Residents love their libraries. And thanks to the Old Colony Library Network’s (OCLN) Wired to Reach You campaign, residents will be able to share what they love about their network, too.
“Statewide awareness and advocacy campaigns are reaching librarians and trustees,” said Dave Slater, Executive Director at OCLN. “We want to reach residents.”
OCLN’s small but mighty four-member legislative committee worked with MBLC staff to develop Wired to Reach You, a campaign that helps residents understand that many of the library services they love are made possible by OCLN. Residents can go to http://links.ocln.org/wired and say what they love about OCLN and their comments will be shared with state legislators.
Funding to networks and library technology (state budget line 7000-9506 Library Technology and Resource Sharing) is a priority in the FY2020 Legislative Agenda so the more information legislators have about how much residents value their networks, the better. Especially since technology has a changed a lot in the past twenty years; but what hasn’t changed is state funding to support library technology and library networks. In fact, this funding is 36% lower than it was in 2001.
OCLN will launch the campaign during the week of January 14 and it will run for a month.
Wired to Reach you materials are available on the MBLC Awarehouse (link). Please contact Celeste Bruno or Matt Perry for more information.
By Evan Knight, Preservation Specialist at the MBLC
Since joining MBLC as Preservation Specialist last month, I quickly realized how important it is to get know the libraries, people, and collections that make our Commonwealth so culturally rich.
Much of my work here at MBLC is either project consulting (for annual LSTA direct grants) or general advisory services for collection management and risk assessment (e.g., water, fire, theft, intellectual control, light, temperature, humidity, pests, etc.).
What a visit! She arranged a number of meetings around town with a couple of the local institutions who were a part of the Town-Wide grant, first with the volunteer staff of the Eastham Historical Society.
We talked about their continuing work to process their collections, best practices in the preservation of scrapbooks, and their digitization projects with Digital Commonwealth (and the challenges of preparing metadata), as we toured their Archives and storage spaces. The next visit was with the Town Clerk’s Office, who maintain and preserve some of Eastham’s oldest legal and historical documents (among many other responsibilities!). The public library plays a role in sharing and interpreting some of these old documents, the “ancient records” as they’re called, by providing electronic copies on CD and online. This is just another example, in the same spirit as the Town-Wide Assessment grant, of the collaborative vision Debra has for the Eastham Public Library. One of the greatest values of the Town-Wide project, as she put it, was having everyone at the same table talking about big-picture issues regarding their collections, now and for the future, together.
The Eastham Library, by the way, occupies a beautiful building, opened in 2016, that is worthy of a visit in its own right. We discussed their environmental monitoring report for their archives storage room, and although we didn’t find major concerns, they’re continuing to check their data every month to make sure the humidification system is working correctly.
Reading Public Library is another institution pursuing an LSTA-funded Town-Wide Preservation Assessment and Collection Identification, and wouldn’t you know it, they have a beautiful building too, recently renovated! Amy Lannon, Director, hosted me for a recent visit to get to know their collections and better familiarize myself with their goals in this project.
The Reading Antiquarian Society, the Reading Historical Commission, and the Reading Town Clerk will all participate with the Public Library to analyze their collections and determine their preservation needs.
On my visit, I also spent a lot of time looking at the collection and the storage area with Eileen, Local History Librarian, to talk about collection development policies, security, oversize maps, environmental monitoring, and what to expect in the Assessment process.
It was a great pleasure to visit all of these institutions, and I was happy to see the work that MBLC is helping to support. But what I like most is meeting the folks who manage the collections and do the day-to-day work to preserve the cultural heritage of the Commonwealth. Thank you!
By Rob Favini, Head of Library Advisory and Development at the MBLC
Library trustees have a unique and vital role in the oversight, stewardship and advocacy of public libraries in Massachusetts. Trustees gain their authority from legislative statute (MGL Chapter 78, Section 11) but the details of their day-to-day duties are based on local rules, bylaws and traditions. Because of this, the MBLC does not have legislatively mandated regulations for how trustees must carry out their duties. What we do have is the benefit of over 125 years of experience as a statewide agency overseeing libraries in Massachusetts. This experience has established a wealth of best practices that is available in the newly revised MBLC Trustee Handbook.
The handbook is a valuable resource to help trustees navigate the many procedural and policy questions that boards face on a daily basis. The handbook is arranged by the following sections: Becoming a Trustee, Board Organization, Legal Responsibilities, Policy Making, Planning, Personnel, Budgeting and Financial Management, Library support: Fundraising, Foundations and Friends, Advocacy; Library Construction and Resources.
If you have any questions or feedback regarding the Trustee Handbook please let us know! Contact Rob Favini, Head of Library Advisory and Development (Robert.email@example.com) or Maura Deedy, Library Advisory Specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org).
By Maura Deedy, Library Advisory Specialist at the MBLC
If you happened to visit the Shrewsbury Public Library on Saturday October 20, you may have noticed the meeting room filled with people exchanging ideas and conversation. On this particular day, it was the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Friends of Libraries (MFOL) association. This group works to advance libraries and provide support to Friends groups across the commonwealth.
