed online at http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/Search.

A Selective List of Massachusetts Laws with Relevance to Libraries:

Accessibility of Public Buildings by Handicapped Persons (ch.22 §13A)
Anti-Discrimination Law (ch.151B)
Charitable Corporations (ch.180 §§1-11C, 26-26B)
Confidentiality of Library Records (ch.78 §7 ; ch.4 §7(26) ; ch.66 §10)
Conflict of Interest (ch.268A §§17-25)

Crimes in/against libraries:
Destruction or Mutilation of library Materials (ch.266 §§99, 100)
Theft of Library Materials (ch.266 §§99, 99A)
Disturbance of Libraries (ch.272 §41)
Harmful to Minors Act (ch.272 §§28, 31)

Funds:
General Receipt of Funds (ch.44 §53)
Receipt of Grants or Gifts (ch.44 §53A)
Replacement Funds (for lost or damaged materials) (ch.44 §53)
Revolving Funds (ch.44 §53E1/2)
Trust Funds (ch.44 §§54, 55B)

Labor Relations: Public Employees (ch.150E)
Liability (ch.258)
Public Libraries:
Establishment of Free Public Libraries (ch.78 §§1, 7-13)
Trustees of Town Libraries (ch.78 §§10-13)
Association/Corporation Libraries (ch.78 §§1, 13)
Board of Library Commissioners (ch.78 §§14-15, 19)
State Aid to Cities and Towns for Free Public Libraries (ch.78 §§19A,B)
Joint Libraries (ch.78 §11)
Written Policy for Selection of Materials (ch.78 §33)
Written Employment Contracts with Library Directors (ch.78 §34)

Open Meeting Law (ch.30A §§18-25)
Public Records (ch.66 §§1-18)

Information pertaining to this blog post can be found on pages 43-45 of the Massachusetts Public Library Trustee Handbook.

For more information about all services and resources available to trustees please visit the MBLC Trustee page (https://mblc.state.ma.us/for/trustees.php).

Have a question relating to your board? Contact Maura Deedy (maura.deedy@mass.gov) or Rob Favini (robert.favini@state.ma.us)

Sturgis Library: Preserving and Sharing Barnstable’s Rich Histories

By Evan Knight, Preservation Specialist at the MBLC

1. Lucy Loomis, Director of Sturgis Library, in front of Lothrop Bible (1605).

For ALA’s Preservation Week 2019, we are rolling-out a series called “People of Preservation,” highlighting the people taking care of interesting library collections across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The biggest driver of successful preservation and curation is having dedicated and knowledgeable staffs. This series is going to show why, while celebrating their successes!

I’m going to start off by highlighting some recent work by Lucy Loomis, Director of the Sturgis Library in Barnstable.

  • Barnstable Patriot and Register newspaper digital archives updated for 2019: Read about some of the collaborative work necessary to pull off digitization of nearly 200 years of Cape Cod history. The two papers cover Cape Cod and the Islands, with 20th century emphasis on the towns of Barnstable, Dennis, and Yarmouth.  The Patriot archive covers the years 1830 to 2017, and the Register covers the years 1836 to 2017. See more at Sturgis Library’s Newspaper Indexes.
  • Understanding history is a process, not an equation. A key part, in my opinion, in the process of better understanding history is being able to interact with the physical objects of the past. On a recent visit with Lucy, I learned the Sturgis Library held a strong collection of historic whaling volumes. With grant support from MBLC through IMLS/LSTA funds, selections from these primary source materials are going to be reproduced and shared with high school students in support of history curricula at Sturgis Charter Public School. (The grant category is called “First Contact.”)
  • It’s obvious there’s a great commitment by Lucy, staff, and the community to collect, preserve, and of course better understand the history of Barnstable. It’s a pleasure to have visited and learned more about their work. Here’s just three more examples (among many others, too!) that I’d like to share and celebrate:

 

Thanks for all your excellent work, Lucy!

Libraries on the Move: A Brief History of Bookmobiles

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

While we’re always trying to entice people to come into the library, more and more libraries are recognizing and prioritizing getting out of the physical building and into the community. Outreach is such a critical part of what we librarians do, and it is often the best way to reach those who need our services the most. One way some libraries are reaching out to their communities is through their bookmobile.

Bookmobiles have existed in the U.S. since the turn of the century, though the original ones were horse drawn carriages. The first motorized bookmobiles launched in 1912. While they started as a way to get books to rural and far flung areas, they have adapted over the years and can be found in all types of communities engaging in a variety of services.

