MBLC Awards More Than $300,000 in Direct Grants to Libraries


July 09, 2015
Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

At its July 9, 2015 board meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) awarded $310,149 in 29 grants to public, academic, school and special libraries across the Commonwealth under the Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

"We're excited about the innovative local library projects that came through this grant round. Librarians have developed programs and projects that really speak to the needs of their communities and their residents," said Cindy Roach, head of library advisory and development at the MBLC.

One such program is in Westborough. A recent survey of Metrowest adolescents revealed an increasing trend of mental health issues among teens in Westborough. As the Westborough High School library is considered the heart of the school and is busy from opening to closing, the library is using an Innovative LSTA grant from the MBLC to bring mental health and wellness resources to the forefront for freshman health classes, as well as senior psychology students and students diagnosed with emotional disorders.

The library will work with the faculty to integrate relevant library resources into the curriculum and assist students with developing their digital literacy skills to take advantage of these resources. They are also partnering with the Westborough Public Library through a shared town-wide literacy project book that explores themes of mental health and relationships.

Libraries are also addressing the need for better STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) skills in children and teens. Thirteen science-focused grants have been awarded that help libraries develop programming to connect young people with the world of science and art around them.

Newton Free Library will use an Innovative LSTA grant from the MBLC to expand the library's successful STEAM programming to include computer coding and robotics for children and parents, tweens and teens, and adults. Participants will experience tangible real-time results from manipulating robotic and circuitry equipment while obtaining valuable STEM and 21st century skills. Robotics teaches coding without confining learners to individual computer stations, allowing the library to hold technology programs outside of the adult public computer lab, spreading throughout the library and at outreach events.

With an LSTA grant from the MBLC, the Woods Memorial Library in Barre is collaborating with the Fobes Memorial Library (Oakham), Hubbardston Public Library, and the Petersham Memorial Library to provide continuing education workshops for staff to help them better serve residents. This collaborative effort will provide training in technology, intellectual freedom, new trends in library services, and practical application of new skills acquired. The grant makes it possible for library staff to take part in educational opportunities that are typically out of reach due to geographic location, budgetary restrictions, and limited resources.

A complete list of the awards is below. Descriptions of all LSTA grant opportunities are available on the MBLC website.

Municipality Institution Name Grant Category Amount Recommended
Amesbury Amesbury Public Library Full Steam Ahead $7,500
Attleboro Attleboro Free Public Library Serving Tweens and Teens $15,000
Barre Woods Memorial Library Customer Experience $9,750
Blackstone Blackstone Public Library Pathways to Success $5,000
Boston Congregational Library & Archives Preservation Assessment $4,200
Brockton Brockton Public Library Serving Tweens and Teens $15,000
Concord Concord Free Public Library Full Steam Ahead $7,500
Dracut M.G. Parker Memorial Library Reader's Advisory $15,000
Falmouth Falmouth Public Library Customer Experience $10,000
Grafton Grafton Public Library Full Steam Ahead $7,500
Hingham Hingham Public Library Preservation of Library and Archival Materials $30,000
Lenox Lenox Library Full Steam Ahead $7,500
Mattapoisett Mattapoisett Free Public Library Reader's Advisory $7,200
Medway Medway Public Library Science is Everywhere $7,500
Middleborough Middleborough Public Library Full Steam Ahead $7,500
Milford Milford Town Library Preservation Assessment $4,200
Newton Newton Free Library Innovative $16,709
Northbridge Whitinsville Social Library Full Steam Ahead $7,500
Norwood Morrill Memorial Library Full Steam Ahead $7,500
Pembroke Pembroke Public Library Science is Everywhere $7,500
Pittsfield Berkshire Athenaeum Serving People with Disabilities $17,500
Shirley Hazen Memorial Library Science is Everywhere $7,500
Spencer Richard Sugden Library Full Steam Ahead $7,500
Sudbury Goodnow Library Serving People with Disabilities $10,600
West Boylston Beaman Memorial Public Library Full Steam Ahead $7,500
West Newbury G.A.R. Memorial Library Serving Tweens and Teens $15,000
Westborough Westborough High School Library Innovative $5,000
Weymouth Weymouth Public Libraries Manuscript Arrangement and Description $29,990
Yarmouth Yarmouth Town Libraries Customer Experience $10,000

Libraries use LSTA grants in a variety of ways, including implementing literacy programs that benefit all ages, increasing library access to underserved populations, providing advanced automation services, training staff, and preserving valuable historical documents.

In addition to the direct library grant program, the MBLC uses LSTA funds to support statewide programs and services, including summer reading programs, databases, the Commonwealth eBook program, the Commonwealth Catalog (the new virtual catalog), and which provides information and resources for residents.

LSTA is administered on the federal level by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in the Commonwealth by the MBLC. More information about LSTA can be found on board's website at

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.