MBLC Awards Federal Grants to 42 Local Libraries


July 13, 2017
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

At its July 13, 2017 Board meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) awarded $468,102 in 42 grants to public, school, special, and academic libraries across the Commonwealth under the Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) which is funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

“These grants are competitive and require serious planning, great idea development, and a strong commitment to meeting well-defined local needs,” said Ruth Urell, Head of Library Advisory and Development at the MBLC. “The librarians are to be congratulated for their dedication to improving library services in their communities. The federal grants go a long way to opening new avenues for innovation and targeted services in Massachusetts libraries and the results are impressive and manifold.”

The MBLC developed this direct grant program using federal funding to help libraries meet local community needs including financial and health literacy programs, STEM and STEAM projects, programs that help New Americans learn English and become citizens, programs that serve teen needs and projects that preserve valuable historical documents. The MBLC also offers grants to increase access to library services for people with disabilities.

The complete list of grant recipients is below along with highlights from some of this year’s projects.

Municipality Institution Name Grant Category Award Amount
Total     $468,102
Athol Athol Public Library Science is Everywhere $7,500
Attleboro Attleboro Public Library Mind in the Making $10,000
Bellingham Bellingham Public Library Financial Literacy for All Ages $7,500
Berkley Berkley Public Library Serving Tweens and Teens $15,000
Beverly Beverly Public Library Preservation/Conservation of Library & Archival Materials $21,830
Blackstone Blackstone Public Library Innovative $7,500
Boston MGH Institute of Health Professions, Bellack Library Framework for Health Literacy $7,500
Boston Boston Latin School, Keefe Library Framework for Health Literacy $7,500
Boston Boston Arts Academy Library Serving People with Disabilities $10,000
Chatham Eldredge Public Library Innovative $16,847
Chicopee Chicopee Public Library Innovative $5,000
Clinton Bigelow Free Public Library Framework for Health Literacy $7,500
Fitchburg Fitchburg Public Library Customer Experience $10,000
Framingham Framingham Public Library Citizenship Corners $15,000
Georgetown Georgetown Peabody Library Serving Tweens and Teens $15,000
Gloucester Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library Preservation Assessment $4,200
Ipswich Ipswich Public Library Mind in the Making $10,000
Ipswich Ipswich Public Library Preservation Assessment $4,200
Lancaster Thayer Memorial Library Conserving and Digitizing Historical Resources $30,000
Mashpee Mashpee Public Library Science is Everywhere $7,500
Maynard Maynard Public Library Science is Everywhere $7,500
Middleborough Middleborough Public Library Mind in the Making $10,000
Milton Milton Public Library Customer Experience $8,500
Nahant Nahant Public Library Full STEAM Ahead $7,500
New Bedford New Bedford Public Library Customer Experience $10,000
Newton Newton Free Library Customer Experience $9,000
North Andover Stevens Memorial Library Innovative $7,500
North Andover McQuade Library, Merrimack College Serving People with Disabilities $19,509
Northborough Northborough Free Library Innovative $13,400
Norwood Morrill Memorial Library Innovative $10,000
Peabody Peabody Institute Library Mind in the Making $9,945
Pembroke Pembroke Public Library Customer Experience $7,500
Plainville Plainville Public Library Mind in the Making $8,500
Plymouth Plymouth Public Library Serving Tweens and Teens $15,000
Sharon Sharon Public Library Serving Tweens and Teens $14,671
Springfield Springfield City Library Citizenship Corners $15,000
Springfield Springfield City Library Mind in the Making $10,000
Sutton Sutton Free Public Library Innovative $7,000
West Bridgewater West Bridgewater Public Library Innovative $8,000
West Tisbury West Tisbury Public Library Customer Experience $10,000
Westford J.V. Fletcher Library Innovative $10,000
Worcester Worcester Public Library Preservation/Conservation of Library & Archival Materials $30,000

Using a Framework for Health Literacy grant, the Keefe Library at Boston Latin School will create a wellness area within the library that will be a place to find information about health topics relevant to high school students, particularly mental health issues, and serve as a place for students to decompress from the stresses of school and a rigorous course load. Students will be offered communication and mindfulness workshops through a partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission. Through book groups, speakers and workshops, families will be welcomed into the library, crossing language barriers, racial divisions and socioeconomic differences to encourage friendships and coping strategies.

Several communities are using the Innovative grant to meet local residents’ needs. Chicopee Public Library, in collaboration with other agencies in the community, is addressing food insecurity and poor nutrition. At Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, the Innovative grant will be used to better serve the growing Asian Indian population and to increase cultural programming that celebrates diversity. In Northborough and Sutton, the grants are being used to give homebound residents improved access to library services.

Six libraries will use their Mind in the Making grants to create new collections and play spaces for preschoolers.  They will collaborate with local educators and organizations to engage caregivers and parents in talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing with preschoolers. Such early literacy activities build essential life skills that are key to young children’s development and make a crucial difference in their kindergarten readiness and long-term school success.

Last year, Beverly Public Library used an LSTA grant from the MBLC to lead a town-wide project to identify important local collections.  Using a Preservation/Conservation of Library & Archival Materials grant, the library will now implement its plan to reframe artists’ proofs, catalog and store unique manuscripts, and broaden access to vital records and church archives that are invaluable sources for genealogical research.

In addition to the direct library grant program, the MBLC uses LSTA funds to support statewide programs and services including summer reading programs, research databases, the Commonwealth eBook program, the Commonwealth Catalog and which has 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 IMLS: The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter  and Instagram.

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.