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 8/6/2019: The Commonwealth Catalog upgrade has been postponed. We will update this post accordingly once we know the new date of the upgrade.

On August 9, 2019, beginning at 5pm, 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

Eat, Drink, and be Merry: Food Programming in Libraries

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

We all know one way to get people to your programs is having food. So, why not offer food programming? At this year’s Urban Libraries Conference, Christopher Morgan and Patty Sussmann from the Newburgh Free Library in Newburgh New York gave a great presentation called “Cooking Classes without a Kitchen”. Here are some key points from it that might have you adding food programming at your library.

Why do food programming in the first place? It’s important to point out that there are a lot of great reasons to offer this besides getting people in the door. Cooking and eating are educational! Reading, math, and science are at the heart of cooking. The typical hands-on nature of this type of offering can appeal to a broad range of learners. Depending on the topic, programs can improve community health—how to make heart healthy recipes for instance. Finally, don’t overlook the social aspect and community building it can do. Food brings people together, something libraries strive to do.

If you’re on board with trying food programming, you might be wondering where to start. Hiring outside presenters is one way to go. There are a lot of possibilities in terms of finding the right ones for your library. A local cookbook author is an obvious choice if you have any. Local caterers or chefs can be a great option as well. Schools and universities might have culinary programs you can tap into for potential presenters or maybe there’s a nearby cooking school. Adult education centers often have cooking instructors. Specialty food or cooking stores could have some skilled staffers who want to share their passion. One often overlooked option is a nutritionist or dietician—you can usually find them at hospitals or grocery stores.

Equipment and facility space are a common concern with offering food programming. You do not need a full-scale kitchen to do this! If you hire outside presenters, they will often bring their own set up. But what if staff wants to do the programming? What should you have? Check out “Kitchen in a box” in the Culinary Literacy Toolkit. Here you’ll find a list of basic kitchen tools for those needing a more flexible set up. This toolkit was developed by the Free Library of Philadelphia and is a must-read for public libraries who are thinking of offering food programming.

Speaking of equipment, programming based on cooking tools is another option you can explore. Think blender, spiralizer, or instant pot! You’re sure to have cookbooks on whatever the latest gadget trend is. Build a program around the tool, demo a recipe, and have relevant cookbooks on display for check out. Maybe even add that equipment to your library of things to let people try it at home.

Still nervous about actually cooking in the library? There are lots of options that don’t involve cooking at all! Try a food tasting for cheese or chocolate. Presenters will often incorporate some history or other background information in the program. Coffee and tea tastings will involve some equipment but present a similar appeal. Beer and other alcoholic beverages are likely off the table, but how about having a mocktails class? Another non-cooking option could focus on cooking-related skills. For instance, proper knife use and care is valuable for any cook to know. Food safety is a topic that can be covered in its own class or you could incorporate it into other food programs.

Finally, libraries have been offering book clubs for years so it’s no surprise that cookbook clubs have joined their ranks. There are a couple of different ways you can run a cookbook club: pick a cookbook, an ingredient, or a theme. Once you’ve decided that, participants make a dish and bring it to the meeting to share. It’s a great way to meet people and try new food recipes that you might not get to on your own.

Hopefully, you’re inspired to include food programming at your library. With so many options out there, there’s sure to be something that works for you. Bon appétit!

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.

Continue Reading on Forbes

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)