MBLC Service Update 4-8-2020

MBLC Service Update
April 8, 2020

As we work together to get through the current reality, the MBLC will provide regular updates on MBLC services and other statewide issues.  Please let us know if there’s info you’d like us to cover—we’ll include it if we are able. Stay well.

State Budget
Due to technical difficulties, the Ways and Means (virtual) Hearing about revised revenue projections that was scheduled to take place on April 7 has been moved to next week. Director Lonergan and Mary Rose Quinn plan to participate. The House and Senate will use these revised figures to develop their FY 2021 budget proposals. House Ways and Means typically releases their budget in April and Senate Ways and Means releases theirs in May. The next fiscal year begins on July 1, 2020.

MBLC Monthly Board Meetings
Contact: Rachel Masse
On April, 2, for the first time in its 130 year history, the MBLC held its monthly board meeting virtually-via Zoom. The MBLC will continue to address board business in this way until in-person meetings are again possible. Board meetings are the first Thursday of every month.
MBLC Chair Roland Ochsenbein opened the meeting with some thoughtful observations of our current circumstances.

Construction-The Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP)
Contact:  Lauren Stara
Andrea Bunker

Library construction not considered essential
MBLC management has been working to get clarification on public library construction activity in light of the Governor’s narrowing of the definition of “essential” construction found here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-essential-services#public-works-&-infrastructure-support-services-.
On Monday, the Chief Secretary and Director of Personnel and Administration in Gov. Baker’s office, stated “In our intention of the order and the reading of the order, Library construction, if not part of a State College Campus or being performed under the care and oversight of The State Division of Capital Asset Management, is deemed non-essential work at this time.”

Contracts/Business Office
Contact: Tracey Dimant
The MBLC business office is preparing to send out the final payments to the networks, as soon as the final allotment for the 7000-9506 line comes in. They are also continuing to  process contracts, funding requests from affiliates, and invoices from vendors, as well as handling daily operations.

LSTA (Federal funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services)
Contact: Lyndsay Forbes
Shelley Quezada
Rob Favini
Strategic Planning Guidance
The MBLC has important information for libraries regarding the October 1, 2020 deadline for filing strategic plans. Due to the tremendous disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries with expired strategic plans as of October 1, 2020 will be given a one year extension. Libraries under this extension will still be eligible for LSTA direct grants if they file an updated action plan that will be due on December 1, 2020.

We recognize that the shutdown of libraries and all non-essential businesses makes the collection of community and stakeholder input into the strategic planning process nearly impossible. In addition it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a long lasting impact on libraries and the services they provide. With this extension of strategic planning deadlines, libraries will have the ability to gather input when they re-open and are better able to engage their communities in the process.
If you have any questions please contact Rob Favini, Head of Library Advisory and Development.

Libraries get even more creative with their LSTA grants
In addition to the many online story hours and virtual book groups that have been scheduled, Shelley Quezada (MBLC Consultant to the Unserved) attended an first hour long zoom strength-based training session for seniors that the Shutesbury library held as part of their  LSTA outreach grant. There were 14 people including one Shutesbury resident who zoomed in from Puerto Rico. They will be holding thee zoom sessions twice a week. Shelley reports, “The class was a lot of work but this is a novel way for us as program monitors to do a virtual site visit.”

Networks
Contact: Paul Kissman
Kate Butler
The Taylor Memorial Library in Hancock received assistance from a Library Services and Technology (LSTA) grant given by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) for joining the CW MARS Automated Network in FY20.  They are one of seven small libraries that have joined CW MARS in the last five years with grant assistance; the others include: Ashburnham, Blandford, Charlemont (which also serves Hawley), Tolland, Oakham, and Lanesborough.
learn more

