National Voter Registration Day: Sign Up Now to Partner!

By Michelle Eberle, Consultant at the Massachusetts Library System

The Massachusetts Library System and Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners are excited to share that we are collaborating on National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) for a second year. We encourage your library to participate, too!  Read on for the official announcement and invitation from the Assistant Director for State Advocacy for the American Library Association (ALA). Libraries can partner by hosting a virtual or in-person event for National Voter Registration Day, or publicizing NVRD social media copy and graphics.  National Voter Registration Day provides an excellent toolkit for organizations to support your voter engagement efforts. Please use the link below to register to help ALA track how many libraries partner for NVRD.  We hope that your library will take part in this important collaboration.

Official Invitation from ALA

I’m pleased to announce that ALA is once again a premier partner of National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), to be celebrated this year on September 28.

In recent years, hundreds of libraries across the country have participated in NVRD and registered thousands of voters for local, state, and national elections. We invite you to join us again this year by registering here: https://bit.ly/ALANVRD.

By signing up, you’ll receive free resources and training opportunities to help you prepare. For academic libraries, NVRD offers the opportunity to connect with Campus Takeover, a student mobilizing effort that provides specialized resources and activities for college campuses.

Library workers are leaders in civic engagement. If you are registering voters or doing other types of voter engagement in the coming months, let ALA know! Please tag us on social media: @LibraryPolicy and #LibrariesEngageVoters.

Register for NVRD today: https://bit.ly/ALANVRD.

Thank you.

Megan Cusick

Megan Murray Cusick, MLIS
Assistant Director, State Advocacy
Public Policy & Advocacy | American Library Association

Medford Public Library named 2021 EBSCO Solar Grant Winner

EBSCO Information Services selected its four 2021 EBSCO Solar Grant Winners.

Hazel Park District Library in Hazel Park, Michigan; Medford Public Library in Medford; College of Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wisconsin; and the Virgin Islands Montessori School in St, Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, will each receive an EBSCO Solar Grant to pay for the installation of a solar array. The grants offset the cost of installing solar panels and allow the libraries to reduce their electricity expenditures.

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Cape Cod Students Gain Access to eBooks from their Local Libraries

Students from several Cape Cod schools are now able to access OverDrive digital materials from nearby public libraries using their student IDs. CLAMS libraries in Brewster, Eastham, Orleans, Truro and Wellfleet are partnering with the Nauset School System, Mashpee Library is partnering with the Mashpee Schools, Falmouth Public Library is partnering with Falmouth High School, and the seven Barnstable libraries—Centerville, Cotuit, Hyannis, Marstons Mills, Osterville, Sturgis and Whelden Memorial—are partnering with Barnstable High School. Dennis and Yarmouth libraries will soon partner with schools that offer OverDrive in the Dennis/Yarmouth District. Using their school credentials directly through OverDrive’s SORA app, students can check out and request titles from the entire CLAMS digital collection and will have priority access to their partnering libraries’ OverDrive Advantage collection. They can also get out-of-network materials through the LEA Project.

Lynn Weeks, Library Media Specialist, Mashpee Middle/High School welcomes the initiative:

“We are so excited we were given the opportunity to partner with Mashpee Public Library and offer our students access to additional eBook titles. Removing the barrier of a public library card and allowing students to access the public library digital collection in the Sora platform using their school log-on information has enabled us to meet needs we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to meet with all of the limitations of this current year.  We hope that this introduction to public library resources will serve as a bridge to students becoming lifelong library users and lead to students obtaining their own public library cards.”

Kathleen Mahoney, Mashpee Public Library Director said:

“Partnering with the Mashpee Public Schools to provide students with instant access to our OverDrive collections allowed the Library to support both the educational needs of the students, and encourage reading for pleasure during the past year of at home and hybrid learning models.  Our goal is to increase access and accessibility to all patrons and this initiative allows us to do outreach to a typically underserved population.  We are now collaborating with staff at the school who have asked us to work with them to provide full-service CLAMS library cards to their students.  This partnership could not have generated a more successful outcome for everyone involved!”

The CLAMS shared digital eBook collection has over 40,000 unique titles and over 3,000 eMagazines available free of charge.  Through the statewide LEA initiative, CLAMS library users have access to over 350,000 titles statewide.

CLAMS (Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing) is one of eight public library networks in Massachusetts that provides the library catalog, technology support, the ability to borrow from neighboring libraries, circulation, patron registration, Internet access and other critical services. CLAMS serves 35 libraries (38 locations) on Cape Cod and the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. More about CLAMS is available at info.clamsnet.org.

Nine Massachusetts Libraries Receive ALA Grant

The American Library Association (ALA) recently announced the recipients of the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Focus on Small and Rural Libraries grant. Nine Massachusetts libraries were included in the second round of grantees.

The libraries include:

Belding Memorial Library Ashfield
Field Memorial Library Conway
Millbury Public Library Millbury
Sargent Memorial Library Boxborough
Dighton Public Library Dighton
Town of Southborough Southborough
Scituate Town Library Scituate
Elizabeth Taber Library Marion
Whelden Memorial Library West Barnstable

Participating libraries receive training in how to lead conversations through an ALA e-course on basic facilitation skills; host at least one conversation (in-person or virtual) with community members on a chosen topic; and receive $3,000 to support community engagement efforts. Grant funds may cover a range of expenses, including staff time and collections and technology purchases.

You can read more about the project in this press release.

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Librarian Kay Lyons has journeyed with local children for almost three decades to places like Wonderland, Narnia and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but when she retires in March, it’s her turn. She and her husband, Rick Roy, will take some trips of their own, though never forgetting the joy she’s known.

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Amherst council gets go-ahead to use $1M in CPA funds on Jones Library work

In a reversal from earlier in the year, the Community Preservation Act Committee is recommending that the Town Council use $1 million from the account for the proposed build-out of a new special collections room at the Jones Library.

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