One of the highlights of the annual program is the presentation of the 2018 Donna Forand Fantastic Friends Award. This award is for a creative event or activity above and beyond traditional Friends activities like book sales.
The recipient of the 2018 Donna Forand award was the Friends of Millis Library who hosted a Royal Wedding viewing party friend and fundraiser, complete with a lavish sit-down wedding breakfast tea with china and cloth napkins. Attendees were encouraged to dress up with their best hats and fascinators and have a moment on the red carpet with a cutout of Queen Elizabeth. A local bakery donated a wedding cake with the same flavor profile as the royal wedding cake.
Millis Friends’ President Sandra Elaine Scott and Millis Friends’ Treasurer Meghan Gavaghan were on hand to accept the award. In addition to raising money for the library, this high profile event generated buzz and local media coverage was able to raise awareness of what the Friends of Millis Library do. Sandra and Meghan shared that there were many attendees who were new to the library, and learned about all the programs and activities the library offers. It ended up being a friendraiser in addition to a fundraiser.
The Friends of the Erving Public Library received runner- up recognition for their project to establish a Little Free Library to be placed in a new park called Riverfront Park of Erving. The Friends purchased a Little Library kit, assembled it, and negotiated with the Town to have it placed in the new park on the eastern side of town. Any person who uses the park can take a book, or leave a book. This Little Library is part of a national project and movement with over 75,000 locations.
Rebecca Hubbard, the president of the local Friends group accepted the award and Barbara Friedman, Library Director, accepted a cash contribution for use for Library activities. Rebecca shared some of their lessons learned from the process, like start early if you are interested in having it be in a local park and be aware of any local zoning requirements. They were able to get buy in and generate excitement in the town, who was supportive of the project and paid for the installation. The Friends also ensure the library is stocked with books.
These are just two of the exceptional activities that are organized and executed by Friends of the Libraries. Congratulations to Millis and Erving for their truly fantastic Friends!
Imagine going to a Boston Bruins game and getting to take a ride on the Zamboni or hi-five Zdeno Chara. At their game against the Anaheim Ducks on December 20, 2018, that’s just what happened when the Boston Bruins celebrated the three grand prize winners of summer reading! The winners were all chosen through a random drawing after completing their local libraries summer reading programs. The winners this year were chosen from a pool of over 300,000 children and teens that participated in the annual summer program.
The prize recipient from Topsfield got to ride the Zamboni before the first period began. She got to be down on the ice riding the world famous ice truck while taking in the sights and sounds of the TD Garden. She made a point to wave to all of the Bruins fans up in the stands. After the ride, she also had the opportunity to try on the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup championship ring.
After the first period, the two other prize recipients from Westwood and Erving went down to the tunnel between the ice and the Bruins locker room and lined up to get fist bumps from the players. Stars including summer reading champions Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Ryan Donato walked by and high fived the two boys who were ecstatic to meet their heroes up close.
To top the night off, the 3 summer reading prize winners got to enjoy watching the Bruins defeat the Ducks 3-1. The Bruins have been awarding prizes to readers since 2009, and summer reading participants from across the Commonwealth look forward to their chance to win at the end of every summer!
In addition to the in game experiences, participants from around the state are also rewarded with team-signed Bruins jerseys and Bruins pucks signed by Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy. In all, 27 children and teens from the following libraries received prizes. You can find out more about the prizes and the summer reading program here.
On December 10, 2018, MBLC Library Advisory Specialist Maura Deedy and I visited the Worcester Public Library to discuss their current LSTA preservation grant. While there, we met with Genealogy and Local History Librarian Joy Hennig, Public Services Coordinator Pingshen Chen, and Public Services Supervisor of e-Resources and Periodicals Priya Subramanian.
They pursued the LSTA grant as an opportunity to rehouse a significant portion of books from one of their oldest and most unique collections, the books of WPL founder Dr. John Green. The approximately 8,000 books were given to the library in 1859 and quite literally were the first collections WPL ever had. It was a great visit where we talked about how the project was going, how they are working to make the collection more accessible, and some of the continuing challenges and opportunities involved in longer-term issues like preservation, conservation, and digitization. They are looking forward to opportunities for engaging their community with these collections, online and in person, while also incrementally enhancing their level of preservation. It was a pleasure to get to know them and work together with them on this great project!
After working with WPL, we drove up the road to visit with Babette Gehnrich of the American Antiquarian Society, who graciously toured us around their building for the better part of the afternoon. For those who might not know, AAS was founded in 1812 and is a preeminent collection of early Americana (before 1876). Babette has been a leader in conservation and preservation for thirty years, so it was a treat to see some of her practices for housings and collections storage.
WPL and AAS are fantastic neighbors (they are less than 2 miles from each other!) and their collections are truly important components in the cultural heritage of Worcester. Thanks to them and their great staff for offering MBLC an opportunity to learn more and help support some of their good works.
Andrea Bunker started at the MBLC on December 6 as our new Library Building Specialist. She will be working closely with Lauren Stara to administer the very successful Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program.
