MBLC’s Federal Grants Impact Local Communities


July 12, 2018
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

At its July 12, 2018 Board meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) awarded $451,058 in 40 grants to public and school libraries across the Commonwealth under the Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) which is funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  

“This year’s grants illustrate the vibrant and dynamic ways that libraries connect with their communities,” said Robert Favini, Head of Library Advisory and Development at the MBLC. “The grants help libraries expand service offerings, impact lives and demonstrate why libraries continue to be a vital part of the civic landscape. We are proud of the work that is done by Massachusetts libraries through the LSTA grant program.”

The MBLC developed this direct grant program using federal funding to help libraries meet local community needs including projects that help jobseekers with career development and job information, programs that help New Americans learn English and become citizens, STEM and STEAM projects, programs that serve teen needs, and projects that preserve valuable historical documents.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 Grant Category Award Amount
Amherst Jones Library Go Local $15,000
Barnstable Sturgis Library First Contact $7,500
Bedford Bedford Free Public Library Mind in the Making $9,947
Bellingham Bellingham Public Library Go Local $15,000
Bourne Jonathan Bourne Public Library Mind in the Making $10,000
Boxford Boxford Town Library Anytime STEM Learning $6,167
Brockton Brockton Public Library Innovative $10,529
Cambridge Cambridge Public Library IdeaLab $15,000
Cambridge Cambridge Public Library Preservation Assessment $4,200
Chelmsford Chelmsford Public Library Civic Hub $7,500
Colrain Griswold Memorial Library IdeaLab $8,000
Easthampton Emily Williston Memorial Library Serving Tweens & Teens $15,000
Everett Parlin Memorial Library Preservation Assessment $4,200
Gloucester Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library Conserving & Digitizing Historical Resources $30,000
Ludlow Hubbard Memorial Library IdeaLab $15,000
Malden Malden Public Library Go Local $15,000
Marion Elizabeth Taber Library IdeaLab $7,500
Marshfield Ventress Memorial Library Serving Tweens & Teens $15,000
Mashpee Mashpee Public Library Pathways to Success $7,500
Nahant Nahant Public Library Access for All $7,500
Newburyport Newburyport Public Library Preservation/Conservation of Library & Archival Materials $30,000
Northampton Forbes Library Civic Hub $7,500
Northfield Dickinson Memorial Library Anytime STEM Learning $7,500
Oak Bluffs Oak Bluffs Public Library Citizenship Corners & Expanded English Language Services $15,000
Orleans Snow Library IdeaLab $13,000
Quincy Thomas Crane Public Library Manuscripts Arrangement and Description $10,000
Raynham Raynham Public Library Anytime STEM Learning $7,500
Reading Reading Public Library Town-Wide Preservation Assessment $20,000
Rockport Rockport Public Library Preservation Assessment $4,200
Rutland Rutland Free Library Mind in the Making $10,000
Shirley Hazen Memorial Library Mind in the Making $10,000
Shrewsbury Shrewsbury Public Library Mind in the Making $10,000
Somerville Somerville Public Library Innovative $8,315
South Hadley South Hadley Public Library Civic Hub $7,500
Springfield Springfield City Library Anytime STEM Learning $7,500
Waltham Waltham Public Library Mind in the Making $10,000
Wellesley Wellesley Free Library - Fells Branch Mind in the Making $10,000
West Falmouth West Falmouth Library Go Local $15,000
West Tisbury West Tisbury Public Library Anytime STEM Learning $7,500
West Yarmouth Dennis Yarmouth School Libraries Innovative $15,000
Total     $451,058

South Hadley Public Library is one of several libraries using the new Civic Hub grant to strengthen the role libraries play in promoting civic engagement, providing impartial, trusted information on a variety of issues as well and providing a neutral space for the public to participate in community conversations. The South Hadley and Gaylord Memorial Libraries will host a lecture series by leading figures to promote activism, civic engagement and inclusion. New materials will be added to the circulating and online collections at both locations. The libraries will also provide different monthly civic displays to keep the public informed on matters such as fake news, media bias, immigration, mental health, the opioid epidemic, and national security.

Libraries have a key role in capturing, collecting and making communities stories available and meaningful. Malden Public Library is using a Go Local grant as part of the city-wide celebration of Malden’s first mayor, Elisha Converse’s 200th birthday and her many philanthropic contributions such as building the Malden City Hall, the Malden YMCA, the Malden Hospital, Pine Banks Park, Fellsmere Park, and the Malden Public Library.  The library will use the Go Local grant to train high school students and senior citizens to become volunteer citizen historians. These citizen historians will learn research and archive skills, work to uncover the city’s lost industrial past in local and regional archives, capture and collect historical objects, and create a permanent online exhibition exploring the related social issues of immigration, labor history, women’s roles, health care, and the environment. This multi-generational and multi-cultural project will not only build historical collections, it will build community, social connections, and civic pride.

The new IdeaLab grant was developed to help libraries implement, promote, and sustain an interactive creative space. The Griswold Memorial Library in Colrain is doing just that. Make it, Colrain!  is a multi-faceted project that first establishes the Creator Cart: a movable makerspace allowing efficient use of the Library’s limited area, housing both circulating and non-circulating tools, materials, and kits for a variety of creative endeavors. Complementary workshops will be offered, aiming to bring the community together for lifelong learning events and showcasing the talent of local residents, who are also workshop presenters.

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 statewide 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

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.

Institute of Museum and Library Services