Over the years, the popularity of bookmobiles has risen and fallen. There was a decline during both World Wars and the Great Depression. The 1950s and 1960s saw a huge growth, some of which is likely due to the Library Services Act of 1956 as well as additional legislation. While their popularity has fluctuated over the years, you shouldn’t think of them as nostalgic relics from years ago. Bookmobiles are still a part of modern library service in many communities. In fact, there are currently six bookmobiles operating in five public libraries in Massachusetts – Beverly, Chicopee, Natick, New Bedford, and Worcester (which has two).

In Chicopee, when you can’t get to the library, there’s a way for it to come to you! Since June 2015, the Chicopee Public Library’s Bookmobile has been a significant part of library outreach. The schedule rotates every few months. Right now, the Bookmobile is using a two week rotation, where they make fifteen stops at eleven different sites. Locations include housing complexes, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Senior Center. Warmer months see the addition of parks and the farmers market among the stops.

Chicopee’s Bookmobile truly is a library on wheels, offering the typical library services you’d expect in a brick and mortar building. On the Bookmobile, you can check out materials, request items for pick up, access online resources, use a WiFi hot spot, register for a library card, and get on the internet via iPads.

If you’re a librarian thinking about getting your own bookmobile, you should know that it can be a large investment in time and money. So, while it’s not something to enter into lightly, many libraries do find it is well worth the effort. And if you’re looking to up your outreach game, it might just be the answer you’re looking for!

Best Practice for Trustees: Open Meeting Law

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

The Open Meeting Law generates a lot of questions from trustees across the state. The most frequently asked is, “does this law apply to me?” The short answer is, yes! Public libraries in Massachusetts must adhere to open meeting laws. For corporation or association libraries that receiving ANY amount of municipal funding, following open meeting law is a basic best practice.

Below are links to resources available from Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. We recommend that all trustees review these materials to learn how the law applies to posting meetings, taking meeting minutes, executive sessions, and the use of email and social media.

Open Meeting Law
Public bodies, which generally include public library trustee boards, are required to comply with the Open Meeting Law (MGL ch. 30A, sec. 18-25), as enforced by the state Attorney General’s office. As noted in the AG’s Open Meeting Law Guide, “The purpose of the Open Meeting Law is to ensure transparency in the deliberations on which public policy is based. Because the democratic process depends on the public having knowledge about the considerations underlying governmental action, the Open Meeting Law requires, with some exceptions, that meetings of public bodies be open to the public.”

All library trustees should be familiar with the Open Meeting Law, which mandates meeting notices be posted prior to meetings of public boards, requires records or “minutes” of meetings to be kept, and delineates certain instances in which portions of meetings may be closed to the public. The Attorney General’s office has some helpful resources on their website, including the extremely useful Open Meeting Law Guide. Questions concerning the Open Meeting Law should be directed to the local Town Clerk or the Attorney General’s Division of Open Government (http://www.mass.gov/ago/government-resources/open-meeting-law).

Certain library boards, such as boards of some association libraries that are not municipal departments, may not be considered public bodies under the Open Meeting Law. If such a board is uncertain of whether it must comply with Open Meeting Law, the board should contact the Attorney General’s office directly for a determination. Some association/corporation libraries may be required to follow Open Meeting Law under agreement with the municipality that they serve. It is strongly recommended that all library boards follow the tenets of the Open Meeting Law, even if they are not required to by law. A board that practices openness and transparency will be better able to maintain a good relationship with the municipality and seek support from its community

Information regarding Open Meeting Law can be found on page 41 of the Massachusetts Public Library Trustee Handbook.

Have a question relating to your board? Contact Maura Deedy (maura.deedy@mass.gov) or Rob Favini (robert.favini@state.ma.us)

Please join us at the MBLC’s Trustee Institute, April 27th! For information and registration: https://mblc.libcal.com/event/5158107?hs=a

Weymouth library groundbreaking ‘signifies era of vibrancy’

A new $33 million Tufts Library will provide patrons with dozens of computers, reliable wireless internet capabilities, additional book volumes, CDs and DVDs when it is completed in 15 months.

“We are going from a tight children’s room to one that is two-and-a-half times the size,” said Robert MacLean, Weymouth Public Libraries director during a groundbreaking ceremony March 27. “It will include a story time and craft rooms, study rooms, and a nursery room. There is so much more to come.”

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