Preservation and Disaster Recovery
Contact: Evan Knight

  • The MBLC recently approved four LSTA Preservation Assessment Grants. These grants fund an outside consultant to conduct institutional preservation assessments that include a site visit and the delivery of a written report.
    The following grants were approved:
    Porter Memorial Library, Blandford – $4,200
    Griswold Memorial Library, Colrain – $4,200
    Hamilton-Wenham Public Library, Hamilton – $4,200
    Wellesley High School, Wellesley – $4,200
    learn more
  • Evan has created a COSTEP site that is being continuously updated with the latest info and provides a wealth of resources and guidance for personal and institutional preparedness and response.
  • Important reminder about the valuable webinar from IMLS and the CDC: Mitigating COVID-19 When Managing Paper-Based, Circulating, and Other Types of Collections.
    The webinar recording can be accessed here.
    Follow-up questions for the CDC, may be submitted to imlsinfo@imls.gov.
    The materials and links mentioned in the webinar have been added to the IMLS coronavirus page under “Official Government Information and Resources.”

Promotion
Contact: Celeste Bruno
Matthew Perry
Staff are using MBLC social media channels to connect users and librarians to digital resources.
The team has also created promotional posts for libraries to use on their social media channels:
Digital Library social media posts
New databases social media posts
Database promotion
The MBLC has developed database promotion for social media that takes users directly into the databases and gives the local library the usage statistic:
Databases Dogs
Databases Wellness
Databases Kids
Databases: Home Improvement
Databases Healthy Aging

State Aid To Public Libraries
Contact: Liz. Babbit
Uechi Ng
Mary Rose Quinn

  • State Aid requirements relaxed
    In an effort to support libraries participating in the State Aid to Public Libraries Program as they cope with this emergency, the Board of Library Commissioners approved changes to the State Aid Program Standards Policies at their monthly Board meeting on April 2, 2020. There will be other updates as we assess the ongoing crisis and determine how best the MBLC can support you, your staff, your libraries, and the communities you serve.
    Rather than address the changes individually in each of the ten policies for both 2020 and 2021, the modifications are reflected and were approved through an Emergency Preamble to the State Aid to Public Libraries Program Policies which has been added to the State Aid Policies section of the website and as a preface to the printed versions of the policy documents going forward.
    Press release regarding changes
  • Tracking library status/closures
    Liz Babbitt continues to update the Public  Library Closures Google Docs for both libraries and the public.
    Links to the documents:
    For Patrons
    For Librarians
    Changes and updates can be submitted through the LibWizard form
  • Liz has been meeting with other State Data Coordinators and IMLS about extending the deadlines for submitting FY2020 data by libraries. There is also discussion about the definitions of some of the programming questions and possibly adding a few snapshot questions that will help libraries capture some additional data due to ​this year’s unusual situation.  More to come on this.

Statewide digital library-mass.gov/libraries
Contact: Kate Butler (website issues)
Matt Perry (content additions)
MBLC staff have been updating our public portal, mass.gov/libraries,  with free resources both from libraries and from other outside groups.  We’re calling it: We’re in this together digital library. The entire state has been given access to TumbleBooks collections for free until August 31, 2020, and EBSCO has also granted free access to some of their eBooks until June 30, 2020: EBSCO and Tumblebooks.  Always free statewide resources are also included.  This one-stop place makes it easy for residents to find library resources and other free resources.
Please email Matt if you have content you’d like us to add.

MSLA’s new website the Virtual School Librarian highlights the statewide databases and other statewide resources from BPL in addition to connecting users with a school librarian.

Summer/Bruins
Contact: Celeste Bruno
Rachel Masse
Matt Perry (materials and orders)
MBLC Staff has worked with our partners the Massachusetts Library System, the Boston Bruins and First Lady of the Commonwealth Lauren Baker to create a simple and fun Summer Reading Challenge that may help kids and families stay connected to public libraries over the summer as typical summer programs may not be possible. MBLC Staff will email further information about the challenge later this week.
While it remains unclear when Blades visits can happen, the MBLC will still conduct the drawing for Bruins prizes in May.