Andrea comes to us from Woburn Public Library, where she was Director since 2016. She’s been spending most of her time on the WPL’s addition and renovation, which is slated to reopen in February. Her experience will be especially helpful to libraries planning renovations to historic buildings – the Woburn Public Library is a National Historic Landmark and was the first library designed by HH Richardson, who became well known for public libraries. Prior to Woburn, she participated in a space planning project for the Newburyport Public Library where she served first as the Teen Librarian and then as Senior Librarian for Reference.
She holds an MLIS from the University of Rhode Island and a BA in English and Secondary Education from Northeastern University.
Andrea “looks forward to working with libraries throughout the Commonwealth in creating spaces that foster lifelong learning, assist residents in pursuing their goals, and strengthen connections within communities.”
Please join us in welcoming Andrea to this crucial role!
By Shelley Quezada, Consultant to the Underserved at the MBLC
On October 29, 2018 staff from seven libraries that received FY19 LSTA grants for Mind in the Making: Supporting Play Spaces in Libraries convened for training in the beautiful repurposed Fells Branch of the Wellesley Public Library. In addition to Wellesley, the communities of Bedford, Bourne, Rutland, Shirley, Waltham and Shrewsbury will spend this year expanding opportunities for young children to participate in creative play activities in the library as well as to build, problem solve, think critically and even embrace failure as they become more confident and engaged learners. Under leadership of library director Jamie Jurgensen who applied for a LSTA grant, the library interior features wood replicas of Wellesley’s famous buildings as well as frescos of local flora and fauna that are both a delight to see and touch.
The Fells Branch, first opened in 1858 as a one-room schoolhouse, became a branch library in 1923 but recently has been used as a nursery school. Now, thanks to the generosity of the Wellesley Free Library Foundation and the Wellesley Foundation, the newly painted and refurbished branch opened to the public on November 17.
The LSTA training featured Alli Leake, Director of Education from the Discovery Museum in Acton who maintains a “Play Matters Blog” on the museum website. She invited librarians to engage in a play activity by cooperatively building structures with “found materials” which in this case were paper cups.
Additional support was provided by Jessie Kravette of the Boston Children’s Museum who shared some of the many BCM resources that support the importance of play.
Participating librarians were excited to share some of the many ideas they will be implementing over the course of the coming year as they create interactive play and flexible learning spaces in their own libraries.
Every once in a while, a book comes along that is packed with so much good information that you want to share it with everyone. In this case, that means everyone who is planning a library construction project.
To be honest, it’s a little intimidating at nearly 1,000 pages, but don’t let that stop you. The authors are librarians who have decades of experience with library design and construction from the librarian’s point of view, and they’ve put it all down in black and white with humor and style. Chapter Two is entitled “More than Two Hundred Snappy Rules for Good and Evil in Library Architecture” – need I say more?
Topics run the gamut from the 10,000 foot view (overviews of the design and construction processes) to the granular (the wording for the plaque that goes in the lobby), and everything in between. There’s even a chapter called “Evaluating Library Buildings by Walking Around” that’s great for assessing an existing facility. You can see from the photo that I started flagging important passages, but after a few chapters I had to stop because I was running out of flags.
This is a book that former MBLC Construction Specialist Patience Jackson could have written, for those of you who know her. It’s the book I wish I had written, with a few minor exceptions – the information is unrelentingly practical, and I admit that my training as an architect rears its head at times. One example: the section on page 103 where the authors rail against what they call “designer staircases.” I do love a dramatic stairway.
You can download the Table of Contents and the “Two Hundred Snappy Rules” in PDF for free from the ALA Editions website. This is not an inexpensive book, but we are in the process of ordering two more copies to circulate for our professional collection. Contact Lauren Stara if you have any questions.
On a warm summer afternoon in July, dozens of Plymouth Public Library patrons gathered to celebrate the institution of Afternoon Tea. The theme tied in with the popular epistolary novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society that chronicles the occupation of the British channel island of Guernsey by Nazis during World War II. It was chosen as a focus for the town’s city wide reading program, Plymouth Reads, 2018
Guests were invited to sample an array of sweet and savory scones , tea cakes as well as finger sandwiches enhanced by lemon curd and jam. Fragrant pots of “Afternoon Revival” or Darjeeling tea were served on delicate Limoges china. Local tea expert and entrepreneur Lisa Tavakoli provided a short but fascinating overview of the British consumption of tea and related how, in spite of hardship, tea remained an absolute necessity to the British people during the dark days of the war.
After enjoying light refreshments, library outreach coordinator Thomas Cummiskey invited people to write Plymouth themed postcards that will be sent to residents who use the local Guille- Allès Public Library in Guernsey. Some older residents shared memories of Plymouth during World War II and others discussed similarities between two communities that have both a strong maritime tradition and serve as a popular tourist destination.
The library will hold a live skype from Guernsey and later screen the film followed by a discussion program. The opportunity for everyone to come together and engage in a calm and enjoyable discussion over a cup of tea is a welcome reminder of the unique service that the Plymouth Public library provides to its community.