Trustees and Friends
Contact: Maura Deedy
Rob Favini
Trustee Orientations
are moving to a virtual format. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime don’t forget to take advantage of the resources available to trustees on the MBLC website: https://mblc.state.ma.us/for/trustees.php . Here you will find links to the MBLC Trustee Resource Guide and the Library Trustee Handbook.
Maura has also put together a list of Open Meeting Law directives about remote participation and resources http://guides.mblc.state.ma.us/c.php?g=43533&p=7408550

2020 Census
Contact: Maura Deedy
April 1 was Census Day: ten minutes for ten questions to help shape the next ten years. Here’s how to get started: https://my2020census.gov/

The official census tracking map tracks self-response rates from around the country.
Resources are available to help you get the word out.
MBLC LibGuide: https://guides.mblc.state.ma.us/census

Remarks from MBLC Board Chair Roland Ochsenbein

Remarks given as the Board Chair Report at the April Meeting of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

Twenty-eight days ago, on March 5, we held our monthly MBLC board meeting at the Boston Public Library. BPL President David Leonard welcomed us and we conducted our business that day in the usual fashion, together in the Commonwealth Salon. Afterward, we toured the digitization labs. It was a normal, bustling day at the BPL.

The next morning, I spoke at a legislative breakfast hosted by the Bigelow Free Public Library in Clinton, one of the last of the breakfasts leading into the FY 2021 legislative budget season. The breakfast was well attended, the mood upbeat and enthusiastic. Representative Natalie Higgins, the House Library Caucus Co-Chair, also spoke, as did Senator Harriett Chandler and Representative Harold Naughton, all of them articulate library supporters. Coming off a year in which our total funding exceeded our request (for possibly the first time ever!), there was by contrast a hint of caution in their comments regarding next year. Important needs in education, transportation infrastructure, and other areas would compete for any increases the state would see in its revenue collections. Mind you, this was before the spread of the corona virus was fully understood. Libraries will be okay they assured us, but just know that there is some pressure next year. As of a few weeks ago, that was where we were going into next year.

Since then, and with stunning speed, the world has completely changed.

Beginning on March 13, Governor Baker began issuing increasingly severe emergency orders in response to growing concerns over the spread of the corona virus.  On that day, he issued an order prohibiting large gatherings. Two days later, he ordered public schools closed, prohibited gatherings of 25 or more, and prohibited on premises consumption of food and drink at bars and restaurants. Four days after that, he activated the National Guard. In another four days, on March 23, he ordered non -essential businesses to cease in-person operations, and he issued a statewide stay-at-home advisory. And just two days ago, he announced that the DCU Center in Worcester is being stood up as a field hospital, and that an arena at Fitchburg State is being outfitted as a temporary morgue if needed…an arena to serve as a temporary morgue.

As we meet today, remotely via Zoom video conference, it is a very different world compared to that of last month’s board meeting in the marvelous surrounds of the Boston Public Library. Today, all public library buildings in the Commonwealth are closed to the public, as are nearly all academic and special libraries. That is an extraordinary statement. The only other time this has occurred was not during the Great Depression or a World War, it was during the influenza pandemic of 1918, when an estimated 675,000 people in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide succumbed to the disease.

I am extraordinarily impressed with the response of the MBLC leadership and staff and those of our affiliates during this difficult time. The number of communications that have come out this past week or so as things have developed so rapidly– updates, advisories and announcements, including the comprehensive MBLC Service Update from yesterday– are excellent and so needed at this time. I was also pleased to see articles from publications such as the Boston Globe and the Atlantic describing how the availability of library services, many of them digital, are playing an even more important role at a time when buildings are physically closed—eBooks, audiobooks, databases, online courses, virtual story times, outside-the-building WiFi access, phone assistance and outreach, and more. The MBLC, the affiliates, and others have been working to expand the already wide access to electronic offerings. At a time when most are staying home and schools are closed, these services are enormously beneficial, possibly even life saving. I’ve seen any number of communications from libraries around the state, on social media and elsewhere, offering service updates that are resourceful, creative, and uplifting even in this heavy time. Libraries at their best. I am proud to be associated with this community.

We will eventually recover. I personally think it will take a long time to fully recover. There are many long-term consequences that are not yet understood. That said, public libraries and the role they play in society will be, I am certain, critically important to recovery efforts in too many ways to list here. And I think this may well be the focus of our message over the coming months, as we, at the appropriate time, turn our attention to regaining full operations.

The budget fallout may also be significant. The FY 2021 state revenue forecasts will certainly be revised as a result of the economic disruption we are experiencing, and that in turn will inform a new look at FY2021 and beyond. We will need to communicate our needs and our value often and clearly to lawmakers. Further, it is unclear what impacts, if any, there may be on the construction program in terms of passing the bond bill, raising the cap, and whether or to what extent projects may be delayed or reconsidered at the local level. I think there is also concern building on the municipal level about next year’s local budget picture. Local tax receipts will be directly affected by the temporary closure of businesses, loss of sales/meals/room taxes, and the compounding effects of job losses. But then there may also be some positive countervailing consequences from the various stimulus measures.

Looking ahead, there are at this moment more questions than answers but what IS clear is that the future looks very different today than it did just a few weeks ago, and our role in supporting libraries and helping make things better for people may never be more important than it will be over the coming months and possibly years.

Finally, I’d just like to say that, according to health officials, it seems clear we are in for a very difficult few weeks or months immediately ahead. I pray for all of our good health.

MBLC Service Update 4-1-2020

MBLC Service Update
April 1, 2020

As we work together to get through the current reality, the MBLC will provide regular updates on MBLC services and other statewide issues.  Please let us know if there’s info you’d like us to cover—we’ll include it if we are able. Stay well.

State Budget
Director Lonergan has been in touch with leaders of the Library Legislative Caucus. The Governor released his budget recommendation in January. However, it is uncertain whether the House and the Senate will be able to adhere to the normal budget schedule. House Ways and Means typically releases their budget in April and Senate Ways and Means releases theirs in May. The next fiscal year begins on July 1, 2020.

The legislature remains active and have passed or are considering several bills addressing the current crisis. Passed bills include moving the tax filing deadline to July 15 and allowing municipalities to delay municipal elections.

Federal Budget
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced that the President has signed the CARES Act, which designates $50 million in coronavirus response funding for IMLS. Following passage in the House of Representatives, both chambers of Congress approved of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion response to the growing pandemic. The IMLS press release has more information. The MBLC anticipates further guidance on how much funding Massachusetts will receive and how these funds may be used.

MBLC Monthly Board Meetings
Contact: Rachel Masse
The MBLC held an emergency board meeting, via conference call, on March 19, 2020. The Board is holding its April 2, 2020 meeting via Zoom and will continue to address board business in this way until in-person meetings are again possible. Board meetings are the first Thursday of every month.

Construction-The Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP)
Contact:  Lauren Stara
Andrea Bunker

  • There has been no further movement on the bond bill, H4154; now H4039,  that contains funding for the Massachusetts Public Library Construction (MPLCP) program.
  • The requirement for monthly reporting is suspended. MBLC staff will keep you posted as to when reporting will resume and what will be required.
  • For active construction sites
    Governor Baker’s new guidance for all public construction projects statewide requires adherence to the “safety stand down” guidelines provided to the construction industry last week. This temporary order requires a halt to public construction projects (effective 3/27/2020), and applies to all projects managed or sponsored by the state or a state agency, including the library construction projects funded through the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP), while contractors review site-specific issues, develop mitigation strategies and communicate to workers about new state guidelines for construction work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Those new state rules require, among other things, all workers to self-certify before each shift that they are not sick and that certain construction workers have their temperatures taken daily. Also last week, the Governor’s chief legal counsel sent a letter (https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-25-2020-construction-guidance/download) to city and town executives with the new guidance and instructions that all construction projects should continue operations during the Governor’s state of emergency but with social distancing measures incorporated. The guidance imposes a zero tolerance policy at work sites. If a worker is sick, they are to remain home. If a worker begins to feel sick on the job, they are to go home. And if a supervisor sees a worker who appears sick, they are to send the worker home.

Please keep us updated as you are implementing the guidelines required in the Governor’s directives and let us know of difficulties or challenges you face in the implementation of those guidelines.

Contracts/Business Office
Contact: Tracey Dimant
The MBLC business office sent out the second State Aid payments last week and continues to process contracts, funding requests from affiliates, and invoices from vendors, as well as handling daily operations.

LSTA (Federal funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services)
Contact: Lyndsay Forbes
Shelley Quezada
Rob Favini
Official statement regarding the current direct grant round

  • The LSTA team is working with libraries as they get ready to submit proposals that are due April 7 , 2020
  • LSTA staff are working with libraries finishing their current grants to rework their schedules due to COVID-19 disruptions.
  • There is a new LSTA-funded opportunity: Scholarships to attend the ARSL small libraries conference in November. Learn more
  • Shelley has been working with the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and sent a announcement out on all regions, pubdir etc to request help in getting out information about serving this community—librarians were very responsive (no surprise, there!).
  • Shelley is also been trying to keep up with what’s happening in prisons. Prison librarians are not going into the jails as it is a safety issue for them.

Networks
Contact: Paul Kissman
Kate Butler
MBLC convened a meeting with automated resource sharing network administrators and MLS last week to share current practices and planning around the pandemic.  Networks discussed eBook and audio content handling and purchasing, requesting and borrowing parameters, such as changes in overdues, patron notifications, amnesty periods, and how patron-placed holds are affected.  In particular networks discussed possible plans for managing the backlog of materials when libraries begin to reopen to the public and the statewide delivery system comes back online.

Preservation and Disaster Recovery
Contact: Evan Knight
MBLC Preservation Specialist Evan Knight, in collaboration with COSTEP MA board members and subscribers (“Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness in Massachusetts”), has developed guidelines for response from the perspective of collections preservation. The page, “Public Health Emergencies: COVID-19,” was published March 13, and recently updated March 26 to reflect the dynamic situation. Two national organizations have recently cited the page for wider distribution: the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association, at “Handling Library Materials and Collections During a Pandemic,” and the American Institute for Conservation, at “Collections Care Amid COVID-19.” Thanks to Evan on this resource, which will be continuously updated, and please feel free to reach out to him with questions and concerns regarding your collections.
Evan also shares this valuable webinar from IMLS and the CDC: Mitigating COVID-19 When Managing Paper-Based, Circulating, and Other Types of Collections.
The webinar recording can be accessed here.

If you have follow-up questions for the CDC, you may submit them to imlsinfo@imls.gov.

The materials and links mentioned in the webinar have been added to the IMLS coronavirus page under “Official Government Information and Resources.”

Promotion
Contact: Celeste Bruno
Matthew Perry
Staff are using MBLC social media channels to connect users and librarians to digital resources.
The team has also created promotional posts for libraries to use on their social media channels:
Digital Library social media posts
New databases social media posts
Database promotion
The MBLC has developed database promotion for social media that takes users directly into the databases and gives the local library the usage statistic:
Databases Dogs
Databases Wellness
Databases Kids
Databases: Home Improvement
Databases Healthy Aging

State Aid To Public Libraries
Contact: Liz. Babbit
Uechi Ng
Mary Rose Quinn

Changes and updates can be submitted through our LibWizard form: https://mblc.libwizard.com/f/covid-19

Statewide digital library-mass.gov/libraries
Contact: Kate Butler (website issues)
Matt Perry (content additions)
MBLC staff have been working to increase ease of access to digital resources. The consumer portal mass.gov/libraries has been updated and expanded to include free-for-now resources as well as unique opportunities from authors, illustrators and educators. The resources can be seen at https://libraries.state.ma.us/pages/free-resources  Always free statewide resources are also included.  This one-stop place makes it easy for residents to find library resources and other free resources.

Summer/Bruins
Contact: Celeste Bruno
Rachel Masse
Matt Perry (materials and orders)
Staff has been in touch with our partners at the Boston Bruins. Many Bruins staff have been furloughed, including the staffer who works with us on the summer program. Right now , it is unclear whether Blades visits will occur this summer. Bruins summer materials have all been developed but the MBLC is holding off on orders for now. MBLC staff is working to confirm if the new for 2020 First Lady and Blades Summer Reading Challenge can still move forward. Staff has taken orders for the national CSLP poster but getting them out to the libraries is an issue due to closures.

Trustees and Friends
Contact: Maura Deedy
Rob Favini
Our Spring schedule of Trustee Orientations is currently paused in compliance with Governor Baker’s social distancing protocols. We will resume trustee orientations as soon as we can.
But in the meantime remember that Maura and Rob are available to answer any questions that you have regarding new trustee onboarding, best practices, or the latest MBLC information regarding library services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 Census
Contact: Maura Deedy
Maura’s reminder: being home is the perfect time to take the census online or by telephone.

New resources that can help you get the word out: https://2020census.gov/en/how-to-help.html?utm_campaign=20200330msc20s1ccallrs&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

MBLC LibGuide: https://guides.mblc.state.ma.us/census

Covid-19’s Impact on Libraries Goes Beyond Books

For Jennifer Pearson, the choice was difficult but clear: Shut down the library, or people could die.

“My library was filled with older people,” Pearson says. “I just wanted to go out and scream, ‘Go home. What are you doing here?’ I knew that if we didn’t make that move to close the building, they would never stop coming. We were, at that point, doing more harm than good.”

Read more from Wired Magazine

A Message from Governor Baker about COVID-19

Governor Charlie Baker sent out an email to state employees regarding the Coronavirus or COVID-19. Here is what he had to say, and some tips to help prevent the spread of the diseases including the flu and the common cold:

Your health and safety is our top priority. While the risk associated with the Coronavirus or COVID-19 remains low in Massachusetts, I want to discuss what we are doing to prepare and what you can do to both stay informed and to prevent spreading the virus.

We have been working with our federal and local partners daily as we build on our existing plans to deal with this virus, and we will adapt when need be to keep people safe.  Yes, it is very contagious, but it is also not a danger to the vast majority of the people who do catch it.  The threat in the U.S. and the threat in Massachusetts at this time remain low, and our constant surveillance efforts and ongoing dialogue with the health care, infectious disease and public health experts here in Massachusetts will ensure we make appropriate adjustments along the way.

These simple precautions will help prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, using a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water frequently and use hand sanitizer.
  • If you have a fever or feel sick, stay home and call your healthcare provider.
  • Clean surfaces that are frequently touched such as doorknobs and countertops with household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Think ahead about how to take care of yourself and your loved ones if the virus starts to spread.
  • Get the flu vaccine – it is not too late!

The latest information about COVID-19 in Massachusetts is available at the Department of Public Health’s website here: https://www.mass.gov/guides/information-on-the-outbreak-of-2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19

And a printable factsheet is available here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/english-2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-0/download

The latest Centers for Disease Control information about COVID-19 is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Additionally, MEMA’s Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management has posted helpful recommendations for what individuals can do to prepare for potential emergencies. That information is available here: mass.gov/KnowPlanPrepare

It is important to remember that there is only a single case in Massachusetts and local health officials confirm that this individual is recovering well.

The folks at HHS and DPH are working around the clock with our federal partners. I want to thank them and everyone across state government for serving the people of Massachusetts.